How to Clean an Air Fryer—and Remove Stubborn Grease

Including the trick for removing stuck-on food bits.

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Over the past couple years, air fryers have gained a cult following. This countertop appliance has been praised for its ability to cook up crispy, delicious-tasting food, while using far less oil than a traditional deep fryer. From chicken wings to egg rolls to Brussels sprouts, the air fryer does it all. The one problem: it's not the easiest appliance to clean. So, here are our best tips for cleaning an air fryer without all the elbow grease, including a brush that makes removing stuck-on food a breeze. With the right tools and technique, cleaning the air fryer doesn't have to be a daunting chore.

What You'll Need:

  • Dish soap
  • Stainless steel bristle brush (such as this one)
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Non-scratch scrubber sponge

How to Clean an Air Fryer

  1. If the removable parts of your air fryer are dishwasher-safe and you didn't cook anything too messy, let the dishwasher do some of the work for you. Oftentimes, the basket, pan, and divider are dishwasher-safe.
  2. If you just cooked a five-course air-fryer meal and the appliance is now a mess, try this method. Fill your sink with hot water and a squirt of dish soap, then let the pan and basket soak for about 10 minutes to soften any stuck-on food. Wipe the pan and basket with a scrubber sponge to remove food bits and cut through grease.
  3. If you have the type of air fryer with metal racks, try using a stainless steel bristle brush to scrub them and quickly remove all of the fried-on food. Just don't use this brush on the heating element or any other part of the appliance that could get scratched.
  4. Wipe down the outside of the air fryer with a damp cloth, as well as the inside of the basket base, or the part that holds the basket. The main body of the appliance houses all the electronic components, so never submerge it in water.
  5. If there's any food stuck to the heating element, you can wipe it off with a sponge or a soft bristled brush. Avoid using steel wool or anything too abrasive, which can damage the coating on the heating element.
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