How to clean an air fryer

Take a tip from Queen of Clean Lynsey Crombie as she shares her expert advice on how to clean your air fryer after every use

Want to keep your coveted air fryer in tip top condition? It’s easy when you know how to clean an air fryer.

To ensure it remains in optimum working order and as sparkling as the day you bought it, follow our advice on how to clean it thoroughly after every use. 

A man cleaning an air fryer in a kitchen sinkCredit: Exceptional
Follow our simple steps on the best way to clean your air fryer thoroughly

When you’ve invested in an air fryer to save you time and money in the kitchen, a little regular maintenance isn’t much to ask. Whether it needs a deep clean or a simple refresh, the good news is that a few simple tools and a little elbow grease will go a long way to keep your air fryer in good working order.

When it comes to air fryer designs, there are a range of compact models to choose from that will require you to tailor the clean to suit. Each air fryer design will have removable parts such as a crisper basket, grill plate or cooking pot that will need to be cleaned after every use.

A standard air fryer will come with a pull-out drawer with a crisper basket, while some designs will have a removable bowl and stirring paddle instead. Some of the best air fryers come with dedicated features, such as rotisserie support or doubling up as a health grill with separate grill plate and cooking pots to contend with.

Multi-cookers that come with a range of features to bake, slow cook, pressure cook, air fry and more tend to include a removable cooking pot, crisping basket and, in some cases, a reversible food rack. Some of these parts will be dishwasher safe, but when you want to ensure a deep clean, it’s often easier to do it by hand. 

To bring you the best tips on how to clean an air fryer, we’ve consulted cleaning guru and TV presenter Lynsey Crombie (@lynsey_queenofclean on Instagram) for her expert advice.

Author of four best-selling books, her most recent tome, The 15-Minute Clean, is bursting with simple hacks and cleaning tips to help you organise your home life.  

How to clean an air fryer

Project overview

You can clean your air fryer using washing up liquid and store cupboard essentials such as bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar. A washing up brush or old toothbrush and microfibre cloth will come in handy too. 

You may need to allow some extra soaking time if your air fryer is particularly dirty.

20 mins
£4 – £6

1. Prep your air fryer

Turn off, unplug and allow to cool before cleaning

An air fryer on a counter top cooling down after being usedCredit: Saga Exceptional
Unplug and get everything you need to clean your air fryer ready

Before you start cleaning your air fryer, you’ll need to turn off your appliance, unplug it and allow it to cool. Take out any removable parts that can either be washed by hand or in the dishwasher and put to one side.

You won’t be able to submerge the main unit of the machine in water, so place it away from the sink and water once you have taken out any removable parts.

2. Refresh the air fryer parts

Deodorise the main cooking basket

Someone washing out a pan of an air fryerCredit: Saga Exceptional
Bicarbonate of soda can help to banish any horrible odour from your air fryer basket

It’s essential to clean your air fryer’s crisper basket after each use to ensure grease doesn’t build up and food crumbs don’t get burnt on when left to heat more than once.

After time, the air fryer drawer or cooking pot can begin to smell if not properly cleaned. If you want to give either a deep clean and refresh you can do so by filling them halfway with warm water and adding a sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda.

Leave for a few hours and the bicarb will soak up and banish any smells. 

3. Soak in soapy water

Take time to remove any built-up dirt

Next up, it’s time to thoroughly clean the air fryer’s removable parts such as the basket, drawer, grill, cooking pot or bowl and paddle.

You can clean these just as you would normally wash up, but they may need soaking. If so, fill the sink with warm, soapy water, take out the removable parts and soak for as long as you feel the need.

4. Banish grease

Cut through grime with white vinegar

Someone cleaning an air fryer basket with white wine vinegarCredit: Saga Exceptional
White vinegar can help remove stubborn grease

If there is a lot of grease to contend with, use a kitchen roll to wipe away the grease and dispose of it in the bin first. It’s advisable to remove excess grease first as it can clog up your kitchen plughole if washed away.

For burnt-on grease, add a splash of white vinegar to the warm soapy water in your sink and soak. This will help to cut through grease and grime and remove any burnt-on food particles. 

Lynsey points out that you can also soak parts using a dishwasher tablet or by adding a tea bag to the water – you should find that the tannins in the tea are good at tackling grease and grime.

5. Remove stubborn food

Get the right tools for the job

Person removing burnt on grease from an air fryer using a non-abrasive brushCredit: Saga Exceptional
Remove stubborn burnt-on grease using a non-abrasive brush

Once you’ve soaked the parts, you can remove any stubborn burnt-on grease using a non-abrasive brush and scrub away. Some air fryers come with a cleaning brush included in the box, but alternatively you can use a washing up brush or recycled toothbrush.

As Lynsey points out, do not use metal scrubbers as this can damage the air fryer. Rinse after cleaning and allow to dry. 

6: Clean the coil

Leave to cool and then clean the air fryer’s heating element

After every few uses, you should clean the heating coil or mesh of your air fryer, which is usually found inside the unit above the drawer or under the main lid.

Before you do this, make sure the air fryer is completely cool. Then use a non-abrasive soft bristle brush and a damp cloth to wipe away any grease or grime. Dry with some kitchen roll.

7: Finish with a buff and a polish

Use a damp microfibre cloth to clean the air fryer’s exterior

A person polishing an air fryerCredit: Saga Exceptional
A microfibre cloth will help remove fingerprint marks

Dry each part of your air fryer with a tea towel before putting it back together. You can use a damp microfibre cloth to wipe and buff away any dirt and fingerprint marks from the exterior of your air fryer.

This will ensure it looks good on your worktop. Now your work is done, go and make yourself a coffee, sit back and relax.  

Keen to invest in an air fryer? Read our best air fryers guide to get the low-down on the latest designs.

Emily Peck

Written by Emily Peck


During her 20+ years as a lifestyle journalist, Emily has held inhouse positions as features editor at Ideal Home and a features writer at the BBC. A freelancer for Saga, she regularly writes for publications including Livingetc, GQ, Ideal Home, The Telegraph, Tom’s Guide, TechRadar and Wired to name a few. She covers everything from design and interiors, gardens and food, to fitness and health.