How to Clean an Air Fryer

Updated: May 24, 2024

Ready to learn how to clean an air fryer? It's a lot easier than you might think! Follow this step-by-step guide after making one of our air-fryer recipes.

Asking us not to eat fried food is like asking Joanna Gaines not to make her famous biscuits. It’s not going to happen! But we also know frying isn’t healthy—at least it wasn’t until we discovered the air fryer. It uses less oil, making some air-fried foods healthier with lower counts of fat and calories. Plus, cleaning an air fryer is much easier than cleaning a deep fryer.

To help you care for your new favorite kitchen appliance, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to clean an air fryer. And when you’re ready to dirty it up again, here’s the full list of things you can make in an air fryer. Plus, our air-fryer cooking tips and air-fryer cooking time guide will help you get the best air-frying snacks.

Are Air Fryers Hard to Clean?

We get it, cleaning kitchen appliances is intimidating. Luckily, cleaning an air fryer is easier to spruce up than some other gadgets, like cleaning an oven. All it takes is warm soapy water and a dishcloth to remove food buildup. The most time-consuming part is allowing the basket to soak if it has an excess amount of sticky residue. Check out the handy tools recommended below to ease the process.

How to Easily Clean an Air Fryer

Tools and Supplies

  • Dawn Powerwash Dish Spray: A good sponge and dish soap are really all you need to get an air fryer looking like new. We recommend Dawn Powerwash for the job because it’s a pro at cutting through grease. Plus, it’s so easy to use. Just spritz and scrub with your favorite sponge!
  • Scrub Daddy Sponges: When cleaning the air fryer basket, turn to the internet’s favorite dish sponge: Scrub Daddy. It’s sturdy enough to remove food buildup and grease from the basket and more durable than traditional sponges. Just be careful not to scrub the interior cooking surface too hard to avoid scratching it. Pair it with these Scrub Daddy products, like a sponge handle, for a superior clean.
  • Swedish Dishcloths: The air fryer isn’t clean until the main unit is wiped down. Instead of using paper towels, opt for Swedish dishcloths. They’re more absorbent and reusable, and ideal for all areas of the home. Just rinse with water, wipe down the air fryer and you’re good to go!


Step 1: Unplug the air fryer

Safety first! Turn off and unplug your air fryer. Allow it to cool completely before cleaning.

Step 2: Clean removable parts

air fryer and removable basket on kitchen counterTMB Studio

Remove the basket, tray and pan. These air-fryer accessories can be washed just like any other dish: with soap and warm water. Or, if you don’t feel like washing them by hand, place them in the dishwasher. Most air fryers have dishwasher-safe pieces, but check the instruction manual for your specific model.

Step 3: Clean the main unit

The main unit of your air fryer should never be immersed in water. Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe down the entire unit and the control panel to get rid of any food splatters or grease residue. If you notice any food stuck on the heating coil, use a soft dish brush to remove.

Step 4: Check the heating coil

Cleaning Air Fryer heating Coil with damp clothTMB Studio

Check the heating coil of your air fryer after each use (usually located in the top of the unit). If there’s oil or residue on the heating coil, let the unplugged machine cool, then wipe the coil with a damp cloth or dish brush—just like you would with the heating element on an electric stove.

Step 5: Dry and reassemble

Towel-dry or air-dry all of the parts completely before you reassemble the air fryer.

How to Clean an Air Fryer FAQs

Can you clean an air fryer with water?

Yes and no. Though some foodies have found that filling the air fryer basket with soapy water and turning it on inside the main unit will do the trick, it’s best to play it safe as it could damage the nonstick coating on the interior cooking surface. We recommend unplugging the air fryer and cleaning the basket with warm soapy water then wiping down the main unit with a cloth.

How often should you clean an air fryer?

To keep your air fryer free from greasy food buildup, it’s best to clean your air fryer after every use or every few uses.

How do you keep an air fryer clean?

The best way to keep an air fryer clean is by covering the basket’s cooking surface with foil or an air-fryer liner. We prefer the latter as it’s much easier to cook with.

Air-fryer liners are disposable pre-cut parchment papers made to perfectly fit at the bottom of your basket, but shouldn’t be used for cooking foods at temperatures higher than 450°F. For those situations, try a silicone air-fryer liner that’s reusable and able to withhold higher temperatures.

To use an air-fryer liner just pop the liner in the basket, layer your ingredients on top of it, and then remove the liner when you’re done cooking. Our favorite disposable liners are these Bykitchen air-fryer liners that come in a pack of 200. It’s one of our favorite kitchen appliance cleaning hacks, right next to the Angry Mama microwave cleaner and these Keurig cleaning pods.

Air Fryer Cleaning Tips

  • If the basket or pan has baked-on grease, soak it in hot water and soap for 20 to 30 minutes. Then remove the now-softened gunk with a scrub brush.
  • If you notice a stinky odor coming from your air fryer, chances are there are food particles trapped somewhere in or on it. Mix together baking soda and water to form a paste. Then use a scrub brush or an old toothbrush to thoroughly scrub the interior of the air fryer.
  • Never use metal utensils to remove crumbs or baked-on grease from the fryer. It can damage the nonstick coating and prevent your fryer from working properly.

Wondering how to clean a microwave? What about the dishwasher? We have cleaning guides for that, too.