How to Clean an Air Fryer—and Remove Stubborn Grease

Learn the trick for removing stuck-on food bits, and how to clean your air-fryer basket effectively.

Hand Grilling Chicken Drumsticks In An Airfryer
Photo: Getty Images

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. There are a number of brilliant ways to use it for meal prep. 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 how to clean 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 or soft-bristled brush

How to Clean Air Fryers

Before you get started, carefully check over your air fryer's instruction manual for information about how to clean your air-fryer model. Some air-fryer components are hand-wash only, while you may be able to use your dishwasher for others.

Cleaning an Air Fryer in the Dishwasher

Some removable parts of your air fryer may be dishwasher-safe—usually the basket, pan, and divider. If you didn't cook anything too messy, let the dishwasher do some of the work for you.

How to Clean Stuck-on Food in an Air Fryer

How to Clean Air Fryer

Adisak Mitrprayoon/Getty Images

To make cleaning your air fryer even easier, don't let it sit dirty overnight (that'll only allow cooked-on food to harden and become even harder to remove). If you do need to leave it be, soak the fryer basket and any other components in hot, soapy water to make cleaning the air fryer easier when you get around to it (at least 10 minutes to help soften up the stuck-on bits).

When you're ready, wipe the air-fryer pan and basket with a scrubber sponge or a soft-bristled brush to remove food bits and cut through grease.

How to Clean Air-Fryer Racks

Air Fryer Grill Brush Stainless Steel Accessory Cleaner

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. Note: Don't use this brush on the heating element or any other part of the appliance that could get scratched.

Cleaning the Air-Fryer Exterior and Interior

Like other kitchen appliances, you can't submerge the actual air fryer in water. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the outside of the air fryer and inside the basket base, or the part that holds the basket.

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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