May 1

How to Clean an Air Fryer – From Start to Finish

Written by: Nadia El-Yaouti


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Air fryers remain to be one of this decade’s must have kitchen appliances and if you’ve ever used one, you’ll quickly find out why. Air fryers are great for helping you prepare healthier foods, they are quick and easy to use, and most importantly, they are super easy to clean.

Whether you're new to the world of air frying, or have used your unit for years, it’s important that you know the right way to clean your air fryer.

Keeping your unit clean will not only allow it to run smoother for longer, but your food will cook evenly and will be free of unpleasant greasy odors or aftertastes.  

Prepare Your Air Fryer for Cleaning

It goes without saying that you should always wait until your air fryer has completely cooled down before you start cleaning it (similar to a toaster oven). Not waiting until your unit is cooled down can lead to injury or damage to your air fryer or yourself.

Once you know that your air fryer is completely cooled down, you can unplug it and begin taking out all the removable parts to prepare them for cleaning.

Wash Removable Parts


Start by cleaning your air fryer’s removable parts. Regardless of the brand, air fryers work pretty much the same and have similar parts.

Your air fryer’s pieces will include the removable drawer, your basket, and frying racks. Take a look at our oven rack cleaning guide to get some helpful tips here.

Some air fryers might come with additional pieces like a steak rack or a french fry cage. Remove and clean these as well. 


All removable pieces can easily be cleaned using a degreasing soap (yes, dish soap should do you just fine) and warm water. It’s important to clean these pieces after every use in order to keep your unit running smoothly.

Clean the Removable Drawer


Unless you have an additional plate that catches the drippings, your removable drawer is where excess grease will collect.

A helpful tip...

before cleaning out your removable drawer, pour all the excess grease and store it in a glass receptacle. 

This not only helps avoid grease from accumulating in your plumbing, but is a great way to see how much grease the air fryer removes from your food, and thus...

Not going into your body 🙂

Most times, washing the removable drawer or basket in warm soapy water is enough to clean it out. But for stubborn grease deposits or stuck on food, you can soak your removable drawer in a warm degreasing soap solution.

When you scrub out your removable drawer, or other removable parts, make sure you use a soft sponge to clean with. Using something like an abrasive scrubbing pad can ruin the non-stick finish of your air fryer. 

After you've washed and dried all the removable parts, set them aside to prepare for surface cleaning.

Wipe Down the Outside


As you work with an air fryer, the outside can quickly build up greasy fingerprints. You can easily get rid of these with a simple wipe down using a microfiber cloth or a damp towel.

You don't need to use any solutions for cleaning the outside. However if you have food particles stuck onto your air fryer, a soapy water solution or a Simple Green solution should do the trick.

As you wipe down the outside, be sure to wipe around the air vent and the air fryer’s surface. Steam that escapes as the air fryer works can cause food particles or grease to accumulate around the area. Be sure to give the top of the air fryer a good wipe down as well.  

Do a Quarterly Deep Clean


If you notice that your air fryer is producing more smoke than usual or that an unpleasant odor is produced every time you use it, it may be because there are food particles and grease trapped underneath the hood of your air fryer.

By doing regular deep cleanings of your air fryer, you can easily avoid these annoyances. 

Along with your regular maintenance and cleaning after each use, you should do regular deep cleanings once every three months. When you do a deep clean, the goal is to remove any stuck on grease that may have accumulated in the inner workings of the air fryer.

These food particles and grease build ups will usually live on or around the heating coils or the heating element. To give your air fryer a deep clean you will need a soft sponge, a microfiber cloth, a scouring pad, a toothbrush, and some degreasing soap. Here's what you'll need to do: 

Step 1: Prepare Your Air Fryer for a Deep Clean


You will want your air fryer to be completely cooled down and unplugged before you start your deep clean. Once your unit is cooled, you can get working on it. Start by flipping your air fryer upside down so that the heating element is visible and easy to access.

Step 2: Remove Stuck-on Food

scrubbing-around-coil-of-air fryer

With most air fryers, the heating coils will typically sit on a stainless steel or metal plate. Over time, this metal surface is the perfect place for grease and splattered on food to collect.

Air fryers rotate the air at extreme speeds and this can cause pieces of your food like breading, sauces, and excess grease to splatter on to the heating element.

Regular maintenance won’t always remove these grease and food stains, but a deep clean will. 

Start by dipping your soft sponge in warm water and adding on some degreasing dish soap. Use the sponge to work out as much of the grease and stuck on food particles as you can on and around the heating element.

As you scrub, wipe away the collected grime with a damp microfiber cloth (any absorbent cloth will do)Continue alternating between the sponge and the cloth until you work out as much grime as possible.

Use a toothbrush to get at the harder to reach areas towards the back of the air fryer and in between the coils.

Lastly, you can use a scouring pad to work out more stubborn cooked on grease spots on the metal plate. 

Once you have removed all the grease, use your microfiber cloth to do a final wipe down to remove any leftover soap.

Step 3: Inspect the Outside


After you have cleaned around the heating element, you can flip your unit back over and begin inspecting the air inlet and vent areas.

It's important to keep these two areas clean because these are the main ports of air circulation in your air fryer. The best way to clean these ports is by using cotton swabs or folded paper towels to reach and remove any food particles. 

Start by mixing together one tablespoon of distilled vinegar and one tablespoon of water. Dip your cotton swab or paper towel into the mixture and run it in between the vent openings and air inlet to collect any grease or food particles.

Read Your Instruction Manual


While most air fryers are cleaned in pretty much the same manner, it's always important to consult with your unit’s instruction manual regarding how to clean it.

Air fryers differ from unit to unit...

 and some units require a cleaning technique of their own. 

For the most part, the removable parts of your unit should always be cleaned using soap and water. Some air fryer removable parts are dishwasher safe, but it depends on your specific unit so be sure to consult your instruction manual first before you place removable parts in the dishwasher.  


Cleaning and maintaining your air fryer consistently will lead to smoother cooking and far less cleanup. By following the steps outlined above, we're confident your air fryer will perform for years to come.

Thanks for listening 🙂

If you have any questions/comments, don't hesitate to leave a note below.




About the author

Nadia El-Yaouti is a postgraduate at James Madison University where she studied English and Education. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and three kids. When she's not exploring new and improved ways of cleaning and organizing the kitchen on a budget, you can be sure to find her traveling the world with her little family.

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