Okay, so you got an air fryer and, surprise! You actually love it! But, um, is that a dried-up sweet potato fry at the bottom of the fryer basket? Or maybe it's chicken skin? Yeah, you're going to want to clean your air fryer to make sure that your next batch of onion rings doesn't come with a side of something else. Or worse, that food residue doesn't end up somewhere it shouldn't and cause problems for your fancy (and spendy) appliance.
So what's the easiest way to get your air fryer clean?
The Easiest Way to Clean Your Air Fryer
Well, you might not like the answer, but the easiest way to clean your air fryer is to clean it every time you use it. (We warned you.)
Here's the good news: First, it's an air fryer, which means you're not cleaning up a greasy, gross, oily mess. Second, most air fryers have some parts that are dishwasher-safe, which makes cleanup basically as easy as pushing the "start" button on your dishwasher. And finally, when you clean your air fryer every time you use it, you don't end up with stubborn, hard-to-clean, yucky bits of who-knows-what.
What Not to Do When Cleaning Your Air Fryer
There's really not much to cleaning your air fryer (promise!), but there are a couple of things you should definitely not do.
- Do not use metal utensils, steel wool, or scrubby sponges to clean your air fryer! Most air fryers are nonstick, and anything abrasive can scratch the coating.
- Do not submerge your air fryer in water! Yes, some parts get removed and cleaned in water (or the dishwasher), but the main unit is an electric appliance and you will ruin it.
Got it? Okay, let's get down to cleaning.
How To Clean an Air Fryer
What You'll Need
- Cotton or microfiber cloths
- Non-abrasive sponge
- Baking soda
- Soft bristle brush or toothbrush
- Dish soap
- Unplug the appliance: Turn the air fryer off, unplug it, and let it cool. It'll take about 30 minutes and will cool more quickly if you remove the basket and the pan from the main unit.
- Give the inside and outside a first pass: Use a damp cotton or microfiber cloth to wipe down the outside of the appliance. Then, use hot water and a non-abrasive sponge to wipe down the inside of the appliance.
- Clean the heating element: Turn the appliance upside-down. Use a non-abrasive sponge to wipe down the heating element.
- Get rid of dried food residue: If there's hard, stuck-on food residue that doesn't come off the main unit — outside, inside, or on the heating element — make a paste out of baking soda and water and scrub any dirty spots with a non-abrasive sponge or soft brush, then wipe down with a cotton or microfiber cloth.
- Clean the basket and the pan: For many (if not most) brands, the basket and the pan are dishwasher-safe, so all you have to do is load 'em in and run your normal cycle. Even if they're not, cleaning the basket and pan is usually as simple as a quick clean with hot, soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge.
- Soak the basket and the pan: If there's stubborn residue that won't come out of the pan or basket (or both), fill the pan with hot water, put the basket in the pan, let soak for about 10 minutes, and then use a non-abrasive sponge to clean. Repeat as needed.
- Dry all the parts. Let everything air dry for a few hours or use a clean cotton cloth to dry the main unit, basket, and pan. Reassemble.
- We based our instructions on two air fryers we love: The Philips Avance XL Digital Air Fryer and the Black+Decker Purify Air Fryer. Some air fryers may be slightly different.
- If you want to keep your basket from getting too gunky, you can grease it or put a piece of parchment or aluminum foil down. Just make sure it doesn't cover the entire basket or else you'll prevent air from circulating!
- If your air fryer starts to get a little stinky, put a half lemon in the basket or some lemon juice in the pan. Let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes, then clean, rinse, and dry the basket and pan.