How to clean an air fryer in five easy steps

Bust grease and grime with our top tips on how to clean an air fryer

How to clean an air fryer
(Image credit: Amazon)

Air fryer lovers will know that this handy kitchen helper will transform the way you cook. The downside? You probably use it every few days (at least) and it needs regular cleaning. If you want to know how to clean an air fryer, we’ve got you covered. Here is our quick and easy five-step routine. 

The removable parts of air fryers are usually safe to be put in the dishwasher, but you should check with your individual model. Even if you can put it in the dishwasher though, cleaning by hand is often a better option for day-to-day cleans. The baskets can take up a lot of space on your top shelf and are easy enough to clean by hand.

Here's what you'll need:

  • A soft bristled brush 
  • A dry cloth
  • Dish soap 

How to clean an air fryer

how to clean an air fryer

(Image credit: Shuttershock)

 1. Make sure it’s completely cool

Air fryers can get very very hot when cooking, so unplug it and wait until it’s completely cooled before you get stuck in with cleaning. Don’t leave it too long though, or you’ll have to deal with solidified fat, which is trickier to remove. 

2. Take it apart

Most air fryers come with a removable basket and a tray that either slots inside or is attached to the handle. Either way, this should lift away from the basket itself. Both need to be cleaned. 

There’s also the interior of the air fryer itself, which does not have to be cleaned after every use, but is still good to clean every once in a while. 

air fryer

(Image credit: Ninja)

3. Get scrubbing

You know how this bit works: submerge your basket and tray into a warm water and start scrubbing away with a soft bristled brush and some dish soap to bust the grease.

Most air fryer baskets have a non-stick coating, which makes the cooking process easier but can be more sensitive to harsh and abrasive cleaning methods. Treat it with care to prolong the life of your machine. 

4. Dry clean

Take a soft (ideally microfiber) cloth to remove any remaining grease as well as the leftover water. Then just leave the air fryer to air dry. Don't put it back inside the machine itself until the air fryer is fully dry, as this could result in steam next time you cook, which is not helpful when aiming for that air fried crisp. 

5. Check the outside

It’s worth giving the outside a wipe down with a slightly damp cloth too, as this can get greasy from daily use.

How to clean the inside of an air fryer

air fryer

(Image credit: Philips)

You don’t have to clean the heating element after every use, but it’s a good idea to do this every few uses to make sure your air fryer is working properly and safely. 

1. Let it cool

This is the hottest part of the air fryer, so wait until it’s completely cooled after use before attempting to clean it. 

2. Turn it over

Flip the air fryer upside-down to access the heating element (you should have the basket removed in order to do this.) Try not to use anything that could leave fumes when cleaning this element especially, as it could prove dangerous when you have your next air-fried meal. 

3. Wipe clean

Use a microfiber cloth to remove any grease that’s on the heating element. If it’s proving difficult to remove you can use a very gentle scrubbing brush (or even better, an old toothbrush) to really get stuck in. 

How often should I clean my air fryer? 

best air fryer

(Image credit: Ninja)

You need to clean your air fryer after every use. While air frying is the ultimate low-fat way of cooking delicious crispy meals, it can leave a lot of residual grease when cooking something that’s naturally fatty like bacon or chicken wings. 

There’s also a high chance that anything coated in breadcrumbs or seasoning will leave some residue at the bottom of your air fryer, so removing this before your next use is a must.

What happens if I don’t clean my air fryer?

We’ve been there. Sure, it can be annoying to clean after every use, but if you don’t then you could end up with nasty smells circulating your kitchen and even smoke coming off all the leftover crumbs and burnt oils. That’s not nice.

Millie Fender
Millie Fender

Millie joined the Real Homes team in 2021 after working at TopTenReviews as a Staff Writer. She is now the head of all things cooking, working as the Small Appliances and Cooking Editor on the Homes Ecommerce team. Millie is constantly on the hunt for the latest (and best) kitchen appliances, and reviewing these products hands-on. As a baking enthusiast, Millie’s job at Real Homes is the perfect excuse to cook up an endless supply of snacks. When she’s not in the kitchen though, she loves knitting and exploring London's top food markets.