De-Gunk Your Air Fryer in 3 Easy Steps

Here's how to clean up all of that grease and grime.

Alina Bradford CNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Dan Avery Former Writer
Dan was a writer on CNET's How-To and Thought Leadership teams. His byline has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, NBC News, Architectural Digest and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.
Expertise Personal finance, government and policy, consumer affairs
Alina Bradford
Dan Avery
2 min read
Plan Shooting 2 / Imazins

While there's little or no oil used in an air fryer, the results can still be crispy and delicious.

Plan Shooting 2/Imazins

Air fryers are the countertop appliance of the moment, using extremely hot air to roast food within minutes. They can crisp up veggies, meat, frozen food and more -- all while using little or no oil. Plus, opting for an air fryer instead of an oven can save you money on your energy bill.

But cooking with an air fryer isn't a completely mess-free ordeal. Spills and drips can still leave stickiness or caked-on dirt. And with the detachable basket and all the nooks and crannies, cleaning an air fryer isn't as intuitive as scrubbing a pot or pan.

We'll show you how to give your air fryer a proper clean without damaging the hardware. For more, find out which air fryer is the best for you and our favorite models for 2022.

Give it a rubdown

First, you need to soak up any oil that may be congealing in or on your air fryer. Unplug the appliance, then grab some newspapers and wad them into a ball. Give the appliance a good wipedown, inside and out, to remove the bulk of any oily residue. 

Next, go over the outside of the appliance with a disinfectant wipe or a Magic Eraser. This wipe-down will remove any residual oil and dust. Don't worry about wiping out the inside with a wipe or Magic Eraser. We'll take care of the inside in the next steps.

Wash the pan and fryer basket

Now, remove the pan and basket (some models also have a tray you can clean) and give them a good washing. You usually can put these two items in the dishwasher, but check your manual to be certain.
If they're dishwasher-safe, always put them on the top rack during a normal cycle.

washing air fryer
Adisak Mitrprayoon

If you're hand-washing your pan and basket, let them soak in warm water for a bit first with a few drops of dish soap. Then wipe them down with a sponge or dishcloth and rinse each piece with warm water. Set the pan and basket aside to dry.

Wipe down the inside

While those are drying, use a Magic Eraser or disinfectant wipe to clean the heating element and the areas around where the basket and pan sit. 

You can also clean the areas with hot water and a cleaning cloth instead. Since you can't put your air fryer under running water, make sure you don't use a cleanser that needs to be rinsed off. (Even wiping everything down with a moist cloth doesn't remove all of the cleanser residue.)

If there is stuck-on gunk on the fryer's heating element, scrub it with an old toothbrush or a soft-bristled cleaning brush. Don't attack it with anything more abrasive or you may leave scratches.

Once everything is clean and dry, you can put the pan and basket back in.