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How to clean an air fryer

Published: March 25, 2022 at 11:25 am
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Is your much-loved air fryer in need of some TLC? We've put together this easy guide to get your air fryer shining again.

Although air fryers have been around for years, their popularity has boomed recently. In fact, John Lewis and Partners reported a 400% increase in air fryer sales in 2021. We’ve been following the trend, and have tested a whole range of the best air fryers on the market.

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Compared to an oven, air fryers are much smaller and quicker to heat up – you don’t have to use a whole oven to cook a single item. Plus, some models even come with extras such as rotisserie accessories and chip baskets, while others are multifunctional appliances with slow cooking, pressure cooking and baking capabilities.

Proper care and maintenance is a sure-fire way to ensure that your appliances last longer. But with new appliances it can be difficult to know where to start. Thankfully, air fryers are easy to clean with products you probably already have at home.

How often should you clean an air fryer?

We recommend cleaning the basket of your air fryer after every use, so that dirt and grime doesn't become baked on. Small crumbs can also burn if not cleaned out, which may taint the flavour of whatever you're air-frying.

Give your air fryer a deeper clean (inside the unit and the coil) every few uses.

How to clean an air fryer

Tools and kit needed:

  • Washing-up liquid
  • Baking soda
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Old toothbrush
  • Soft sponge/cloth

Method:

  1. Unplug the air fryer after use and allow it to cool down completely.
  2. Take out all the removable parts and detach the component parts.
  3. Clean each part with warm water and washing-up liquid solution. Use the soft side of the sponge or cloth to avoid damaging the non-stick coating. Work into the gaps of the basket to ensure it's thoroughly cleaned.
  4. If there are any burned-on bits of food that can’t be removed by the sponge alone, make up a paste of baking soda and water and place it onto the stubborn parts. Leave this to work for 20 minutes, or, if you’re short on time, gently buff this solution with an old toothbrush.
  5. Rinse the component parts and leave to dry.

When doing a deeper clean, be aware that the main unit of the air fryer cannot be submerged; this will need to be cleaned by hand, too.

  1. Use a sponge/cloth with a water and washing-up liquid solution or an all-purpose cleaner (try to opt for an eco all-purpose cleaner to avoid aggressive chemicals).
  2. Check the heating coil on the underside of the air fryer (similar to a grill unit on an oven) for specks of grease and dirt. Clean this with a sponge/cloth and a water and washing-up liquid solution. Make sure this is rinsed well to ensure no residual soap is left on the coil.
  3. Dry all the baskets and inside the unit, then reassemble.

If your air fryer comes with a rotisserie basket, this can be cleaned in the sink with water and washing-up liquid. Use a toothbrush to work into the gaps.

Two air fryer components, one dirty and the other clean

Can you clean an air fryer in the dishwasher?

While many air fryers come with parts that are dishwasher safe, we’d advise against using the dishwasher every time you use your air fryer. For the most part, it feels like overkill, particularly when you’ve only used the air fryer for one thing.

Plus dishwashers generally clean at higher temperatures than hand-washing, and the chemical makeup of dishwasher tablets can be more powerful than classic dish soap. These two factors make for a powerful cocktail that may strip the non-stick coating off your air fryer faster than hand-washing. We’re not saying don’t ever wash your air fryer in a dishwasher – just consider whether the dirt build-up really justifies it.

When you do choose to use the dishwasher, we advise putting the component parts on the top rack, if space allows. The water tends to be gentler and not as hot on the top rack.

Make sure you check the manual to find out which parts of your air fryer are dishwasher safe, if any.

Top rated air fryers

Looking for an upgrade? We’ve tested a range of air fryers, from high-tech multifunctional models to budget-friendly options for those not looking to spend too much. Here are three that made it into our best air fryers list.

Breville Halo Rotisserie Air Fryer Oven – Star Buy

A black air fryer against a white background with a star buy badge next to it

Star rating: 5/5
Best rotisserie air fryer for chips

This rotisserie air fryer earned Star Buy status for its clear, glass-fronted window, rotisserie and chip basket accessories and fantastic cooking results. A quality air fryer with some added extras.

Read the full Breville Halo Rotisserie Air Fryer Oven review

Cosori Pro 4.7L Air Fryer – Star Buy

A black air fryer against a white background with a star buy badge next to it

Star rating: 5/5
Best standard size air fryer for affordability

Understated and unassuming, this Corosi model has a good capacity for two (or four, if making side dishes). It’s well built and simple to assemble, plus it comes with seven pre-sets including chicken, fries and veggies.

Read the full Cosori Pro 4.7L Air Fryer review

Ninja AF160UK Air Fryer Max 5.2L - Star Buy

A grey air fryer against a white background with a star buy badge next to it

Star rating: 5/5
Best air fryer for quick baking

We loved this Ninja air fryer for its circular tray design and multiple cooking functions, notably its baking function. The controls are easy to use and see, plus there’s a loud beep that lets you know when it's time to shake the contents.

More articles on cleaning and kitchen safety

How to descale a kettle
How to keep your kitchen clean
10 ways to deep clean your kitchen
What to keep where in the kitchen
How to store food safely
Everything you need to know about food poisoning
How to reheat leftovers
Top tips on freezing food

Air fryer recipes

Air fried chips
Air fried roast potatoes
Air fried chicken wings
Air fried chicken

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