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How to clean an air fryer

An air fryer cooks food quickly, uses minimal ingredients during preparation, and is easy enough for pretty much anyone to use — from kitchen novices to cooking pros. Famous for making French fries, chicken tenders, and other crunchy snacks without a ton of oil, air fryers can help you save on calories too.

Just like your microwave, toaster oven, or any other kitchen gadget, you should regularly clean and maintain your air fryer. If you don’t clean your air fryer, it won’t perform optimally, as it can accumulate smells and flavors that can transfer straight into your freshly made food. Dirty air fryers can also build up grease, and that grease can cause your fryer to smoke and reduce the quality of your recipes.

Here’s how to clean your air fryer and keep it running at its best.

Step 1: Unplug the device

Before attempting to clean your air fryer, unplug it from the wall socket and allow it to cool completely. This is to prevent electrocution, injury, or damage to your unit. Now, this may sound obvious, but sometimes when people are in a hurry, they really do forget to unplug their gadgets before cleaning.

Step 2: Clean the basket and pans

Clean the removable baskets and pans (frying basket, baking tray, etc.) with hot, soapy water. If your basket has stuck or burnt-on food (like batter or potato), you can soak it in hot water and dish soap for about 10 minutes, and then wipe off the food particles with a sponge or disinfecting wipes.

Some air fryers have dishwasher-safe accessories. If your frying basket is dishwasher-safe, you can just pop it in the dishwasher. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to find out about dishwasher safety.

Make sure your air frying basket, pan, and other removable accessories are all completely dry before you attempt to reassemble your air fryer and use it again.

Step 3: Clean the interior

Gourmia GT2500 air fryer
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Using a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge and hot water, clean the heating element. If there’s any grease present on the heating element, add a small amount of dish soap to the cloth or sponge to help remove the grease. Then, wipe away the soap with clean, hot water. You may want to turn the air fryer upside down to make cleaning the heating element easier. You can also use a soft-bristle food brush to remove any stuck-on dirt or particles.

Wipe the interior completely with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth and hot water. You can use a very small amount of dish soap if needed to remove grease. Again, you can use a soft-bristle cleaning brush to remove stuck-on foods. Though there are multiple ways to clean kitchen grease.

Allow the air fryer’s interior to dry completely.

Step 4: Clean the exterior

Wipe the exterior with a moist cloth or sponge and a mild detergent. Avoid using glass cleaners, bleaches, or heavy cleaners, and never immerse the air fryer itself in water.

If your fryer happens to feature a stainless steel exterior, we recommend using stainless steel wipes like these. Stainless steel wipes are great to have around in general. Notice your fridge and dishwasher are looking a little extra finger-printed? Hit them with a wipe or two, and they’ll look good as new.

Step 5: Maintain your air fryer

Clean your air fryer after each use to prevent it from accumulating food particles and building up grease. After you clean your air fryer, allow it to dry completely, and then store it in its original box or in a clean and dry place (i.e. don’t store it next to your stovetop or right near your dishwasher).

Make sure you use the frying basket and pan as directed so your foods don’t come into contact with the heating element. And, most importantly, avoid overfilling your air fryer. When you put too much food in the basket, it doesn’t cook properly, it has to cook for longer, and more grease and food particles can get onto the heating element.

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