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How Do I Clean My Disgusting Air Fryer?

Illustration for article titled How Do I Clean My Disgusting Air Fryer?
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SqualorJolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She’ll be here every week helping to answer your filthiest questions. Are you dirty? Email her.

My husband and I got an air fryer as a wedding present and we absolutely love it! It’s one of those air fryers, broilers, toaster oven type deals. It’s awesome. We use it all the time.

The only problem is the little tray and other parts are getting so greasy! Now, we usually soak them in a sink full of hot dishwater while we eat, and then clean them after, but there are these super hard to reach areas that we cannot seem to get into! We’ve only had this thing for two months and I want it to last as long as possible. I’ve used my normal “kitchen cleaner/degreaser” on it (and then cleaned it good so I don’t ingest it and die). I don’t think I’m supposed to put the parts in the dishwasher. What can we use to get all the grease off, and get into the little crevices? Should I like soak this in white vinegar or something?

I love this attitude! Yes, please take good care of your things so that they’ll last a long, long time! But I’ll also say this: Things that show wear and tear, or have stains on them, aren’t necessarily dirty. This is especially true of our food prep tools — I’ve talked about this before, but I’m of the mind that you shouldn’t insist that your cookware remain pristine-looking, because that’s a sign of an active kitchen!


With that said, small appliances like air fryers, toasters, coffee makers, etc. are often neglected, cleaning-wise, which can lead to damage or just generalized grossness over time. So today, under the guise of talking about this specific air fryer/toaster oven combo, we’re also going to cover the basics of caring for your small appliances. Also this is the air fryer/toaster oven combo in question, should any of you want one of your own.

Air Fryer Cleaning Instructions

Most air fryers are designed so that the pan and basket are dishwasher safe, though not this particular model. If you do need to wash air fryer parts by hand, you should take a page out of LW’s book and start by soaking them in hot water and a squirt of a grease-cutting dish soap like Dawn or Palmolive before you head into do the scrubbing, because the soak will help to cut through greasy buildup.

After they’ve soaked, you can wash the pan and the basket, but here’s the important part and the thing I think our LW is missing from her routine: Using a non-abrasive scrubbing sponge like a Dobie Pad for this job. “Non-abrasive” is the thing here, and that’s true of cleaning a lot of small appliances beyond just air fryers. Definitely avoid the use of scouring sponges like the green side of our beloved Scotch-Brite Scrub Sponges, steel wool like Brillo or S.O.S pads, and steel wire brushes, which can cause damage to both the interior and exterior finish of many small appliances. Those are all great products that have their place in the kitchen cleaning arsenal, but not when it comes to small appliance care.


When necessary, the exterior and interior of the air fryer, including the heating coil, of the appliance can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

Cleaning the Exterior of Small Appliances

It’s easy to forget that small appliances need to be cleaned from time to time, but they do! Especially if they’re things like toasters and coffee makers that reside on countertops, where they’ll inevitably get splattered and fingerprint-y and covered in a thin patina of that sticky film that loves to build up on kitchen surfaces. Microfiber cloths are especially great for the job of wiping off appliances, because they grab onto dirt and grime a bit better than their cotton counterparts.


For regular cleaning, diluted dish soap or an all-purpose cleaning spray like Mrs. Meyer’s or Formula 409, in conjunction with the microfiber, will be all you need. Magic Erasers are great for addressing staining that can occur over time. And when that sticky buildup occurs, however, a degreaser will be needed; here, I generally like diluted ammonia, but also I know that ammonia scares people so here are some alternatives: CitraSolv, Zep Degreaser and SuperClean are all great products for your degreasing needs.


Which brings us back to the air fryer parts: You all should absolutely take a page from her book and use household cleaners other than just dish soap on really stubborn messes. The two things to bear in mind when doing this are 1. to test products out on an inconspicuous spot to ensure they won’t cause damage and 2. to wash them very, very, very well with hot soapy water to remove the product residue. One of those degreasers, combined with the Dobie, is probably all that’s needed to remove the stickiness from those air fryer parts.

A Note on Instant Pots

Since we’re here talking about air fryers, let’s quickly touch on their trendy appliance counterpart, the Instant Pot. Most Instant Pot parts are dishwasher safe, which makes keeping those appliances clean pretty easy. Which is great, because it’s pretty crucial to wash the lid after every use—yes, every use—to remove food splatters and oily cooking residue. When it comes to the Instant Pot’s nooks and crannies, and this is also true of those air fryer baskets, a non-scratch scrubber sponge like the Dobie is a great option, though an old toothbrush will work just as well, if not better.



Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person

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