How to Clean An Air Fryer?

Last Updated on October 3, 2020 by Ashley Ward

The air fryer is the newest darling of the kitchen. Who doesn’t love the taste of fried foods with 70-80% less oil over traditional deep-frying? 

You finally decided to get an air fryer. You’ve tried it out, and you love those simple, delicious treats and snacks it creates. What you don’t like is the crusty, stuck-on bits left behind. Less oil in the air fryer means less mess, but there is still some clean-up to be done.

Here is our inside and out, every-surface guide to cleaning an air fryer. By following these steps, along with our insider tips, you will spend more time making and enjoying the tasty morsels coming from your appliance, while spending less time and effort on the clean-up.

air fryer

Air Fryer Basics

There are many brands and models of air fryer on the market, at just about any price point. The good news is, most of them operate the same way. Each air fryer has a central heating element with a fan for circulating hot air. A basket holds the food being cooked, along with a little oil or butter, inside the cooking chamber. 

Hot air moving across the surface of the food heats it quickly, leaving the outside crispy.

The variety of food you can cook in an air fryer is almost endless. From frozen pre-made goodies to make-it-yourself fresh treats and meals, an air fryer is up to the challenge. To ensure you don’t end up with mozzarella sticks that taste like onion rings, or your steak doesn’t end up with a bread pudding crust, follow our simple cleaning steps.

Tips to Get You Started

Before I explain how to clean your air fryer, let’s go over some do’s and don’ts to get the most from your cooking experience and extend the life of your air fryer.


  • Use a little bit of oil or butter on the surface of the foods. As well as adding flavor and texture, this helps the food release from the basket.
  • Clean after every use. It is easier to get stuck on bits before they fuse to the basket, but it also keeps smells and flavors from contaminating other food.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for cleaning products. In most cases, your regular dishwasher detergent or dishwashing liquid is sufficient.


  • Use metal utensils or steel wool. These can mar the non-stick finish and could void the manufacturer’s warranty. Use nylon or plastic tongs and spatulas to remove hot food.
  • Use abrasive cleaners or oven cleaners. Same as above. They can also leave harmful residue on the cooking surfaces.
  • Submerge the outer appliance in water. It’s electrical! You could be electrocuted, or the machine could stop working.
  • Plug the appliance into an extension cord. Kitchen appliances have short cords as a safety feature. Children or pets could be injured by a hot air fryer toppling off a counter.

Steps to Clean An Air Fryer

Regular cleaning will keep your air fryer in top cooking condition. Follow these simple steps after each use. Ready? Let’s get cleaning!

  1. Let it cool – Unplug the unit and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. It will cool faster if you remove the basket and pan.
  2. Wipe down the base unit – Using a soft, damp cloth, wipe down the outside of the appliance. Then, with hot water and a small amount of detergent, use a sponge to wipe the inside. Rinse with a damp cloth.
  3. Clean the heating element – If there is residue on the heating element, turn the appliance upside down for easier access. Wipe with hot water, using a sponge. For really crusty bits or stuck on oil, use baking soda and a soft brush, like an old toothbrush or bottle brush. Scrub gently, then wipe down with a clean, damp cloth.
dirty air fryer

Insider Tip: Turn the unit upright and replace the pan. Run for a few minutes without any food to catch any bits remaining on the element.

  1. Wash basket and pan – Most brands’ pans and baskets are dishwasher safe, so just pop them in with your regular load, and you are good to go. They are also easy to clean in the sink with your regular dishwashing liquid. Use a non-abrasive sponge and hot water to scrub gently.
  2. Soak stubborn residue – If there is still residue left on the pan or basket, fill the pan with hot, soapy water. Submerge the basket and allow it to soak. Ten minutes is usually good. Clean as before with a non-abrasive sponge. You may have to repeat this step.
soak air fryer

Insider Tip: For lingering smells, rub half a lemon, or towel dampened with lemon juice, around the inside of the basket and pan and let sit for about 30 minutes. Wash and dry as usual, and the smell should be gone.

  1. Dry thoroughly – Let all the parts air dry in a dish rack or use a lint-free towel. Once completely dry, reassemble the pan, basket, and heating unit before storing it. Keeping it assembled for storage keeps it dust free and any parts from getting lost.
  2. Insider Tip: Store upright, so nothing becomes dislodged, and it continues to work for many years.

Keeping Your Air Fryer at Its Best

Using an air fryer to make healthy, delicious food is easy. So is cleaning the appliance, when you know the right steps. If you follow the outline above each time you use your air fryer, cleanup will be a snap.

Your air fryer can be used for any meal or snack time and can cook both savory and sweet foods. When properly cleaned, you’ll be free to experiment with new recipes in your air fryer, knowing your food will taste like you want, with no flavors or smells crossing over from other meals. 

A few of my favorite recipes include:

You’ll never have to ask yourself, “Is that a potato skin or a kale chip?”

Ashley Ward
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