Once you get the hang of air frying, you’ll be using your machine all the time.
But no matter how often you make dinner with it, you should clean it after each use.
So many reasons!
If you don’t clean it regularly, grease and little bits of food will build up in your appliance and this is not good because:
- It’s unhygienic and a health risk – stray bits of breadcrumbs which have fallen off of a croquette will rot in time and that thin layer of oil coating the walls of the device will gradually turn rancid. A dirty air fryer is a breeding ground for bacteria which could make you ill. And didn’t you buy an air fryer for its health benefits?!
It’ll also affect the taste of your food if it is left for too long.
- It’ll smoke – if you spend any time on online forums you’ll see that one of the biggest complaints concerning air fryers is that they create a lot of smoke. Well, they shouldn’t if they are kept nice and clean. Generally, if you are being driven from your kitchen by smoke, your device needs to be cleaned more thoroughly.
- It won’t work efficiently – a clean air fryer will work far better than a dirty (or even slightly neglected) one. If all the parts from the heating element through to the walls of the cooking chamber are as pristine as the day they came out of the factory, the chances are that your appliance will work to the specifications on the label. It’s really that simple.
Top Cleaning Hack
Air fryer liners or parchment sheets are a fabulous invention.
No. You don’t have to buy them. They don’t affect how your air fryer operates. And you may feel that they are an unnecessary expense or that they aren’t worth their environmental footprint when soap and water will do just as well. But boy, they save hours in cleaning time over the long run!
Air fryer parchment liners are simply a piece of parchment paper cut to the size of your fry basket (there are a number of sizes on the market, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the correct dimensions for your appliance). Check out this link to find the right size for your air fryer.
So if that’s all they are, why can’t I just cut my own liner from a roll of regular baking parchment? Because the liners are perforated with lots of tiny holes. Why? So that the air that makes the air frying possible can circulate all around the food. Clever, hey?
The liners won’t affect the taste of anything that you cook in your device, but they will make the post-cooking cleaning process far easier and quicker. And if you are planning to cook something that you know tends to leave lots of annoying bits of batter or crumb caught in the mesh of your fry basket, parchment liners may just prove to be your new best friend.
If you’d like to know more about air fryer accessories that will save on your cleaning time, you can read more here.
A Clean Air Fryer in 5 Steps
- Unplug your air fryer.
Obvious maybe, but very important. Unplug your machine and then leave it for 20-30 minutes until it has completely cooled down.
- Clean the heating element.
Check for little bits of food stuck on the heating element. You can brush them off with a soft-bristle brush that doesn’t scratch the element, or wipe them off with a damp cloth. I recommend wiping it even if the element looks clean as a film of grease is hard to see, but it doesn’t take much of it to make a fryer smoke.
- Wash the basket, pan and tray.
The removable parts of an air fryer are dishwasher safe. However, a dishwasher does more damage to the non-stick coating on these parts than hand washing will. Yep, it’s a drag, but hand washing the basket etc will mean that they last longer. Simply clean them with soap, warm water and a soft cloth – just like any other dish or baking tray.
- Clean the inside of the air fryer.
If you’ve bought some air fryer liners, this bit is easy. Just take the old liner out and throw it away. Then give the walls of the cooking chamber a quick wipe down with a damp cloth.
If you don’t use air fryer liners, first you should get rid of any loose bits of food residue. Once that is done, you may need to get your soft-bristled brush out again and use it to remove any baked-on food remains. Then it’s back to the damp cloth for a wipe down.
- Clean the outside of your machine.
This means a swift wipe all over with your trusty damp cloth. Don’t forget to do this as your air fryer will probably be sitting on your countertop day after day, attracting dust, your fingerprints and tiny fragments of food from other things that you cook. A regular wipe down is good practice for general food hygiene.
Some Quick Extra Tips:
- Do not use a knife or fork to scrape stuck on food from parts of your air fryer.
Various parts of your appliance will have been covered in a non-stick coating and you risk scratching it off if you’re not gentle with it.
- Any food that sticks to the basket, pan or tray can be soaked off in warm soapy water.
- You don’t have to clean your air fryer between batches of cooking.
However, if you are making something very messy – say lots of breadcrumbs fall off of your crumbed chicken drumsticks – you might want to wipe out the tray and basket between loads.
- If you notice an unpleasant smell coming from your air fryer then you probably have tiny bits of food stuck somewhere inside it.
Combine a couple of teaspoons of baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda) and some water to make a paste and then use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the inside of your air fryer. That should do deep clean it whilst eliminating any lingering bad smells.
In fact, bicarbonate of soda has dozens of possible cleaning uses around the home, if you are interested in learning about this, you can read more here.
- A soft toothbrush is a great, cheap cleaning tool for scrubbing bits of batter from frying baskets and the interiors of cooking chambers
Just remember that if you look after your air fryer from day one you should get years of healthy and convenient cooking out of it.