How to Clean Air Fryer Even if You’re a Newb! (7-Steps)

Oh, how I was seduced by the siren call of crispy fries without the guilt of fried food that comes out of the deep fryer.

This kitchen appliance has been a total game-changer!

Although there was one learning curve that I’ll cover in this post. (Hint: How to clean air fryer) But let me start at day one:

Day one, I made fries.

Day two, chicken wings.

Day three, I melted a chocolate bar because, well, why not?

Oh but, on day four, things took a peculiar turn. My shiny new air fryer started producing food with a lingering taste of day two’s wings mixed with day three’s chocolate fiasco.

I removed the air fryer basket and peered inside to where the heating element lives, expecting to see a shiny haven, but instead, I was met with what looked like a Jackson Pollock painting made of grease and food crumbs.

A dirty air fryer indeed.

If I had wanted my fries to taste like a choco-wing fusion, I would’ve… well, I never would’ve wanted that!

So began my crash course into the exciting world of air fryer hygiene. And for those wondering if the quirks of maintaining these gadgets apply to other air fryers too, they certainly do.

And let me share this golden nugget of wisdom – cleaning this gadget is much more fun when you’re not doing it post-chocolate-wing disaster.

I am now officially a (self-proclaimed) air fryer cleaning expert. At your service.

So What Is Meant by “How to Clean Air Fryer?

how to clean air fryer

It can range from the pre-use cleaning process to routine wipe-downs and, of course, the occasional deep dive.

Each has its time and place in your fryer’s life.

While we’ll touch on all aspects (check out the table of contents to jump to the section you need), this article is your golden ticket to mastering the art of the deep clean.

Because every so often, your air fryer deserves some extra TLC to keep those crispy creations coming!

Why Do You Need to Know How to Clean Your Air Fryer?

Imagine savoring a perfectly crispy fry, only to be greeted by the unpleasant taste of old, burnt grease.


Maintaining your air fryer’s cleanliness ensures not only tasty outcomes but also prolongs its lifespan. Here are some other reasons why you might wanna keep your air fryer spick-and-span:

  • Keeps food tasting fresh and not like yesterday’s reheated dinner.

  • Extends the longevity, giving you more bang for your buck.

  • Reduces potential fire hazards from accumulated grease and food particles.

  • Maintains efficiency in cooking times and temperatures.

  • Promotes better health by reducing the chance of old oils and residues mixing with fresh meals.

Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Deep Clean Your Air Fryer

Alright, my crispy comrades!

You know, cleaning that air fryer isn’t just about maintaining its sleek, stainless steel allure. Oh no.

It’s about a promise, a commitment: that every single fry, wing, or whatever crispy concoction you whip up, tastes divine.

I’ve trekked through the sudsy swamps, scaled peaks of the most stubborn gunk, and had a couple of laugh-out-loud misadventures along the way. All to carve out a path – a routine – that’s not only efficient but sprinkled with a pinch of fun.

Ready to dive in? Let’s roll up those sleeves!

Step 1: Unplug the Air Fryer & Let it Cool Down

Safety first! Unplug that bad boy and let the air fryer cool completely. No one’s trying to fry their fingers here.

Step 2: Gather Your Necessary Tools

Before diving in, assemble your cleaning tools dream team. You’ll want:

  • non abrasive sponge (preferably one made from plants!)

  • gentle, non-toxic dish soap

  • baking soda

  • a scrub brush (an old toothbrush works wonders)

  • soft cloth like a swedish dishcloth (the perfect paper towel alternative)

  • steel wool (for really gnarly jobs)

  • warm soapy water

  • and some elbow grease!

Pro Tip: Please don’t use a microfiber cloth like many other sources online recommend!

These are made of plastic and every time they are rinsed or washed (let alone produced!) they send microplastics down the drain and into the waterways. 🙁

Step 3: Remove & Clean Air Fryer Basket

Most air fryers come equipped with a nonstick coating on the basket. While this nonstick coating is super convenient for cooking and cleaning, be aware that some of these coatings can be toxic. Always do your research and opt for a non-toxic nonstick coating on the air fryer baskets when purchasing.

Gently remove the air fryer basket and pan. Put a splash of dish soap in the fryer basket with warm water and let it soak for a bit.

A little warm soapy water and a soft sponge should do the trick.

Use the sponge corners to get into each of the air vents where food pieces and baked on grease like to go and hide! Rinse and let dry.

Some models also have dishwasher safe baskets.

Step 4: Clean the Interior

Maybe push up those sleeves just a bit more for this part! And don’t skip this step!

I once missed a stray cheese strand only to have my kitchen smell like a burnt cheese factory on my next use.

First, brush off any crumbs or residue from the coil gently.

I like to flip the air fryer upside down completely at this point.

Whip up some homemade cleaning solution:

  • 1 part baking soda

  • 1 part dish soap

  • 2 parts white vinegar

Use a clean damp cloth to wipe down the interior walls with some of the cleaner.

Use an old toothbrush to lightly scrub at the oil residue on the metal surface around and underneath the heating element. This isn’t the easiest task since the heating coil can’t be removed, but just do the best you can.

If you’re working with a particularly sticky residue of caked on food oil, you might want to break out the steel wool and give it a scrub. Stubborn stains are no match for it.

A scrub brush is another option to try.

Let the baking soda mixture sit and soak for 10 minutes and then wipe it clean with your swedish dishcloth. Repeat the process until there is no residue on your cloth after you wipe it clean.

To finish, I dip the dishcloth in some warm soapy water and wipe everything down, rinse the damp cloth with warm water until there’s no more soap residue and give it a final wipe clean.

Step 5: Clean the Exterior

A damp dishcloth will have the outside shining like it’s brand new.

Make sure to use the corners of the dishcloth to get into all the vents and remove any food particles potentially blocking air from moving through.

Simply wipe with a dry cloth after and you’ll have your air fryer exterior clean in no time.

This step is the equivalent of giving your air fryer a well-deserved pat on the back.

Step 6: Check the Bottom Vent

Ensure no old food particles or baked on grease are clogging up the vent. A happy vent means a happy, efficient air fryer.

Step 7: Reassemble the Air Fryer

It’s good practice to leave the air fryer overnight to air dry completely before reassembling and using it again.

First Time Air Fryer? This is How to Pre-Clean Your Air Fryer:

This is for the owners of a brand-spankin’-new air fryer. (CONGRATS!) Make sure to hop over and read my article on how to use your air fryer next!

Before its maiden voyage, give the outside of your air fryer a quick wipe down with a Swedish dishcloth and wash the basket with hot soapy water or run it through the dishwasher if your basket is dishwasher safe.

Because factory residue? Not the secret sauce to great tasting fries.

Personally, I like to go a step further with my air fryer and run a couple of preliminary batches with a little bowl of 1/2 cup white vinegar + a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice @ 400 degrees for 5 minutes each.

This will get into the nooks and crannies of the machine and clean away any lingering factory smell. Air fryers can benefit from this method when they’re completely fresh out of the box.

Key Considerations For Successfully Cleaning Your Air Fryer

Alright, air fryer enthusiasts, as we’ve navigated this cleaning adventure together, a few spicy tips have popped up in my chef-brain that didn’t quite fit into our steps.

First, don’t forget that different air fryer models might have their quirks.

I’ve tangoed with various brands, and each has its own little personality. Always take a quick gander at the instruction manual and manufacturer’s guide.

Trust me, it’s not as tedious as reading the ending to a risotto recipe (Hint: stir… and then stir some more).

Secondly, ensure your workspace is clear before you begin the cleaning process. The last thing you need is your lovely avocado oil getting mixed up with the suds.

I once had a hilarious mishap involving some truffle oil.

Long story short, my living room smelled like a high-end pizzeria for days.

Delicious? Yes. Ideal? Not so much.

Taking it to the Next Level:

It’s all about maintaining that glimmer and glow, not unlike how I keep my knives sharp and my culinary game strong.

Regularly clean your unit and incorporate a light wipe-down of the air fryer interior and a swift rinse of the basket after each culinary session.

Think of it as cleaning up the kitchen right after a bake-off; it’s swift and keeps things ready for the next round.

Every now and then, peek at the heating coil of your air fryer, ensuring it isn’t morphing into a hangout spot for mischievous crumbs.

Your air fryer, and your next meal, will thank you.

Alternatives to This Method of Deep Cleaning

Of course, as with any culinary journey, there are multiple roads to Rome… or in this case, a pristine air fryer.

Some folks swear by using store-bought cleaners designed for kitchen gadgets.

These are effective, but they’re often toxic. I’m all about that DIY life – it’s how I mastered my signature garam masala, after all!

However, if you’re exploring other routes, always ensure the cleaner is really non-toxic and rinse thoroughly.

Wrapping Up and My Experience With Cleaning My Air Fryer

There you have it, my fellow flavor fanatics! We’ve just surfed the waves of air fryer cleanliness.

As the chef behind the hustle and bustle of The Samosa Ladies Cafe, I’ve learned that every tool in my kitchen, from the humble spatula to the mightiest oven, plays a pivotal role in creating magic.

And, oh, the air fryer? It stands tall right next to our house-favorite cast iron skillet.

There’s a memory that kind of haunts me and I think about every time I clean my air fryer. One week, I had a request to try out the air fryer to fry our famous (traditionally fried) samosas.

Trust me, I was HORRIFIED when my crispy potato samosa had an unexpected aftertaste of the previous day’s teriyaki salmon!

From that fateful night, I’ve vowed to ensure each dish emerges from a pristine environment.

So, as we conclude this guide, I invite you to embrace the cleaning rituals, share in the humor of kitchen misadventures, and above all, savor the delight of spotlessly fresh meals, every time.

Cheers to great food and cleaner fryers!


How To Tell if You Need To Clean Your Air Fryer?

Start with a visual inspection of your air fryer. Don’t forget to check the heating element!

If the interior has a greasy residue, crumbs lounging on the bottom, or there’s a peculiar lingering odor when you turn it on, it’s time for a clean-up.

Remember my Jackson Pollock analogy? If the inside of your fryer is starting to resemble an abstract painting of grease and food bits, you definitely need to get scrubbing!

And hey, keeping your air fryer in tip-top shape just means more delicious meals ahead, right?

How Often Should I Deep Clean An Air Fryer?

I recommend giving your air fryer a deep cleaning session every 3-4 weeks.

Remember the maintenance tip: a light wipe-down and dusting of the heating element after every use can prevent gunk build-up, making your deep cleans easier and less frequent.

And let’s be real, when you clean an air fryer regularly, you ensure that each dish tastes as it should.

Think back to our restaurant analogy: you wouldn’t want last weekend’s flavors mixing with today’s dish, would you?

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