How to Clean an Air Fryer to Remove Baked-On Food and Grease

Keep the small kitchen appliance sparkling clean with these must-know tips.

The air fryer is a game-changer for anyone who loves fried foods like French fries, pickle chips, and egg rolls but not the extra calories that come along with them. Requiring only a small amount of oil, this kitchen appliance provides a healthier alternative to traditional deep-frying methods by heating to a high temperature and circulating air around your ingredients for perfectly crisp results.

And its capabilities go way beyond frying: You can use your air fryer to cook, bake, roast, and broil a wide variety of dinners, snacks, and even desserts. But once you're done air-frying your lightened-up treat, it's important to clean the appliance to wipe away any leftover oil, crumbs, and stuck-on food. We'll show you how to clean an air fryer and keep it in top shape so it's ready to use for your next recipe.

woman using an air fryer for vegetables
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How to Clean an Air Fryer

Follow these step-by-step instructions for cleaning an air fryer after each use.

What You Need

  • Warm, soapy water
  • Dishwasher (optional)
  • Dishtowel or microfiber cloth
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Soft-bristled brush or toothbrush
  • Lemon (optional)

Step 1: Unplug and Disassemble Air Fryer

Unplug your air fryer and allow it to cool down completely before cleaning. Remove the basket, tray, and pan from the appliance. While cleaning an air fryer, remember to never submerge the main unit in water, which can damage the electrical components inside.

Step 2: Clean Air Fryer Parts

Wash the air fryer's removable parts in warm, soapy water. Many air fryers are made with dishwasher-safe components, but check the manufacturer's instructions in the event you should opt for hand-washing the parts. Clean the inside of the air fryer with a damp dishtowel or microfiber cloth and a small amount of dish soap. Use a clean damp cloth to wipe away any remaining soap.

Step 3: Remove Baked-On Food and Grease

If any stuck-on residue remains, soak the removable parts in warm, soapy water for about 10 minutes to soften the food or grease and make it easier to remove. Gently scrub the parts with a non-abrasive sponge ($4, Target) or soft-bristled brush to remove buildup. To protect the non-stick coating from scratches, never use metal utensils or other abrasive tools to clean your air fryer parts. If you notice lingering food smells in your air fryer, use lemon juice to eliminate the odors. Using a cloth soaked in lemon juice or the cut half of a lemon, wipe down the basket or pan and let sit for about 30 minutes before washing again.

Step 4: Clean Air Fryer Exterior

The air fryer exterior might only need to be cleaned every few uses. Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down the outside of the main unit. Scrub any leftover food residue with a soft-bristled brush. Check the appliance's heating element for oil or residue and clean with a damp cloth or brush if needed (make sure the machine is completely cool first).

Step 5: Reassemble Air Fryer

Carefully dry all removable parts and the main unit before reassembling your air fryer. Store the appliance unplugged and upright when not in use.

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