How to Clean Your Air Fryer in 5 Easy Steps

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 | 0 Comments
a woman putting spring rolls into the basket of an air fryer
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After cooking a delicious dish in your air fryer, you may notice a bit of buildup inside the machine and wonder how to clean your air fryer. Fortunately, cleaning an air fryer is usually a simple process, especially if your machine has dishwasher-safe components. 

We’ve outlined five easy steps to clean your air fryer and make this popular small kitchen appliance shine like new. But our biggest piece of advice is to clean the air fryer as soon as possible after cooking, or the dried food residue will make what was once a simple process a much bigger job. 


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How to Clean Your Air Fryer

1. Let the Air Fryer Cool, Then Gather Supplies

After your air fryer has cooled, it’s time to begin cleaning. It’s important to clean your air fryer as soon as possible after cooking so food residue does not dry and stick to the machine. 

To clean the air fryer, you will need:

  • Soft sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Soft cloths or paper towels
  • Baking soda
  • Toothbrush or toothpicks
If wondering how to clean your air fryer, simple household items are all you need
via Canva

2. Clean Removable Parts With Soapy Water 

Remove the crumb basket and frying basket from your air fryer. If you’re wondering how to clean an air fryer basket, check your user manual. Some frying baskets and crumb baskets can go on the top rack of the dishwasher. For handwashing, use a soft sponge and soapy water to clean the two baskets thoroughly. Wipe dry or let air dry.

a soft sponge being dipped in soapy water
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3. Soak Stubborn Food Residue

If the removable parts of your air fryer, like the crumb basket and frying basket, have baked-on food residue or sauces stubbornly clinging on, soak the components in warm soapy water for about 30 minutes. Then scrub with a soft sponge. 

Wondering how to clean stuck-on grease from the deep fryer? To remove extra-stubborn residue, make a paste of baking soda and water and use a toothbrush to gently scrub the stain with the paste.

How to clean your air fryer with food residue stuck-on is a common question
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4. Remove Crumbs From Basket and Grate

Many people ask how to clean your air fryer when there are crumbs inside of it. Luckily, you can accomplish this with one of two common items around the home. Simply use a toothbrush or toothpick to dislodge crumbs from the air fryer grate or basket.

a chef pouring potatoes out of an air fryer basket onto a plate
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5. Wipe the Interior and Exterior Clean

With the baskets removed, use a damp cloth or damp paper towel to wipe the heating element and the exterior clean. Never submerge the base in water.

Never submerge the basket in water when learning how to clean your air fryer
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How Often to Clean Your Air Fryer

You’ve learned how to clean your air fryer’s basket, exterior and interior. But how often should you clean it? Experts recommend promptly cleaning an air fryer after every use. This will protect the machine from oil buildup, food fires and malfunction.

French fries being poured out of an air fryer basket
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How to Remove Air Fryer Odors

Strong-smelling foods and cooking oils can leave an odor in your air fryer. There are a few ways to remove lingering odors:

  • Use a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water to scrub the inside of the machine. 
  • Another option is to place 1 cup of water and ¼ cup of vinegar in an oven-safe bowl and place it in the air fryer. Run it at 380° F for about three minutes. Let the air fryer cool, then remove the bowl and wash the interior. 
  • Alternatively, cut a lemon in half and rub it on the interior of the machine. Then clean the interior with soap and water.
baking soda, lemon, and vinegar on a table
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Air Fryer Maintenance: Bonus Tip

Besides knowing how to clean your air fryer correctly and in a timely manner, there are other ways to keep your air fryer in great shape. Some people wonder, can you put paper towels in the air fryer? What about parchment paper or aluminum foil? 

To explain this, here's a little bit about how an air fryer works: an air fryer rapidly circulates hot air to cook food without the use of oil. This blowing hot air causes the food to brown and crisp. 

Airflow is essential to the machine, so while a paper towel is useful for cleaning, it should not be used while cooking food in the air fryer. It can restrict the airflow of the machine and even catch fire. It’s important to remember that the air inside the air fryer can get very hot. The NuWave Brio 7.25 Qt. Air Fryer, for instance, has a range of 50° to 400° F — perfect for safe cooking of a variety of foods as long as you allow the air to circulate freely inside.

Along those same lines, aluminum foil can be used to wrap food for cooking, but it should not be used to line the basket as it will reduce airflow. 

Perforated air fryer parchment paper, however, is appropriate to use while cooking as long as food is present in the machine. Otherwise, there is a risk of the parchment paper lifting up and coming into contact with the heating element.

Knowing how to clean your air fryer keeps it running safely and effectively
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Once you’ve learned how to clean your air fryer, it will be a breeze to maintain your machine after every use. Soap, water and a gentle sponge are all you need to keep it shining. With that out of the way, you can get back to cooking and crisping chicken, french fries and more in your handy little air fryer. 

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