How to Clean an Air Fryer

Your air fryer is probably one of your favorite kitchen tools, and it’s very useful for cooking food quickly and without excess oil. Think crispy fish sticks or chicken wings without added oil, and perfectly al dente zucchini noodles, and leftovers reheated to perfection.

That said, air fryers need to be cleaned after each use. Even after using little or no additional oil, food debris and grease can build up and cause your air fryer to smell or even start to smoke. Whether you use a basket or tray style air fryer, here are the best cleaning tips from the Good Housekeeping Institute to make cleaning easier.

How to clean the air fryer basket

What you’ll need:

  • Dishwasher soap
  • Soft bristled bottle brush
  • Soft cloth or paper towels
  1. Turn off and unplug the air fryer, and leave it to cool completely. Pull out the drawer and remove the basket or tray.
  2. If your air fryer is dishwasher safe, place drawers and baskets or trays, depending on what your air fryer has, upside down in the dishwasher, preferably on the top rack, if they fit.
  3. Otherwise using the dishwasher is not an option, wash the removable parts in warm, soapy water and use a brush to scrub away dirt and into the vents and nooks and crannies of the tray while protecting the metal or non-stick coating. Rinse well and dry.
  4. Wipe the inside of the bottom air fryer, as well as the outside, with a damp cloth or paper towel. Replace basket after cleaning.

Cleaning Lab Tips: Use the top rack of the dishwasher (allowing space) away from heat and exposed to softer jets of water – this will help the nonstick coating last longer.

How to clean an oven style air fryer

What you’ll need:

  • Dishwasher soap
  • Soft bristled bottle brush
  • Soft cloth or paper towels
  1. Turn off and unplug the air fryerand leave it to cool completely.
  2. Remove shelves and use the dishwasher to clean it, or hand wash in warm soapy water using a dish brush to remove grease and food residue. Rinse well and dry.
  3. Empty any grease from the drip tray – but don’t throw it down the sink. Trays can be placed upside down in the dishwasher to clean, or hand washed, then rinsed well and dried.
  4. Wipe the inside of the bottom air fryer, as well as the outside, with a damp cloth or paper towel. Replace the tray after it is clean.

Cleaning Lab Tips: If the drawer or drip tray has grease on the bottom, do not throw it down the kitchen sink. Instead, empty it into a small tin or jar and store the container in the fridge to throw away when it’s full.

How to deep clean an air fryer

If you accidentally over-delicate your air fryer (or cook something extra splattered), you may have turned on the heating element. If your air fryer smells bad while you’re cooking, or starts to smoke, there may be residue baked on on or near the heating element.

What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • A few tablespoons of water to make a paste
  • Soft napkin or paper towel
  1. Remove baskets or shelves firstand clean.
  2. Let it stand so that the dirt you brush away falls to the bottom of the interior and doesn’t get caught in the netting, heating elements, or fans above.
  3. Use a clean, dry, soft-bristled brush to scrub and remove burnt bits from the gauze covering the heating element, and wipe with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel. Then, turn the air fryer over to make it easier to clean the heating element.
  4. Use a baking soda paste and a soft, damp cloth, and gently scrub off the dirt.
  5. Rinse the cloth with water, wring it out and wash off the residue. Turn the air fryer upside down and replace the clean basket and/or tray.

Cleaning Lab Tips: Overfilling the air fryer will almost certainly guarantee the heating element needs cleaning. To prevent this chore, make sure the amount of food you are cooking at one time does not exceed the amount recommended for your air fryer model.

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Lynn Redmile's headshot

Contributing Product Analyst

Lynn Redmile (she) is a contributing product review analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she has been evaluating beauty, textile, home, pets, and cleaning products since 2012. She brings over 30 years of data analysis experience to the role. When she’s not managing test data, you’ll find Lynn photographing jazz musicians, dancing, and traveling to experience new cultures and foods.

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Director of the Kitchen Equipment & Innovation Lab

Nicole (she) is the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Kitchenware and Innovation Lab, where she has overseen content and testing related to kitchen and cooking equipment, tools, and equipment since 2019. She is an experienced product tester and recipe maker, trained in classic culinary arts and culinary nutrition. She has worked in test kitchens for small kitchen appliance brands and national magazines, incl Family Circle and Women’s Home Journal.

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