3 Tips to Prevent a Grease Smell from Your Air Fryer

3 Tips to Prevent a Grease Smell from Your Air Fryer

The aroma of your food cooking should be pleasant, but sometimes it isn’t. With that in mind, we have several tips to help prevent a funky grease smell coming from your air fryer.

This is very common, but it’s also very easy to fix — better yet, it’s very preventable.

The most common reason why an air fryer smells like grease is because of a buildup of oil residue or food particles. Keeping your air fryer clean will stop this from happening in the first place, and a deep clean will help to remove an odor that has already formed.

Let’s find out how.

What You’ll Need

  • Warm soapy water
  • Soft cloth or soft brush
  • Nonabrasive sponge
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon
  • Dish soap

How to Prevent a Grease Smell in Your Air Fryer, Step-By-Step

How to Clean a Smelly Air Fryer

First of all, let’s discuss the steps to take to avoid ever having to deal with a stinky air fryer. A stinky air fryer can smell up your whole kitchen, or even your whole home.

A clean air fryer has a longer lifespan, will cook your food better, and shouldn’t release any stinky smell. So it’s beneficial in many ways to keep to a regular cleaning schedule, as this will prevent a buildup of grease and other residue.

A good schedule is to clean it after every two or three uses. So, for example, if you use it every day of the week, you would need to clean it two or three times a week.

Here are the steps.

Step 1: Remove Accumulated Residue

Begin by using a soft cloth or paper towel to gently rub off any stubborn grease and food particles from the bottom of the baskets.

Step 2: Clean the Tray/Rack

Use the same method you used for the baskets to clean the grill tray. Be cautious when dealing with nonstick coatings to avoid scratching or damaging the surface. Soft brushes can be used to reach any tricky to get to areas.

Step 3: Soak and Cleanse with Soap and Water

After removing most of the residue, soak your basket in warm, soapy water. Then use a soft sponge, brush, or cloth to thoroughly clean the interior of the basket and tray. Make sure you don’t use anything that’s abrasive.

Step 4: Allow It to Dry

Allow the basket and tray to air dry on the counter while you proceed to the next step.

Step 5: Eliminate interior grease Buildup

Since your air fryer is essentially a convection oven, air is always circulating during cooking, so grease and food particles can accumulate on the interior walls and heating element. Use a damp sponge or dishcloth with a small amount of dish soap to scrub the interior of your air fryer.

Step 6: Rinse and Dry

Once all the grease has been removed, rinse the interior of the unit to eliminate any remaining soap residue. Wipe it dry with a clean cloth.

Step 7: Wipe off the Heating Element

Turn your air fryer upside down and use a damp sponge or cloth, without using any soap, to clean the heating element. Make sure you thoroughly dry it off or it could begin to rust.

Step 8: Reassemble

Once all the interior components are dry, reassemble your air fryer. Give the exterior a wipe-down to restore it to its fresh out-of-the-box appearance.

What to Do If Your Air Fryer Already Smells Stinky

Perhaps you’re just learning all this fun stuff about keeping your air fryer clean and unfortunately, the smell of grease is already making you nauseous. If you’ve tried doing the basic cleaning mentioned above and still haven’t been able to get rid of the greasy smell, you may need to bring in the big guns.

Step 1: Use Baking Soda and Vinegar 

Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking Soda and Vinegar

Mix together about half a cup of baking soda and a little bit of water to make a thick paste. Then put a thick layer of paste over the residue and grease and let it sit for several minutes. Once the mixture has had a chance to eat through the grease, use a soft brush to scrub it away.

Once you’ve done that, wipe everything down with a wet cloth and then allow it to dry thoroughly.

Step 2: Lemon

Lemon not only serves as an excellent degreaser, but it also works effectively as a deodorizer. You could try using this instead of the baking soda mixture above or try both of these methods if you need to.

Place around half a cup of white vinegar and a few tablespoons of lemon juice in an oven-safe dish or measuring cup. Set your air fryer to 400°F and let it run for approximately 10 minutes. This not only eliminates any unpleasant odors from your air fryer but may also help melt away interior grease buildup.

The best way to prevent the smell of grease coming from your air fryer is to keep it clean. Grease can build up very quickly inside, and if it goes rancid it will stink up your home when you use your air fryer.


To recap, the best steps to prevention are:

  • Clean off any baked-on residue from the basket
  • Clean the grill trays
  • Soak and wash the baskets and trays with warm soapy water
  • Let everything air dry or completely wipe dry
  • Remove any interior grease buildup
  • Rinse and dry
  • Clean the heating element — and be sure to dry it
  • Reassemble and clean the exterior

And if you already have a buildup of grease that smells, the best ways to deal with that are:

  • A water and baking soda paste
  • Lemon and vinegar mixture

Hopefully, these tips have got your air fryer and your kitchen smelling fine again — perhaps like lemon.

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