Regular cleaning is important to prevent buildup of food debris and grease.
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Air fryers cook food with a fraction of the oil used in traditional deep frying, which means there's less fat going into your food and less oil to clean up after cooking. That said, it's important to remember that there's still a fair amount of cleaning that needs to happen after you're done using your air fryer, and you'll want to tackle it sooner rather than later. Here we share expert insight into how often you need to clean your air fryer and exactly how to clean the different parts of an air fryer.

How Often to Clean Your Air Fryer

Cleaning your air fryer often is the best way to avoid the buildup of grease and other food residue. "I like to wipe it down and do a spot clean every time I use my air fryer, making sure there are not any large pieces of food or crumbs left behind," says Belle English, test kitchen manager at Williams Sonoma. "Then every three or four times I use my air fryer, I will do a deeper clean and soak to ensure that it's totally clean,"

As for when to clean your air fryer, sooner is better, but you'll want to wait until your appliance is cool first. It may be tempting to put off the task until the next day, but English notes that cleaning sooner rather than later will be much easier, as it doesn't give grease and food a chance to stick to the basket or pull-out drawer.

How to do a Deep Clean

When it's time for a deeper cleaning, English says: "The great thing about an air fryer is that it disassembles into several dishwasher-safe pieces." She takes out the removable pieces (like the frying basket and pull-out drawer) and puts the dishwasher-safe components through a wash cycle. Everything else gets hand-washed. Be sure to wipe all the surfaces inside the air fryer with a damp cloth dipped in warm, soapy water. Give the exterior a wipe too. Check the heating element too and wipe it if there is any grease residue. (Be sure to let the coil dry before using your air fryer again.)

Air frying homemade chicken nuggets
Credit: Grandbrothers / Getty Images

For stubborn bits of food that stay on even after being run through the dishwasher, English uses a strong bristled brush and grease-fighting soap. This approach also works for tackling built-up grease and crumbs inside your air fryer.

Removing Odors

If you find that your air fryer has lingering odors from the last time you used it and soap and water doesn't make them go away, English has a trick for that, too. "Make a solution out of equal parts baking soda and hot water and let the separate components soak for an hour or so," she says. "Then scrub and rinse with cold water."

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