Working out how to clean an air fryer is an important task to learn, given how often so many of us use them, and how tricky they can be to clean.
There's no doubt that air fryers have changed the way people use their kitchens. They can be used to cook delicious fried foods in a healthier way and without the added unhealthy oil—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. And this 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, while keeping it working at its best for every mealtime. 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's how to clean an air fryer to keep it in tip-top condition.
How to clean the two different types of 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—regardless of whether you have a basket or oven-style air fryer. 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 towels or clean rags
The right method for cleaning your air fryer will depend on two main factors: the type of air fryer you have and how bad the mess is. Cleaning an oven-style air fryer will differ slightly from a basket-style model—and for super tough, greasy messes, you'll need to do an extra thorough clean.
1. An oven-style air fryer
Unplug the appliance from the power outlet and let it cool completely before cleaning. Then, remove the racks. These can be cleaned in a dishwasher or hand-scrubbed with dish soap to remove grease and food particles.
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.
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. After you're done, replace the tray and racks—and your air fryer is ready for its next use.
2. A basket-style air fryer
Unplug the appliance from the power outlet and let it cool completely before cleaning. Once cooled, pull out the drawer with the basket or tray.
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.
Grab a wet paper towel, and gently wipe the interior and exterior of the appliance before replacing the basket.
How to deep clean your air fryer for bigger messes
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.
- Before you start cleaning, you'll need baking soda, a soft-bristled brush, paper towels, and water to hand.
- Remove drawers and baskets. 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.
- 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.
- Afterwards, 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 it when learning how to clean copper, how to clean a burnt pan, and how to clean an iron.
- 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.
By cleaning your air fryer properly, you are helping your air fryer to stay in its best condition for many years to come.
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 womanandhome.com.