The Powerful Ingredient That'll Cut Through Grease When Cleaning Your Air Fryer

Whether you're a passionate chef or an occasional cook, one thing we can all agree on is that cleaning your kitchen isn't exactly fun. In addition to putting ingredients away, wiping down counters, and doing dishes, you should also be cleaning your small kitchen appliances after every use. Yes, that includes your trusty air fryer.

While an air fryer doesn't require oil and doesn't actually fry your food (rather, it cooks it by blowing hot air around the basket), it still needs regular cleaning. Proper maintenance will ensure that your machine works properly and lasts longer. Not to mention, it will help prevent potential incidents, like smoke and fire, which can occur if crumbs or grease are left to build up inside. What's more, putting off the task will only make it more time-consuming. As recipe developer Chelsea Mae Plummer told The Pioneer Woman, "The longer something sticky sits in the air fryer, the harder it is to clean off." The good news is that even the toughest stuck-on grease and baked-on food residue can easily be lifted with one common ingredient that's likely sitting in your pantry right now: baking soda.

Use baking soda to clean stuck-on grease in your air fryer

It may not seem like a big deal, but built-up grease can actually slow down your air fryer and greatly affect its performance. If you notice things are taking longer to cook or aren't coming out as crispy as they should be, it's time to bring out the baking soda. First, remove the basket, tray, or pan from your air fryer. Then, mix half a cup of baking soda with a splash of water to create a thick white paste. Using a soft toothbrush, or a nonabrasive scrub brush, spread the substance inside the air fryer, paying close attention to any stuck-on food or grease. Be sure not to use any metal sponges or cleaning tools, as these can damage the air fryer's nonstick coating. Once you're done spreading the paste around, let it sit for a few minutes. Finally, scrub the dirty areas with the brush, then wipe it away with a wet cloth, followed by a dry cloth.

A complete guide to cleaning your air fryer

While baking soda will cut through grease in a jiffy, you'll likely find that on most occasions, your air fryer only requires a quick clean. After letting the device cool, unplug it and shake out any crumbs from your basket, pan, or tray. Then, wash it with soap and water as you would your dishes, or throw it in the dishwasher if your model's instruction manual allows it. For particularly sticky messes, you can let the basket sit in soapy water for half an hour before using a sponge or soft brush on any leftover residue. Alternatively, chef Sylvia Fountaine also recommends pouring a cup of water into the basket and turning it on high for a few minutes before washing. "You'll find when you open the drawer that a lot of debris and gunk will have effortlessly lifted without any scrubbing or soap," she told The Pioneer Woman. And if you find your appliance is a bit smelly, another great air fryer cleaning trick is to wipe the basket with lemon juice, let it sit for 30 minutes, then wash it with soap.

Once all the parts are completely dry, you can reassemble them inside the air fryer and use a damp cloth to wipe the outside clean.