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How to clean an air fryer

How to clean an air fryer

4 min read

The air fryer is a wonder for easy cooking, but without regular cleaning it can quickly become a greasy mess. Here's how to keep your air fryer in top condition
The air fryer is one of the most popular appliances right now. It is incredibly easy to use, fast, safe and you get healthier meals. However, thinking about cleaning and the right way to do it can make you wonder whether it is worth using.
Don't worry, it won't break down. Cleaning your air fryer can be really easy if you do it routinely. Don't let cleanliness be an impediment to enjoying this technology which brings the tastiest, crispiest food to your table.

How often can you clean the air fryer?

breaded prawns in air frier basket
It is natural to ask yourself some questions concerning how to remove grease, what kind of detergent to use or whether you should wash it at all. After all, it is a new appliance that you have never had in your home before.
You don't want your new appliance to start burning leftover food particles and smelling bad. The air fryer has a basket and removable grids where you place the food—you should pay attention to these parts and wash them every time you use it.
The basket acts as a frying pan or pot, where crumbs and grease collect, and must be removed to keep it hygienic and in optimum condition.
Some models have a drip tray at the bottom of the basket. This piece should be cleaned with each use as well.
However, the inside of the air fryer can wait a little longer. If you use this appliance daily, you can clean the inside once a week, but it will be fine if you decide to leave everything spotless after each use—keeping the interior clean guarantees a proper operation.

Does the water hack work?

It is not recommended to fill the air fryer with water and turn it on. Although it sounds like a time-saving trick, it is not really very useful.
Your fryer is not designed to be self-cleaning, additionally electricity together with water can have serious consequences by ruining your electrical appliance.
Advice: don't believe everything TikTok says.

Can the air fryer be put in the dishwasher?

You can't wash the whole air fryer in the dishwasher, but the air fryer has removable parts that you can put in the dishwasher and will make daily cleaning much easier.
It is advisable to read the manufacturer's instructions because each model is different, they can clarify if some parts of your appliance are dishwasher safe.
Many cleaning experts recommend washing by hand to prolong the life of the product. You can access some of the grooves where grease accumulates and protect the non-stick material by washing with water that is not too hot.
pizza in air frier

The step-by-step cleaning of the air fryer

By using little or no oil you may think that your air fryer will always stay clean. This all depends on the food you prepare.
Chunks of food stick to the basket grids and the natural grease from the food drips out as it cooks, which is why it is essential to follow a cleaning routine every time you use it.
Have on hand dish soap, baking soda, paper towels, a soft bristle brush, a non-abrasive sponge and a microfibre cloth.
  1. Let the air fryer cool and unplug it after use.
  2. Remove the basket and other extractable parts. If you decide to wash it by hand, use warm soapy water and a sponge. A soft bristle brush can help you reach hard-to-reach crevices. If food debris is stuck to the basket and racks, you can soak the basket and racks in water to make cleaning easier.
  3. Let the basket and grids dry before putting them back into the fryer. 
  4. Clean the inside of the fryer with a damp soapy cloth or paper towel. Remove any soap residue with a damp cloth and then wipe dry. 
  5. For the heating coil you can use a warm damp cloth or paper towel. 
  6. Apply a damp cloth to the exterior, so it will always look like new on your countertop.

Extra steps (and big don'ts) for cleaning your air fryer

salmon and green beans cooked in air fryer
For a deeper cleaning you can use a paste made with baking soda and water, which helps to remove all the grease from the basket and the interior. This paste also helps when soaking.
Avoid scraping off stuck-on food residues with rough or sharp tools, as you need to protect the non-stick coating. It will be easier to clean up after each use. If you let days go by, the task will become more difficult with burnt food particles.
If you are worried about the smell, after preparing dishes such as fish, you can put lemon juice or vinegar in the soapy water and let your basket and grids soak for a few minutes.
But under no circumstances apply disinfectant. Remember that the air fryer is in contact with the food.

A few last suggestions

Disposable or silicone liners also make the cleaning process much easier. You can place the food inside and take it out when it is ready, preventing the basket and grids from getting dirty.
Old bits of stuck-on leftovers can contaminate food and potentially damage the appliance or shorten its lifespan. While washing your air fryer may not be as exciting as eating your fries and chicken wings, frequent cleaning will keep your air fryer looking like new for longer.
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