Do you need to clean your air fryer? Before buying one, here's what you need to know

Does one of your loved ones have a prized air fryer at the top of their wish list? Or is 2023 the year you finally cave in and join the bandwagon yourself?

Just make sure once you buy one, you know how to take care of it, which includes actually cleaning it after using it.

In a Facebook post from media company LADBible, they asked followers how often do they clean their air fryers. This seemingly harmless question generated a variety of responses, from "every day regardless of use" to "I have to clean it?"

"You have to wash them? I’ve had mine 18 months," one commenter replied, earning several reactions and comments back. Another commenter chimed in with, "I keep mine seasoned and that doesn't include soap or water."

As for the other end of the spectrum, one person said "I just assumed that it has to be clean every time. I mean I would not use a dirty pan."

Some dismissed the question together, with one person joking, "I’m tired of Big Grill and their propaganda campaign against air fryers."

Fire warning: Secura issues recall on air fryers after reports of products catching fire

So what is and what can you cook in an air fryer?

Make meal prep easier with this compact Ninja air fryer on sale now at Amazon.
Make meal prep easier with this compact Ninja air fryer on sale now at Amazon.

According to U.S. News, an air fryer is a countertop cooking appliance that combines a heating element and a powerful fan to circulate hot air, similar to a convection oven. They produce foods that are crispy outside and moist and tender inside without actual frying.

You can cook potatoes, vegetables and meat in an air fryer, as well as baked goods like muffins, scones, and cakes. It's also great for getting dinner on the table fast by heating up frozen foods items.

Due to the smaller cooking chamber and intense heat blowing into food, air fryers generally cook foods much faster than a traditional gas or electric stove.

Are you supposed to clean your air fryer?

Yes, you actually do have to clean it. It is recommended by most brands, such as Ninja, Cuisinart, and Phillips, to clean the basket of your air fryer after every use, so that dirt and grime doesn't become baked on.

What happens if you don't clean an air fryer?

A dirty air fryer has major drawbacks. such as:

  • Increased chance of cross-contamination and food-borne illness

  • Increased time to heat up and more energy consumption.

  • Increased difficulty cleaning burned-on food the longer it stays on the air fryer.

How do you clean and get grease out of an air fryer basket?

Culinary magazine Food & Wine writer Nick DeSimone offered these tips and tricks from experts on their website, writing:

  1. Turn off your air fryer. Unplug it and allow it cool.

  2. Remove any grates or baskets. Handwash each piece with the soft side of a sponge and hot, soapy water.

  3. To clean the drawer or basket, start by knocking out loose crumbs and oil. Quickly wipe it with a paper towel to grab any last bits. Then, use the same method as cleaning the inserts. For tougher messes, Beatrice Flores, a cleaning expert at Living Pristine, a blog dedicated to home cleaning tips, suggests, “If there is caked-on residue, fill the basket halfway with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap to it. Let this sit for 10 minutes before gently scrubbing with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth until all the build-ups are removed.”

  4. Wipe all components dry with a clean towel and let air dry on the counter.

  5. To clean the inside of an air fryer, start by knocking any crumbs out and wiping up any visible oil. Then, gently wipe out the interior, including the coil, using a towel and warm water. Depending on the soil level, repeat this step with warm soapy water to dissolve any cooked-on grease.

  6. Finally, keep the exterior clean by quickly wiping it down after every few uses to avoid an eventual deep clean. To do so, use a kitchen towel or rag with warm water, followed by a dry towel. For grease or tougher messes, use a few drops of dish soap with warm water, and wipe clean.

Can you put aluminum foil liners in an air fryer?

Aluminum foil is safe to use in an air fryer so long as you:

  • Never let foil touch the heating element

  • Make sure the foil is weighted so it doesn't blow around the basket

  • Avoid contact with acidic ingredients, which can cause the foil to leach onto your food

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Air fryer debate on Facebook centers on, should you clean them?