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How to Clean an Air Fryer

Jun 17, 2024Jun 17, 2024

Air fryers are alluring because they can cut the chore of cooking in half; they create fewer dirty dishes while also cooking in less time. Though we’ve found that air fryers can be an excellent kitchen tool—they have a compact footprint, cook fast, and can be more accessible for people with certain disabilities—cleaning them is still a pesky process (as with any appliance). Cleaning an air fryer is no different than cleaning any other piece of cookware—maybe a little worse, depending on the design of the basket and if the heating elements get splattered with grease. To make cleaning as easy as possible, do it every time you use your air fryer.

Although some air fryers have baskets that are marketed as dishwasher safe, you’ll prolong the lifespan of your machine by hand-washing the basket after every use. This prevents grease and food residue from building up in the crevices of the machine and causing problems in the long run. It also helps prevent damage to the nonstick coating.

It’ll take 10 minutes to clean your air fryer if you regularly clean it after cooking.

You should clean your air fryer as soon as it’s cool to the touch after cooking. And yes, every time you use it (sorry). If a lot of residual oil from your food has collected in the bottom of the basket, wipe it out with a paper towel, or pour it into a jar for disposal before it can cool down and solidify—once that happens, it becomes much, much harder to clean.

The basket itself is simple to clean: Using a nonabrasive sponge or cloth dampened with hot water and a little soap, wipe down the bottom, sides, and removable tray (if applicable), and rinse with cool water. Be careful not to scrub too hard, and avoid any cleaning tools that involve bristles or rough edges, such as a dish brush or scouring pad—many air fryer baskets are covered in a nonstick coating that can easily be stripped if you don’t care for them properly. Lots of air fryer baskets are labeled as dishwasher safe, but we don’t recommend putting them in the dishwasher for longevity’s sake, as a harsh cycle or jostling against other dishes could damage the nonstick coating.

Once your unplugged air fryer cools completely, give the heating chamber (including the heating element) a good wipe down with a warm, wet cloth—no soap—to ensure that no debris or oil is stuck to it. A buildup of grime on the interior can lead to a smoking air fryer and decreased performance over time. Be sure to dry the machine thoroughly with a soft cloth when you’re done.

If you have a human moment and wait too long to clean your air fryer, then find bits of hard-stuck gunk clinging to it, don’t panic, and don’t use sharp or rough tools to try to scrape it off. If the gunk is stuck to the interior of the machine, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and go over the spots with a nonabrasive sponge until they’re gone. Then wipe the interior down with warm water and dry it completely. If food is stuck to the basket, simply soak it in warm water for 10 minutes before scrubbing with a soapy sponge again.

It’s annoying to admit, but cleaning your air fryer is significantly easier if you do it after every use. Just some warm water, a soft sponge, and soap should do the trick.

This article was edited by Marguerite Preston, Brittney Ho, Amy Koplin, and Sofia Sokolove.

Caira Blackwell

Caira Blackwell is a staff writer at Wirecutter covering sleep and mattresses. Her work has previously been published in Okayplayer, The Knockturnal, and Nylon magazine, and her book A Lullaby for the End of the World is available on Amazon.

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