Air fryers are great. They’re easy to use, easy to cook with, and incredibly convenient, but they won’t last forever, not without proper cleaning and maintenance. Keep these guidelines in mind in order to ensure your air fryer remains a useful and productive appliance for years to come.
How to Clean an Air Fryer
Traditionally, deep frying food is very messy. You end up with a lot of dirty pans, grimy utensils, and a greasy coating on everything around the fryer. Air fryers, on the other hand, are relatively clean. The cooking basket is completely enclosed, which eliminates splattering and all the fat, grease, and oil in your food drips down into the oil pan below. This doesn’t mean there’s no need to clean, however. Your air fryer should be cleaned every time you use it.
To clean your air fryer:
- Unplug the air fryer from the wall socket and let it cool down.
- Wipe the outside with a damp cloth.
- Wash the pan, tray, and basket with hot water and dishwashing soap. All the air fryer’s removable components are dishwasher safe, so they can be placed in a dishwasher if you would prefer not to wash them by hand.
- Clean in the inside of the air fryer with hot water and a cloth or sponge.
- If there is any food stuck to the heating element above the food basket, clean it off with a brush.
- Make sure the pan, tray, and basket are completely dry before putting them back into the air fryer.
- Do not use utensils to remove stuck-on food. The components of your air fryer have been lined with a non-stick coating that’s easy to scratch. Always use a non-abrasive sponge to remove any residual foodstuffs stuck to the basket or the drip pan.
- If the food has hardened onto the pan and basket, soak them in hot water and soap. This will soften the food and make it easier to remove.
- If you’re cooking consecutive batches of food, you can wait until the final batch has been completed before cleaning your air fryer.
Properly Storing the Air Fryer
Once your air fryer has been cleaned, make sure you store it safely. Wait at least thirty minutes for it to cool down before putting it away. When you do store it, make sure it’s in an upright position and not plugged into a wall outlet. If there is a storage compartment for the cords, tuck the cords into it before you put the air fryer away.
Air Fryer Maintenance
Beyond regularly cleanings, your air fryer requires some basic maintenance to make sure that it doesn’t get damaged or start functioning incorrectly. This includes:
- Inspecting the cords before each use. Never plug a damaged or frayed cord into an outlet. It can cause serious injury or even death. Make sure the cords are clean and damage-free before using your air fryer.
- Making sure the unit is clean and free of any debris before you start cooking. If it has been a long time since you last used your air fryer, check inside. Some dust may have accumulated. If there is any food residue on the basket for pan, clean it out before you start cooking.
- Make sure the air fryer is placed upright, on a level surface, before you start cooking.
- Make sure the air fryer is not placed close to a wall or another appliance. Air fryers need at least 4 inches of space behind them and 4 inches of space above them in order to adequately vent steam and hot air while cooking. Placing them in an enclosed space may cause the fryer to overheat.
- Visually inspect each component, including the basket, pan and handle prior to each use. If you find any damaged components, contact the manufacturer and get them replaced.
Air Fryer Problems
Though air fryers are built to be durable, they may encounter problems from time to time, like any household appliance. Normally, these problems are small and easily to fix. Some of the most common are:
- A lingering food smell on the air fryer: Foods with pungent smells may leave a lingering order on your air fryer. The best way to eliminate odors is to clean the fryer immediately after you’re done cooking. If the odor is still present even after you’re done cleaning it, soak the pan and the basket in dishwasher soap for 30-60 minutes and clean it again. If soaking doesn’t work, try neutralizing the odor by cutting a lemon in half and rubbing it over the pan and the basket. You can also squirt some lemon juice into the pan or onto a paper towel and wipe down the air fryer with it. Once you’re done, wait thirty minutes and then wash the air fryer again.
- Bubbles or peeling on the inside of the air fryer: Air fryer components are covered with a non-stick coating. If you accidentally scratch the pan with a utensil or by incorrectly placing the basket into the air fryer, the heat from cooking may cause bubbling to occur. Fortunately, the non-stick coating isn’t harmful and doesn’t pose a health risk, so it won’t poison your food even if a few scraps get lose in it. If bubbles occur in the lining, you should contact customer service and see if you qualify for a warranty replacement.
- Difficulty sliding the pan into the air fryer. This normally occurs when too much food has been put into the basket. Try removing some of the food and cooking your meal in two batches. Check the food basket as well. It may not have been attached properly to the pan. Lift the basket out of the pan and insert it again. Make sure it clicks. That’s how you know it’s in.
- White smoke coming out of the cooking pan: Smoke is caused when too much grease collects in the bottom of the drip pan and starts to break down due to the heat while you’re cooking. This may occur if you didn’t clean the pan out after the last time you cooked in it or if you’re cooking particularly greasy food like sausage or bacon. Fortunately, the smoke won’t cause any damage. Just unplug the unit, let it cool, and clean out the grease.
- Improperly cooked food: If your food is undercooked, the problem may be that you have simply put too much food in the cooking basket. The heat from the coil is getting absorbed by the food in the top layer instead of percolating down to the bottom layers. Try cooking a smaller batch or shaking the basket halfway through cooking. This allows for better circulation and makes sure the heat is distributed evenly over your food.
- Air fryer won’t start: Before you call the manufacturer or a repair service, check to make sure the air fryer is plugged into an electrical outlet, that the outlet works, and that the electrical cord isn’t damage. If the components are clean and in good working order, then the problem is most likely mechanical. Your manufacturer will be able to set up a repair or direct you to a qualified repair service.
Keeping Your Air Fryer in Optimum Working Condition
If properly cleaned, stored, and maintained, an air fryer can last for years without breaking down or giving you any problems. The most important things to remember are:
- Carefully read the owner’s manual before you set up and cook with your air fryer.
- Always cook food according to the specifications in the user manual. Don’t add large amounts of liquid or oil, don’t cook any food not recommended by the manufacturer, and always follow the recipe closely.
- Clean the air fryer after each use. All of the components should be washed thoroughly, without abrasive tools.
- Visually inspect the air fryer prior to use. Make sure the cords, removable parts, and housing are all in good condition.
- Always store the air fryer in an upright, stable position, and never store it when it’s hot or plugged into the wall.
Hot air fryers are easy to use, clean, and maintain. With just a quick scrub, a little care, and proper storage, they’ll continue providing convenient, healthy, and hassle-free meals for as long as you need them to.