You've Been Cleaning Your Air Fryer Wrong This Whole Time

So did you finally give in to all the hype — or maybe just couldn't resist that awesome Presidents' Day sale — and scored yourself an air fryer? Congrats — the air fryer may not be the last kitchen appliance you'll ever need, but it can be fun to experiment with as you whip up a variety of fried foods that are not only healthier but less messy without all that oil.

When it comes to cleaning the air fryer, though, do you really know what you're doing here? If you're just plunking the whole thing in the sink, or, worse, the dishwasher... no. Just no. If, on the other hand, you're just letting your dirty air fryer alone, hoping it will somehow manage to "air clean" — yeah, that's not going to happen, either. Failing to clean your air fryer is actually one of the biggest mistakes you can make with this appliance. Don't worry, though — it's actually not that hard to clean an air fryer, once you learn the best method. The following technique comes courtesy of The Kitchn and was tested on two different brands of air fryer, but should work for whatever type you've got, as well.

The proper way to clean an air fryer

First, unplug the air fryer! Water plus electricity = very, very bad. Also, make sure you let it cool before cleaning. Otherwise, you're likely to burn yourself. Give the outside and inside a gentle wipe-down, using a non-abrasive sponge so as not to scratch the unit. Turn it upside-down and sponge off the heating element, as well. If there's any cooked-on food or unidentifiable gunk stuck to either the outside, the inside, or the element, you may use a paste of baking powder and water as a cleaning scrub, but harsher chemicals are not recommended.

The basket and pan — only these parts! — can safely be cleaned in the dishwasher, or by hand in the sink using dish soap and water. If either of these is especially dirty, they can even stand a 10-minute soak in hot water. Once all of the different parts and pieces of your air fryer are clean, you'll need to let them dry before putting the whole thing back together.

There, now your air fryer is all clean and ready to go again. Don't know what to make next? Why not try this yummy air-fryer grilled cheese hack? This alone pretty much justifies whatever you spent on the air fryer, so, you're welcome. Enjoy.