How to clean an air fryer

Ninja Foodi DualZone FlexBasket being washed in sink
(Image credit: Future)

Air fryers have gained a huge cult following not only because they offer a healthier way to cook, bake, and “fry” without the need for excess oil but also because of how convenient and versatile they are.  

Yet even the best air fryers can quickly lose their cooking power and efficiency if they’re not kept clean and in their best condition. 

Cleaning an air fryer involves more than just giving the baskets a quick wipeover, though. To maintain optimal performance, you need to deep clean the appliance at least once a month, especially if you’re using it regularly. 

Whilst figuring out how to clean an air fryer may seem like a daunting task, it’s quicker and easier than you may think. Plus, by spending a small amount of time cleaning it thoroughly, you can improve the shelf-life of your air fryer and continue making the healthiest, quickest, and easiest air fryer meals for months and years to come. 

Tools & requirements

- Toothbrush; or any soft, small brush

- Soft sponge

- Cloth

- Paper towel

- Dish soap

- Drying rack

- Baking soda

- Water

Whilst figuring out how to clean an air fryer may seem like a daunting task, it’s quicker and easier than you may think. Plus, by spending a small amount of time cleaning it thoroughly, you can improve the shelf-life of your air fryer and continue making the healthiest, quickest, and easiest air fryer meals for months and years to come.

Quick steps for how to clean an air fryer

  1. Unplug and allow to cool down
  2. Remove the air fryer baskets and any other detachable parts
  3. Wash all parts in warm, soapy water or dishwasher
  4. Wipe down the interior walls
  5. Clean the heating element and fan
  6. Wipe the exterior
  7. Reassemble

Step by step guide: How to clean an air fryer

1. Unplug the air fryer and allow to cool down

(Image: © Getty)

Before you start cleaning your air fryer, make sure it’s unplugged and has completely cooled down. It can be tempting to clean the air fryer while it’s still hot before the food has a chance to become baked in, but this can lead to accidents and injuries. You also won’t be able to clean it as thoroughly and deeply as when it's cold.

2. Remove the air fryer baskets and other detachable parts

(Image: © Amazon, Cosori)

Most air fryers come with detachable parts that can be easily removed for cleaning. This includes the cooking basket(s), as well as the tray and racks.

The basket and tray are the two most important parts of your air fryer to clean. These are the parts that come into contact with the food, so they're the ones that are most likely to get dirty. To remove the basket, lift it out of the air fryer. If your air fryer has a tray, you may need to unscrew it from the bottom of the air fryer.

Remove all these parts and put them in a bowl of warm soapy water. Alternatively, put them in the dishwasher, but only if the manufacturer describes them as being dishwasher safe.

3. Wash all parts in warm, soapy water or dishwasher

(Image: © Amazon, Crownful)

Soak the removable parts in warm, soapy water for a few minutes to help lift away the baked-on food and grease. 

Using a soft sponge, rub and remove any remaining food stains and build-up. Avoid using abrasive scouring pads or harsh cleaning products as they can scratch and damage the surface and affect the non-stick coating. Once clean, rinse the bubbles and food off the parts using clean water and dry on a drying rack. 

If the removable parts are dishwasher-safe, you can instead put them in the dishwasher.

4. Clean the Interior

(Image: © Getty)

While the removable parts are drying, take a damp cloth or sponge and gently wipe the interior walls, base, and ceiling of the air fryer. If there are stubborn stains or baked-on residue, use a mixture of baking soda and water to create a paste and apply it to the affected areas. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a damp cloth.

5. Clean the Heating Element and Fan

(Image: © Getty)

The heating element and fan are what ultimately determine your air fryer’s performance, but they’re often forgotten when it comes to keeping it clean. You may have to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to find out where the heating element and fan are. 

If your heating element and fan are easily accessible (they’re not always), use a soft brush or a toothbrush to gently remove any food particles or grease that may have gathered.

6. Wipe the exterior

(Image: © Philips)

Using a damp cloth, wipe down the exterior of the air fryer to remove any grease and fingerprints. To keep it looking its best, go back over the clean outer walls with a dry paper towel to remove any water stains.

7. Reassemble

(Image: © Future)

Once all the parts are clean and dry, reassemble the air fryer.

How to clean an air fryer: FAQs

Are air fryers dishwasher safe?

 Some air fryer baskets and components are dishwasher safe, meaning they can be put in the dishwasher, yet others aren’t. This is because some air fryers have non-stick coatings that can be damaged by the detergents and hot water used in dishwashers. 

The best way to know if your air fryer is dishwasher safe is by checking the manufacturer's instructions. If the instructions don’t explicitly say the parts are dishwasher safe, it’s best to err on the side of caution and wash the components by hand. 

How do you get baked-on grease out of an air fryer?

 If the grease has gathered on the basket(s) or removable trays, washing them in warm, soapy water should be enough to remove the grease. 

If the grease is stubborn, or you’re looking to get baked-on grease off the interior walls and non-removable components, make a paste using equal parts baking soda and water. 

Rub the paste onto the grease and let it sit for 30 minutes. You should then be able to scrub the paste off with a soft-bristled brush and rinse it away with a damp cloth and warm water.

Is it okay to put water in air fryer to clean?

 Yes, it is generally safe to put water in an air fryer to clean it because the steam helps lift any baked-on grease and food. 

However, you need to make sure you don’t overfill the basket with too much water, and you need to be careful removing the hot water afterward. 

To clean your air fryer using water, add 2-3 tablespoons into the basket alongside 2-3 drops of dish soap. The water should only just cover the base of your air fryer basket. Set the air fryer to a low-medium temperature and let it run for 3-5 minutes. 

The steam created by the water and soap will loosen any stuck-on food and grease, making it easier to wipe clean. 


Cleaning an air fryer may not be as convenient and quick as they are to use, but not only is it easier than you may think, but it’s also worth the extra effort. 

Keeping your air fryer clean helps keep it working as effectively and efficiently as possible, and this makes your meals taste the best they can while extending the life of your appliance. 

Plus, no matter how much time it takes to clean an air fryer, it will likely be much less hassle than trying to clean a conventional oven.

Victoria Woollaston
Lifestyle and technology journalist

Victoria Woollaston is a freelance lifestyle and technology journalist with almost two decades of experience reviewing gadgets, beauty tech and household appliances for the likes of WIRED, TechRadar, Expert Reviews, Alphr and more.