The Right Way to Clean an Air Fryer

The Right Way to Clean an Air Fryer

If you want to know how to clean an air fryer, don’t look to TikTok. You can look there for other hacks, sure, but for sprucing up the air fryer, you need better sourcing. The information on the video-sharing app is pretty misguided and you’ll regret attempting it, but if you follow the tried-and-true methods outlined below, you’ll be back to cooking up tasty treats in a clean, not-ruined air fryer in no time.

First, what’s the TikTok air-fryer cleaning hack?

Before we go over how to clean your air fryer, we should go over how not to do it, since it’s actually pretty instructive about how your machine even works. The aforementioned bad hack has all the winning qualities you’re looking for in quick-cleaning tips and is wildly touted all over TikTok as a result: It promises (and technically delivers) a squeaky-clean air fryer in under three minutes, plus it looks satisfying enough to film. You’re supposed to fill your fryer’s drawer with water and soap, put it back in the device, and turn the temp on high for three minutes. When you dump out the hot water, it leaves a sparkling clean interior behind. The videos are all over the app.

What’s the issue with that air fryer cleaning method?

Commenters on these videos point out the obvious: It’s pretty dangerous to fill up your electric device with water. The air fryer can stand a little oil inside, but isn’t designed to be filled with liquid. Users point out in the comments that the instructions on their personal devices warned them specifically not to do this, in fact. Others point out it has the potential to damage the device if water gets too deep in the interior, while some even say doing this has damaged their fryer.

How to really clean an air fryer

The best cleaning method (and the one that doesn’t come with the potential to destroy your expensive machine) is a little more laborious, but worth it:

  • Remove the drawer and basket, then wash both in the sink with warm water and soap with a sponge or soft cloth that won’t damage the nonstick interior.
  • Use fingernails or a paper towel to remove any particularly sticky food mess left behind.
  • Dry them thoroughly before reinserting them.

You don’t need to clean the interior of the device very often, but when you do go for it periodically, unplug it first and clean it with a soft sponge or damp cloth and warm, soapy water. Don’t do this when the element is hot, and don’t plug it back in until you’ve thoroughly dried everything inside. This method may not be glamorous—and you won’t be particularly inclined to film it—but this is the easiest, safest way to clean your air fryer. Get those TikTok views another way.

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