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How to clean an air fryer: Tips to remove baked-on grease and residue


Cooking with an air fryer is all fun and easy but it will leave baked-on grease, sticky residue, and stuck on food if not properly cleaned and maintained.

© grandbrothers / 123RF

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How an air fryer works is game-changing for anyone who likes fried food. With little to no oil, you get to enjoy chicken wings, french fries, onion rings, and spring rolls with perfect crisp and crunch. But once you’re done cooking, it’s important to clean it up and wipe off the grease after each use. Thankfully, each accessory and element is easy to clean with simple DIY solutions. 

If you’re a pro air fryer user, you must be familiar with the pros and cons of air fryers, and all the top brands out there.  This time around, we’ll show you how to clean your air fryer so it’s spotless and odourless.

Do you have to clean the air fryer after every use

Yes, you need to clean the air fryer after every use. Wash the frying basket and tray using dishwashing detergent and water to get rid of oil and grease. Be sure not to use sharp objects when you’re cleaning them.

How to clean air fryer before first use

If you are an air fryer newbie, here’s what you need to do before you use your air fryer for the first time.

  1. Remove all packaging, stickers, and labels
  2. Clean the air fryer basket, tray, and pan using soap and water
  3. Dry the accessories (basket, tray, and pan) with a moist cloth

 Now, you’re good to go!

READ: 8 best air fryers in Malaysia for healthier meals and convenience

Clean air fryer with vinegar and baking soda

Clean air fryer with vinegar and baking soda
© Lily Oh/ 123RF

You don’t want to leave any residue or baked-on grease on your air fryer as it will burn and affect the taste of your next meal. Not just that, it’s really unhygienic when it’s all sticky and greasy!

1. How to clean air fryer with vinegar

You can clean the inside of an air fryer using a water and vinegar solution. Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1: Mix 1 cup of water and ⅓ cup of vinegar
  • Step 2: Add the solution into a spray bottle to create an air fryer cleaning spray, and you can spray it all over the area that needs to be cleaned. 

Also, you can add one part of vinegar into a water-filled sink and submerge the air fryer basket. Let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes. 

2. How to clean air fryer with baking soda

Baking soda to the rescue! This is how you deep clean an air fryer and remove odour.

  • Step 1: Mix baking soda and water to form a paste
  • Step 2: Use a soft bristle scrub brush to thoroughly scrub the interior of your air fryer. 

Never use sharp objects or metal utensils to remove food crumbs or baked-on grease from the surface as you may damage the non-stick coating. 

How do you remove sticky grease from an air fryer basket 

How do you remove sticky oil from air fryer
© Olga Yastremska/ 123RF

Soak it in hot water and soap and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Now, you can remove the melted grease with a soft scrub brush. 

If that doesn’t work, you can use lemon, baking soda, and vinegar to melt the grease and oil. Let us show you how:

  • Step 1: Coat the air fryer basket with a dishwashing detergent
  • Step 2: Dust and coat the whole basket with baking soda. 
  • Step 3: Put the basket back into the fryer pan. Add baking soda to the air fryer pan as well.
  • Step 4: Add about ¾ vinegar into the pan
  • Step 5: Boil water with a lemon cut in half
  • Step 6: Add the boiling lemon water into the pan and let it sit overnight 

How to clean air fryer heating element

How to clean air fryer heating element
© grandbrothers/ 123RF

Before starting to clean your air fryer heating element, make sure that the appliance is unplugged and isn’t hot. Then you can follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Remove the air fryer basket and pan
  • Step 2: Put the air fryer upside down so it’s easier for you to reach the heating element
  • Step 3: Clean the inside of the appliance using a soft sponge with hot water. Removed food residue stuck to the heating element using a soft or medium bristle brush. Do not use sharp objects, steel wire brush, or hard bristle brush as this might damage the coating of the heating element.
  • Step 4: After that, put it back in the upright position, switch it on and let it run for a couple of minutes (without any food in it).

Note: Philips Air Fryer pan and basket are dishwasher-proof. 

BONUS: Air fryer cleaning hacks

Here are two easy tips you can try to make cleaning up easier:

  1. Line the basket with air fryer parchment paper to slash down the time it takes for cleaning it up. 
  2. Can aluminium foil be used in air fryers? The answer is YES, as long as you don’t cover the food while cooking to ensure more airflow. 

READ: Professional house cleaning services in Malaysia

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