Despite hitting the market in the 2000s, air fryers have gained new popularity in the last few years, and now everyone seems to have one. Available in single-serve or family-sized units, they're celebrated for their ability to cook your favorite meals with less oil. Plus, they cost less to run than the oven or stove.
However, they can be a challenge to clean without a handful of tips to ease the process.
First, unplug the air fryer and remove all the components. If you've just finished making your food, wait until the whole unit has cooled down. Gather a few cleaning supplies, like an old toothbrush, a cloth or a sponge, and liquid soap. Remove food residue and grease with a paper towel before properly cleaning the unit.
Some baskets and pans are dishwasher-safe, which could save you a lot of time (always check the manufacturer's manual). However, it's worth noting that dishwashers can break down non-stick coatings. Instead, try to hand wash the unit as regularly as possible. If there is any caked-on food, let it soak before using a cloth or silicone scraper. Steer clear of metal scrubbing tools.
You can clean the heating element if you can dissemble your air fryer. Todo this, turn the air fryer upside down for better accessibility. Start with a soft cloth and warm water, squeezing out as much water from the cloth as possible. The dryer the heating element stays, the better.
Use the soft side of a sponge or an old cloth to wipe down the inside of the air fryer. Most come with a non-stick interior, which a brush or scourer could easily damage. Use a gentle soap rather than harsh cleaning products, which can also affect the surface coating. Another good reason to keep cleaners to a minimum is that if any chemicals remain in the machine , they could end up in your cooked food.
While you can't submerge your whole air fryer, you can use a soft cloth and warm soapy water to clean the outside before wiping with a damp cloth. If the appliance has a glass panel, a simple vinegar spray can help return it to its previous, crystal-clear self. Vinegar spray is a better option than other glass sprays, as it's less dangerous if residue stays in the machine. Buff out any streaks and smears with a clean, dry cloth for a shiny finish across the whole exterior.
As with anything electrical, you must ensure all the components are dry before putting the air fryer back together. The heating element must be completely dry, and all the parts must be adequately reassembled before plugging the unit in. It's best to air dry the basket to avoid towel fibers getting caught in the mesh, which could later burn.
Using your air fryer in small spaces could be dangerous. Without proper ventilation, the unit can quickly overheat and damage the interior components. Excessive heat can lead to overcooked food, or, worse, the unit could emit hazardous fumes from the plastic in the device. Air fryers need good ventilation to help circulate the hot air around the food, which is how they cook.
Some come with an exhaust fan integrated, and some don't. The best way to maintain the ventilation system of your device is to use it near an open window, or use the air fryer near the extractor fan over the stove.
Air fryers are perfect for creating healthier versions of your favorite guilty pleasures, like fries and chicken wings, but grease still builds up on the basket and is hard to remove once stuck on the pan or along the interior edges. Make a baking soda and water paste, grab an old toothbrush, and get scrubbing. Then, rinse the area with hot water.
One of the most common complaints about air fryers is lingering odors, even after a good clean. If you think your unit has a smell, try soaking the food basket in soapy water for 30 to 60 minutes. Then repeat your cleaning process. If that doesn't work, rub half a lemon over the basket and leave it for half an hour before rinsing.
One of the easiest ways to maintain your air fryer is to clean the basket and pan after every use. The other easy option is liners, which keep the pan clean and can be disposed of or rinsed after use. You can get disposable air fryer liners or cut a piece of parchment paper to size. Regularly cleaning the air fryer gives grease less chance to build up, making the next clean-up quick and easy.