8 Simple Steps to Clean an Air Fryer Without Hassle

Simple Steps to Clean an Air Fryer Without Hassle

If you’ve ever had an oven that isn’t self-cleaning—and actually cleaned it—you know it’s not a fun chore. The good news is that it’s just simple steps to clean an air fryer. It’s nowhere near the ugly job of oven cleaning. 

Cleaning your air fryer is simplified if you clean it after ever use. Clean the basket and trays with warm soapy water, letting them soak if necessary. While they’re drying, check the heating element for residue and splatter and clean that too. Then wipe down the exterior and put it all back together. 

Let’s dive a bit deeper into that!

What You’ll Need

  • A sink of warm soapy water
  • Soft cloth or brush 
  • Sponge 
  • Paper towel 
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar 
  • Fresh lemon or ReaLemon 

Cleaning Your Air Fryer Step-by-Step

How to Clean Your Air Fryer 

Before you do anything, you should make sure your air fryer is unplugged and cooled down. However, if you have a basket or tray that you think may be extra hard to clean, you can put it in water right away—don’t wait more than 20 or 30 minutes before soaking it. 

#1 Clean off Residue 

The bottom of your baskets may be clumped up with grease and food particles. It’s a good idea to attack this first by rubbing as much as possible off with a soft cloth or paper towel.

#2 Clean the Grill Trays 

Treat your grill trays to the same process you used above with the basket. However, if your trays are coated with a nonstick coating, be sure to be extra careful. You don’t want to scratch or damage the surface, so be sure to use care when trying to remove excess residue.

Never use anything like steel wool — just stick to soft brushes to get into nooks and crannies to clean out the tray and basket.

#3 Soak and Clean with Warm Soapy Water

Now that most of the residue has been removed, soak your basket with warm soapy water, and use a soft sponge, brush, or cloth to completely clean the interior of the basket and the tray.

#4 Let Everything Dry

Leave your basket and tray out on the counter to air dry while you move onto the next step.

#5 Remove Interior Grease Buildup 

Since your air fryer is essentially a convection oven air is circulating at high speed throughout the interior of your unit while your food is cooking. This means bits of food and grease are flying around and will land on the interior walls of the unit as well as on the heating element.

Using a damp sponge or dishcloth, add a little dish soap and begin to scrub down the interior of your air fryer.

#6 Rinse and Dry 

Now that you’ve removed all the grease, you want to rinse away any soap residue from the interior of the unit and then wipe it dry.

#7 Clean the Heating Element

Turn your air fryer upside down and use a damp sponge or cloth — without any soap — to clean off the heating element.

Once the element is clean, be sure to wipe it dry completely. You don’t want your heating element to rust.

#8 Reassemble

Once you’ve confirmed that the interior components are dry, you can reassemble your air fryer. Now it’s time to wipe down the exterior leaving it clean, sparkling, and ready for your next meal.

Some Additional Tips

Typically, it’s best if you do a thorough cleaning regularly. That doesn’t mean you need to go through the process above every time you cook, it’s just that you don’t want to wait too long between uses to do a full cleaning.

The advantage of doing this is that it makes it much easier to keep your air fryer clean.

Use Baking Soda 

cleaning kit consisting of baking soda vinegar lemon a brush and a spray bottle
Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you’ve cooked something particularly greasy or if it’s been quite a while since you’ve cleaned and there’s a significant buildup of grease and baked on food, you may need to work a little harder.

If that’s the case, mix together about half a cup of baking soda and a little bit of water to make a thick paste. Then use the paste to cover the residue and let it sit for several minutes. Once it’s had a chance to cut through the grease, use a soft brush to scrub it away.

Finally, wipe everything down with a wet cloth and then allow it to dry thoroughly.


Lemon extract inside a bottle
Lemon Is a Cleaner and Deodorizer

Not only is lemon a great degreaser, it’s also an effective deodorizer.

Put about half a cup of white vinegar and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice in an oven safe dish or measuring cup. Set your air fryer to 400°F and let it run for about 10 minutes. Not only will this remove any stinky smells from your air fryer, if you do this before cleaning, it may make the process of removing grease easier.


Keeping your air fryer clean really isn’t that difficult, and it’s even easier if you maintain a regular schedule of cleaning. Whether you do that after every use or every few weeks, just make sure you do it regularly.

To recap, here are the steps to follow:

  • Clean off any excess residue on the baskets and trays
  • Soak and wash the baskets and trays in warm soapy water
  • Let everything dry
  • Remove any interior grease buildup
  • Rinse and dry
  • Clean the heating element
  • Reassemble and wipe down the exterior

And for a particularly dirty air fryer, we added some extra tips of using baking soda and vinegar, or lemon.

Hopefully these tips will help you to clean and maintain your air fryer. While you’re here, why not check out some of our related posts below? Perhaps we can help you with something else.

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more