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How to Make Your Air Fryer Shine Again

The products reccomended in the article including brands like OXO, Ninja and Dawn.

People love air fryers for their mastery of crisping healthy foods with ease and making them taste amazing. You can even get one that bakes, broils, and dehydrates foods in a snap. In fact, the only thing missing on modern air fryers is a self-cleaning option.

If your air fryer is starting to give off a bit of a stench or simply doesn’t gleam like it used to, it’s probably time to give it a good scrub-down.

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Fryer?

A Ninja Foodi duel basket air fryer with fries and chicken wings plated in front.

Like most small kitchen appliances, cleaning an air fryer is pretty straightforward and doesn’t take much time if you clean it often. The longer you wait to clean it, though, the more laborious the task will be.

That’s because the basket where the food goes is prone to collecting grease and gunk, which thickens and becomes more difficult to remove over time. Your best bet is to clean the basket and pan after each use or, at least, after every few uses.

If you’re air frying something that doesn’t smell the greatest, like fish, we recommend cleaning your appliance immediately afterward, so your next meal won’t taste and smell like fish.

The perforated pan in the basket inside your air fryer allows hot air to flow around it, which is essentially how your food browns or becomes crispy. However, grease and crumbs can easily fall through those perforated vents. Over time, they accumulate and become more difficult to remove.

So, to get the most out of your convenient kitchen appliance, we’ll show you how to keep it clean with some common household supplies you probably already have.

Ninja Foodi Duel Basket Air Fryer

Our favorite air fryer--the two baskets allow you to make an entire dinner in no time.

What You’ll Need

Two products reccomended in the article below icluding brands like OXO and Eurow.

Before you get to polishing, you’ll need to gather a few supplies. Cleaning your air fryer doesn’t require any special tools. In fact, you probably already have everything you need.

Here’s what you’ll need to clean your air fryer, along with some links in case there’s something you need to order or upgrade:

Eurow Gallon Bucket

It's collapsible so you can easily stow it away when you're done.

Dawn Platinum Dish Soap

Cuts through even the toughest grease stains.

Scrub-It Non-Scratch Miracle Microfiber Kitchen Sponges, Pack of Three

Perfect for gentle, no-scratch cleaning of stainless-steel appliances and nonstick pots and pans.

The Rag Company Microfiber Towels

Will scrub away dirt and grease without scratching your air fryer's surface.

OXO Good Grips Soap Dispensing Scrub Brush

Press the button to dispense dish soap and scrub off any caked-on grime.

Bounty 2-Ply Paper Towels

Absorbent quilting is perfect for picking up grease.

After you’ve gathered all your supplies, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get the job done.

How to Clean Your Air Fryer

Cleaning an air fryer is pretty easy. It’ll probably only take about 10-20 minutes or less if you’ve cleaned it recently.

Follow these steps to make your appliance shiny again:

Mix your cleaning solution: Fill your bucket, kitchen sink, or a large bowl halfway with warm water, and then add a few squirts of Dawn Dish Soap. If you’re using a dispensing brush, fill it about 3/4 with warm water, fill the remaining 1/4 with Dawn Dish Soap, screw the cap back on, and then shake to mix.

Unplug the air fryer: Safety first! Also, make sure your air fryer is completely cool before you start cleaning it.

An air fryer that has been unplugged, with dish soap and a bowl of warm soapy water.
Emilee Unterkoefler / LifeSavvy

Disassemble the appliance: Pull out the basket(s) and perforated pan. If you use a divider or rack, be sure to remove those, as well.

An air fryer tha tis taken apart and ready to be cleaned.
Emilee Unterkoefler / LifeSavvy

Clean the removable parts: Wipe the perforated pan with paper towels to remove any large amounts of food or grease. Then, dip a non-abrasive sponge or scrub brush in the soapy water (just press the button if you’re using the soap-dispensing brush). Wash each part with your soap and water solution. If the basket(s) is caked in thick grease or has some stubborn stuck-on food inside, soak it in a sink full of hot soapy water for 10-15 minutes, and then scrub it again.

Wiping some leftover grease from within the basket of an air fryer before moving on to cleaning the other components of an air fryer.
Emilee Unterkoefler / LifeSavvy

Clean the inside: Dampen a microfiber cloth in your warm soapy water and wipe away any residue that’s accumulated inside your air fryer.

Wiping the inside of an air fryer with a microfiber towel.
Emilee Unterkoefler / LifeSavvy

Wipe the exterior and reassemble: Dampen a fresh microfiber cloth in your warm soapy water, and then gently wipe the outside of your air fryer. To rinse, wet another rag with water only, and then wipe down the exterior once more to give it a final polish. Finally, you can either use a microfiber cloth to wipe your air fryer and all of its components dry, or let them air-dry for several hours or overnight. When everything is dry, reassemble the appliance, and you’re ready to fry again!

Two images of wiping down an air fryer with a microfiber towel.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Cleaning your air fryer after each use will ensure it lasts as long as possible, and you can keep enjoying its convenient perks.

Some Tips for Those Tough Spots

It’s all too easy to forget to clean your air fryer’s hidden basket. If yours has some stubborn grime and/or grease buildup, here are some tips for removing it:

  • Clean first with paper towels: The non-abrasive, yet tough, texture of paper towels can really help absorb and remove that first layer of grime
  • Never use stainless-steel scrubbers or steel wool: These will strip away the nonstick coating on your air fryer’s interior.
  • Avoid using utensils: While it can be tempting to use a butter knife or something similar to scrape off any stuck-on food, this can also damage the nonstick coating and scratch the exterior of your appliance. Soak the basket in warm soapy water to loosen any food particles, or gently scrub the exterior or other parts with your brush or non-scratch sponge and warm soapy water until they come off.
  • Wash removable components in the dishwasher after each use: You can usually do this with the basket and other removable parts. Just double-check your owner’s manual to confirm which pieces are dishwasher-safe. If you no longer have the manual, you should be able to find this information online by searching the manufacturer and model.

Cleaning your air fryer after each use (or, at least, every few uses) will maintain its functionality and eliminate the need of having to soak and scrub.

An air fryer is a popular and handy appliance to have. However, if it’s been a while since you cleaned yours, these simple steps will help you get it shiny and ready to use again in just a few minutes.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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