How to clean an air fryer and get rid of grease - in 4 easy steps

Learn how to clean an air fryer efficiently with our step-by-step guide, for both basket air fryers and oven-style air fryers

Sleek black air fryer model on white tiled kitchen worktop used to illustrate an article on how to clean an air fryer
(Image credit: Getty Images | CASEZY)

Given how often so many of us use them, and how tricky they can be to clean, learning how to clean an air fryer efficiently is an important task to master.

There's no doubt that the best air fryers have changed the way we prepare meals, both those with baskets or oven-style fryers. They can be used to cook delicious fried foods in a healthier way and without adding unhealthy oil to aid with cooking – from crispy chicken wings to seasonal veggies. 

Air fryers work by blowing hot air down from above, to cook foods to a delicious crisp without the need for deep-frying. Simple, convenient, and a healthy way to cook food, it's clear to see why they're so popular. But their usefulness in the kitchen also means that they are often heavily used - which means that at the end of most days they're in need of a fairly significant clean. 

As with any kitchen essential, knowing the proper care required will increase the longevity of your air fryer. Unlike cleaning your oven or cleaning your microwave, it is absolutely essential to clean an air fryer after every use, rather than just deep cleaning periodically. So, here are the simple steps to follow for how to clean an air fryer after each meal, to keep it in tip-top condition.

How to clean an air fryer 

As with many slightly more complex kitchen gadgets, it's understandable to be confused about how to clean an air fryer properly to get inside all the nooks and crannies. But air fryers must be cleaned thoroughly to ensure optimal health and performance.

The good news is that knowing how to clean an air fryer can be a very simple job with the help of common household cleaners and tools. 

What you'll need:

  • Degreasing dish soap
  • A soft-bristled brush
  • Paper towel
  • Microfibre cloth

1. Switch off and unplug the appliance before you start

Before attempting to clean your much-loved kitchen appliance, unplug it from the mains and allow it to cool.

2. Remove the air fryer basket

Once cooled, pull out the drawer with the basket. Scrub the drawer and basket with soap and warm water to cut through any grease that may have built up. Alternatively, you could also place them in the dishwasher if they fit on the top rack. Make sure you use a soft-bristled brush to get a thorough clean without hurting the protective finish on the basket.

"We recommend always washing the basket and trays after every use, even if it doesn’t appear dirty," advises Breville Senior Home Economist, Zoe McClean. "Fat splashes and food residue can get easily baked on and will be difficult to remove if you leave it for a long time."

Step 2 of how to clean an air fryer with basket and drawer removed to be cleaned with warm soapy water

(Image credit: Getty Images | Adisak Mitrprayoon)

3. Gently wipe down the inside with a damp cloth

While the drawer is removed it's time to grab a wet paper towel, and gently wipe the interior of the appliance before replacing the freshly-cleaned basket.

4. Wipe down and buff the exterior to finish

"To keep the air fryer looking beautiful and shiny, wipe the outside with a damp cloth and then buff with a microfiber cloth," suggests Zoe.

black air fryer oven on kitchen worktop with plate of chips prepared on the side

(Image credit: Breville)

How to clean an air fryer oven

Cleaning an oven-style air fryer differs slightly from a basket-style model, but still remains a simple enough process to ensure a thorough clean after each use. 

1. Switch off and unplug

Unplug the appliance from the power outlet and let it cool completely before cleaning.

2. Remove the racks for cleaning

Then, remove the racks. These can be cleaned in a dishwasher – double check your air fryer's care manual but most racks, mesh baskets, rotisserie spit, and drip trays are usually dishwasher safe. Alternatively, if you're unsure, you can hand-scrub the components with a soft-bristled brush and dish soap to remove grease and food particles

On some models, the oven door is also removable for easy cleaning. "Do not immerse the door in the water," warns Zoe, "wipe clean only with mild, soapy water.

3. Empty the drip tray and rinse

Empty the drip tray at the bottom of the fryer and scrub the tray with dish soap to remove any grease. When discarding used oil, be careful not to pour it down the sink – cooking oil and grease can cause major problems for plumbing.

4. Clean the inside with care

Before replacing the racks and drip tray, wipe down the inside of the air fryer with a wet paper towel to remove any buildup inside.

"To clean the interior of the air fryer oven wipe with a damp cloth using only mild, soapy water," suggests Zoe." Do NOT immerse in water. Also be aware that "abrasive cleaners, scrubbing brushes, and chemical cleaners will damage the inside of the unit."

After you're done, replace the tray and racks—and your air fryer is ready for its next use.

Air fryer oven with door open cooking a chicken to show why how to clean an air fryer is important

(Image credit: Breville)

How to deep clean your air fryer 

Despite your best efforts, you may find that your air fryer needs an extra deep clean from time to time. For example, overfilling the air fryer can cause a gunky, sticky residue inside, and some foods also tend to splatter while cooking. No matter what kind of mess you're facing, there's an easy way to learn how to clean an air fryer when you're planning a deep clean.

What you'll need: 

  • Baking soda,
  • A soft-bristled brush
  • Paper towels
  • Clean water

1. Switch off and unplug

Whichever type of air fryer you have the first step is always to switch off your appliance and unplug it from the mains, to ensure your cleaning process is completely safe. 

2. Remove all removable components

Whether drawers, baskets or trays, the next step is to remove any components that can be cleaned away from the machine. Clean these separately with soap and water. If the food and grease are caked on, soak in warm, soapy water for 30 minutes to an hour before scrubbing (the next step).

3. Scrub with a soft-bristled brush

Scrub out the inside with a dry, soft-bristled brush to remove any burnt-on food. Leave the air fryer upright so that loose food that falls out can be easily removed. Then, wipe out the inside with a damp paper towel. Turn the unit upside down and repeat the process.

4. Mix a baking soda cleaning solution

Afterward, mix a couple of tablespoons of water with baking soda to make a paste. Put the paste on a damp paper towel and use it to scrub the air fryer gently. Baking soda is an excellent cleaning agent that removes grime easily. You can even use this method when learning how to clean copper, how to clean a burnt pan, and how to clean an iron – it's such a versatile cleaning ingredient, similar to the many many ways you can clean with vinegar .

5. Wipe down with a damp paper towel

Rinse off any film that remains from the baking soda with a damp towel. Once everything's dry, pop the trays and basket back into the appliance.

And that's it! If you stay on top of cleaning your air fryer properly, it will stay in its best condition for years to come.

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on 

With contributions from