How to Clean an Air Fryer

Stainless steel air fryer with cooked potatoes next to kitchenware

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

If you love crispy fried foods but are trying to eat healthier, then an air fryer might be the small appliance you need to add to your kitchen. The name is a bit of a misnomer because an air fryer is much more like a convection oven than a deep fryer because it uses little or no oil and many can bake and roast as well as fry foods.

Rather than a deep pot of boiling oil that leaves the outer coating of foods crisp (if it's done correctly), air fryers use super-heated air to quickly cook food and crisp the outsides.

Fortunately, cleaning an air fryer like the Ninja Foodi Air Fryer with one or two baskets is simple since most manufacturers have made the air fryer baskets and plates dishwasher safe. With just a few simple household supplies, you can keep an air fryer clean and working perfectly.

How Often to Clean an Air Fryer

Since the air fryer is filled with raw food, the components that come in direct contact with the food (basket, tray, or plate) should be cleaned after every use. The interior should also be cleaned to make sure there are no food particles blocking the grid to diminish air circulation.

Depending on how often you use the appliance, the exterior will need cleaning at least after several uses as well as the heating coils.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth
  • 1 Soft-bristled bottle brush or old toothbrush
  • 1 Microfiber cloth

Materials

  • 1 Dishwashing liquid with a degreaser
  • 1 Dishwasher detergent
  • 1 Baking soda

Instructions

Materials and tools to clean air fryer on white surface

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  1. Unplug and Allow to Cool

    After every use, unplug the air fryer from the wall outlet and allow the unit to cool completely before cleaning any component.

    Stainless steel air fryer unplugged from wall to cool

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Wash Removable Components

    Once the unit is cool, remove the crisper plate or tray and basket. These can be hand washed with dishwashing liquid and hot water or placed in the dishwasher. Always check the user guide that came with the air fryer to make sure these components are dishwasher-safe. Most manufacturers recommend handwashing the baskets to extend their life.

    Air fryer basket hand-washed with sponge and dishwashing liquid after soaking

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    Tip

    If there is baked-on food on the plate or basket, fill a sink or large tub with hot water and add several drops of dishwashing liquid. Allow the components to soak for 15 to 20 minutes to loosen the particles and then use a soft-bristled brush to scrub them away.


    For the best results, always use a dishwashing liquid that contains a degreaser.

  3. Dry the Components

    If you are handwashing or stop the dishwasher before the drying cycle, use a lint-free microfiber cloth to dry the crisper plate and basket. Never put damp components back into the base unit.

    Crisper plate and basket dried with lint-free microfiber cloth

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  4. Wipe Down the Base Unit

    Dampen a non-abrasive sponge with warm water and add a drop of dishwashing liquid. With the unit unplugged and with the basket, plates or trays removed, use the sponge to wipe out the entire interior opening. Use a microfiber cloth to thoroughly dry the area.

    Rinse out the sponge and use it to wipe down the exterior of the appliance including the control panel.

    Air fryer base unit wiped down with non-abrasive sponge, warm water and dishwashing liquid

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  5. Do a Deep Clean

    After several uses, check the heating element for grease splatters or food particles. Use a damp non-abrasive sponge to wipe it clean.

    If the air fryer develops a bad odor, there are food splatters somewhere in the interior. In a small bowl, mix one tablespoon of water with two tablespoons of baking soda to make a paste. Dip a dampened sponge in the paste to clean the interior. You may also need to use a small soft-bristled brush like a bottle brush or an old toothbrush dipped in the solution to get into all of the corners.

    Rinse with a sponge dipped in clean water and dry thoroughly with a microfiber cloth before reinserting the basket and plates and plugging the unit into a wall outlet.

    Baking soda and water paste wiping base plate for a deep clean

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Helpful Tips to Keep Your Air Fryer Clean

  • Never use metal utensils that can damage the non-stick surface to remove food scrub or scour the components.
  • Never place the air-fryer on a stovetop or too close to an open flame to prevent the plastic components from accidentally melting.
  • Never immerse the base unit in water.
  • Always operate the air fryer with at least six inches of space around all sides of the appliance to provide good air circulation.
  • Do not overfill the food baskets. This can damage the interior heating elements.
  • Always turn off the air fryer, disconnect it from the wall outlet, and allow it to cool completely before cleaning or storing any component.