Love using your air fryer but confused about how to clean it? We’ve put together a step-by-step guide for how to clean air fryers like a pro. So roll up your sleeves and let’s get to it!
Air fryers are all the rage for at-home culinary creations and casual meals both delicious and healthy. Versatile and more nutritious than traditional frying, air fryers can be used to make anything from homemade french fries and fried chicken to fresh chocolate chip cookies (if you have the right recipe).
One of the benefits of air frying is that there’s no oil required — hot air whirls around the food rapidly to create a final crispy product as if it had been traditionally deep-fried. Air fryers also work well for other styles of cooking, seeing that the temperature can be adjusted in a process similar to that of convection ovens.
But like any other appliance, air fryers have to be regularly maintained. So are you wondering how to clean an air fryer? How to get rid of a lingering odor? Or how to clean air fryer baskets?
Whether you use your air fryer daily or only for special occasions, keeping it clean is important to ensure your food’s quality and the proper functioning of your air fryer. Below is our step-by-step guide for how to clean air fryers.
Tips for Routine Air Fryer Maintenance
Cleaning an air fryer safely won’t be the most difficult kitchen item to wash, though it does take some patience and a little commitment. Always be sure your air fryer has cooled down sufficiently and has been unplugged before cleaning.
How Often Should You Clean Your Air Fryer?
After each use, it’s important to take a few basic steps for regular cleaning, such as wiping down the interior basket, pan, and tray. This prevents grease and food residues from building up. Wash these by hand or by soaking them in the sink in soapy water and lightly sponging off. If the exterior looks dirty after use, it’s good to wipe that down, too.
Every month or two, check the heating coil on the underside of your air fryer. If it’s looking dirty, unplug the air fryer and use a cloth to gently wipe away debris and grease. You can use a slightly damp cloth here, though be sure to wait until everything is 100% dry before plugging your machine back in. Letting it sit overnight should suffice.
Be Gentle on Nonstick Surfaces
Many air fryers will have a nonstick coating on the interior component, such as the basket and tray. When cleaning, avoid the use of metal and sharp utensils, scouring pads, and other abrasive cleaners like steel wool — these will scratch and damage the nonstick surface. Cease use if the nonstick starts to chip, peel, pull away, or flake off.
And if the nonstick surface is coming off, you may be eligible for a refund or replacement, depending on the manufacturer’s policies.
Getting Rid of Odors
Does your air fryer emit a strange or unpleasant odor during use? New air fryers may give off an initial plastic smell, which is normal. Heavily used air fryers in need of a clean, alternatively, will give off smells of old food debris and grease, depending on what you cook. A hearty deep clean will take care of this.
For the new air fryer smell, put half of a lemon in the basket, close the compartments up, and let things sit for about thirty minutes. Then, wipe down with a damp cloth and let dry.
For a more persistent new plastic smell, fill a small oven-safe bowl with one half of a cup white vinegar and two tablespoons of pure lemon juice. Place it gently into the air fryer basket and run it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for up to ten minutes. The odors of the vinegar and lemon will be strong but are a potent natural way to remove the new plastic smell from your air fryer.
Step-by-Step: How to Deep Clean An Air Fryer
Deep cleaning an air fryer encompasses two primary steps — cleaning the interior components (basket, tray, etc.) and the heating element, also called the coil. These can be done simultaneously, in a process that takes around 30 minutes from start to finish (excluding the drying time).
To start, you’ll need to get your supplies. You’ll need:
- Soft microfiber cloth
- Liquid dish soap
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Toothbrush or type of soft-bristled brush (smaller is better for detail cleaning)
- Cotton swabs (Q-tips)
- Tree-free paper towels
- Optional: Ayate cloth or a similar abrasive cloth
- Optional: Sponge
Now, here are the steps for how to clean your air fryer at home.
Step One: Preparations
Unplug your air fryer and make sure it’s cooled down if recently used. Remove the basket and interior components, the ones you’d clean more routinely after each use. Flip the air fryer upside down. This makes it easier to clean the heating element.
Next, prepare your cleaning solution. In a small cup or dish, mix together:
- 1.5 teaspoons of liquid dish soap
- 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda
- 3 teaspoons of white vinegar
If you need more or less of this solution, just follow the same ratio. You’ll use this paste to clean around the coil.
Step Two: Clean Around the Heating Coil
Wipe down the heating element with a paper towel to remove excess food debris and grease. Then, use a toothbrush or similar tool to apply the cleaning paste created in step one to the coil’s surrounding metal areas.
It’s okay to get a little solution on the coil itself, though generally, you’ll want to avoid getting this area too wet. Again, this will be easier if the appliance is upside down.
Since there’s no nonstick coating on this part of the air fryer surrounding the heating coil, it’s okay to scrub with the toothbrush or something abrasive. (The ayate cloth works well here, too!) Once there’s a nice even coating of the baking soda paste, let it sit and proceed to step three.
Step Three: Deep Clean the Removable Components
Every air fryer is a little different in terms of the exact parts; for this step, you’ll be cleaning the removable components such as the air fryer basket, tray, pan, etc., that aren’t electronic and are therefore safe for soap and water.
Start by rinsing off each piece in the sink, doing a quick wipe-down of any loose crumbs and food. Then, use dish soap and a non-abrasive sponge for a swift and thorough wash.
Clean the nooks and crevices of the basket grate with the end of a soft Q-tip. Rinse. You’ll be surprised at how much gunk there is!
Go back over the parts with the sponge again as needed to get any spots you missed. Leave the parts out to dry. You can take this time to tighten any screws on the components, too. Next, it’s time to return to the coil.
Step Four: Finish Cleaning the Heating Element
Take a paper towel and wipe down the baking soda paste that you left to sit around the heating element in step two. This may easily be the grossest and most rewarding part of the process, especially if it’s been a while since cleaning your beloved air fryer.
Use the toothbrush, ayate cloth, or even an abrasive sponge to get any spots that didn’t come clean in the first round. Repeat applications of the baking soda paste as needed until the area surrounding the coil sparkles like new.
Let all components fully dry (this usually takes about 24 hours) and then reassemble. Your air fryer now should be all set and ready to take on all the seasonal culinary inventiveness you can think of! If you’re looking for some recipe inspiration or more home and lifestyle tips like how to clean air fryers, head over to the Public Goods Blog.
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