Can You Put Water in an Air Fryer to Clean?

Can You Put Water in an Air Fryer to Clean? Like any kitchen appliance, it’s essential to keep your air fryer clean for optimal performance and longevity. In this article, we will explore the best practices for cleaning an air fryer.

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Can You Put Water in an Air Fryer to Clean?

Yes, you can use water to clean an air fryer, but the process is specific. Firstly, unplug the air fryer and let it cool down completely. Next, remove the basket, pan, and tray for separate cleaning. These parts can usually be washed with warm, soapy water or put in the dishwasher if they’re dishwasher safe.

To clean the main unit, use a damp cloth; never submerge it in water because that could damage the electrical components. Do not pour water directly into the air fryer, as this can lead to damage or electric shock.

For stuck-on food, create a paste of baking soda and water and gently scrub it off. Always dry all components thoroughly before reassembling to prevent moisture build-up, which can cause mold or electrical issues.

Air Fryer Cleaning Basics

Recommended cleaning frequency

To keep your air fryer in top condition, it is generally recommended to clean it after every use. This regular maintenance prevents the buildup of residue and ensures the best cooking results. However, if you use your air fryer less frequently, a weekly cleaning routine should be sufficient.

Importance of unplugging the air fryer before cleaning

Safety should always be a priority when cleaning any electrical appliance, including air fryers. Before starting the cleaning process, make sure to unplug the air fryer from the power source to avoid any potential accidents.

General cleaning steps

Follow these steps to clean your air fryer effectively:

  1. Allow the air fryer to cool down completely before cleaning.
  2. Remove the frying basket and any accessories.
  3. Wash the frying basket and accessories with warm, soapy water. Use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to remove any food residue.
  4. Wipe the interior and exterior of the air fryer with a damp cloth or sponge. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals that could damage the appliance.
  5. Dry all components thoroughly before reassembling the air fryer.

Materials required for cleaning an air fryer

To clean your air fryer, gather the following materials:

  • Warm, soapy water
  • Non-abrasive sponge or cloth
  • Dishwashing liquid or mild detergent
  • Soft-bristle brush (optional, for hard-to-reach areas)

The Role of Water in Cleaning

Can water be used to clean an air fryer?

Yes, water can be used to clean certain parts of an air fryer. However, it’s important to understand where and how to use water without causing damage. The heating element and the control panel should never come into contact with water as they are electrical components.

Risks of using excessive water

Excessive water inside the air fryer can be detrimental to its functionality. If water seeps into the electrical components or accumulates in areas where it should not, it can lead to short circuits, malfunctions, or even render the air fryer unusable. Therefore, it’s crucial to exercise caution and avoid using excessive water during the cleaning process.

Areas where water can be used for cleaning

While the heating element and control panel should not be exposed to water, the following areas can be cleaned using water:

Cleaning the exterior

The exterior of the air fryer, including the outer surface, handle, and control panel (if it’s detachable), can be wiped with a damp cloth or sponge. Ensure the cloth or sponge is not soaking wet to prevent water from seeping into the appliance.

Cleaning the frying basket

The frying basket is typically dishwasher-safe, which means it can be submerged in water or placed in a dishwasher for cleaning. However, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm if your specific air fryer model allows dishwasher cleaning.

Cleaning the accessories

Additional accessories such as racks, skewers, or baking pans that are compatible with your air fryer can also be cleaned with water and mild detergent. Again, check the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure the accessories are dishwasher-safe or need hand washing.

Precautions to take when using water for cleaning

When using water for cleaning, follow these precautions to prevent any damage to your air fryer:

  • Do not submerge the entire air fryer in water.
  • Do not pour water directly onto the heating element or control panel.
  • Use a damp cloth or sponge for wiping instead of soaking the appliance.

Alternative Cleaning Methods

Using vinegar for cleaning

Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that can help remove stubborn stains or grease from your air fryer. Dilute white vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio, soak a cloth or sponge in the solution, and gently scrub the affected areas. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry before using the air fryer.

Lemon juice as a cleaning agent

Lemon juice, like vinegar, is an effective natural cleaner. Its acidic properties help break down grease and remove odors. Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a bowl, dip a cloth or sponge into the juice, and use it to wipe the interior and exterior surfaces of the air fryer. Rinse with water and dry before use.

Baking soda for tough stains

Baking soda is a versatile cleaning agent that can tackle tough stains or burnt-on residue in your air fryer. Create a paste by mixing baking soda with water and apply it to the affected areas. Let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub gently with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth. Rinse thoroughly and dry before using the air fryer.

Commercial air fryer cleaning products

Several manufacturers offer specialized cleaning products designed specifically for air fryers. These products are formulated to remove grease, stains, and odors effectively. Follow the instructions provided with the product for the best results.

Is it Safe to Put Water in an Air Fryer for Cleaning?

Yes, it is indeed safe to put water in an air fryer for cleaning purposes. However, it’s important to understand the correct way to do it.

Important Steps in Cleaning an Air Fryer

  1. Unplug the Air Fryer: This is a crucial step to ensure your safety. After using the air fryer, give it some time to cool down before unplugging it.
  2. Remove the Basket and Pan: After unplugging, remove the basket and the pan.
  3. Cleaning with Water: Now, you can clean the interior of the air fryer with warm water. But never immerse the entire unit in water or let water get into the heating element or fan vent. It’s advisable to use a damp sponge or cloth for this purpose.

Special Note on Stubborn Residue

If there’s stubborn food residue, soak the basket and pan in warm water and dish soap to soften the residue before scrubbing.

Can Water Damage the Heating Elements or Electrical Components of an Air Fryer?

Yes, water can potentially damage the heating elements or electrical components of an air fryer if not used appropriately for cleaning. Avoid submerging your air fryer in water or spraying water directly into the machine. This could lead to electrical damage, malfunctions, or even safety hazards such as electrical shocks.

How to Clean the Heating Elements

You can clean the heating element of your air fryer by first ensuring the appliance is unplugged and cooled. Then use a dry brush to brush off any food particles stuck to the element. If necessary, a slightly damp cloth can be used to wipe the element, but it should be thoroughly dried afterwards.

Are There Alternative Methods to Clean an Air Fryer Without Using Water?

While water is the most common way to clean an air fryer, there are other methods. Vinegar is a great alternative.

Cleaning with Vinegar

  1. Mix equal parts vinegar and water: This solution can be used to clean the interior and exterior of your air fryer.
  2. Spray or apply the mixture: With a spray bottle or cloth, apply this mixture to your air fryer.
  3. Wipe down: With a soft, clean cloth, wipe down the air fryer to ensure it’s clean.
  4. Dry thoroughly: Make sure your air fryer is thoroughly dried before using it again.

How Should the Basket and Accessories of an Air Fryer be Cleaned?

The basket and accessories of an air fryer can be cleaned with warm soapy water.

Here’s a step-by-step process:

  1. Remove the accessories: Take out the basket, pan, and any other removable parts.
  2. Soak in warm soapy water: Soak these parts in warm soapy water for about 15-20 minutes to soften any food residue.
  3. Scrub off residue: With a non-abrasive brush or sponge, scrub off the residue.
  4. Rinse and dry: Rinse the parts in clean water and dry thoroughly before placing them back into the air fryer.

Are There Any Specific Cleaning Products That Are Safe to Use with an Air Fryer?

While dish soap and water usually work perfectly well, there are a few products designed specifically for air fryer cleaning.

Specialized Air Fryer Cleaners

Companies like PowerXL produce cleaning solutions made to degrease and clean air fryers. These are generally safe to use but always follow the instructions on the product label.

Dish Soap and Baking Soda

Alternatively, for a more heavy-duty clean, you can use a mixture of dish soap and baking soda. This combination works as a gentle abrasive that can help scrub away stubborn food particles without scratching the air fryer’s surfaces.

Regardless of the method or products you use, always ensure to rinse off all cleaning product residues and dry your air fryer thoroughly before your next cooking session to avoid any risk of damage or unwanted tastes in your food.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I submerge the air fryer in water for cleaning?

No, submerging the entire air fryer in water is not recommended. Only certain parts, such as the frying basket and accessories, are safe to be submerged in water or cleaned in a dishwasher.

Is it safe to use soap or detergent for cleaning?

Yes, it is safe to use mild soap or dishwashing detergent to clean the removable parts of the air fryer. However, avoid using abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals that could damage the appliance.

Can I use a dishwasher to clean the air fryer accessories?

In most cases, air fryer accessories such as the frying basket, racks, and pans are dishwasher-safe. However, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidelines on cleaning and dishwasher compatibility.

How often should I clean the air fryer?

To maintain optimal performance and hygiene, it is recommended to clean your air fryer after every use. Regular cleaning prevents the buildup of residue and ensures consistent cooking results.

Can I clean the heating element with water?

No, the heating element should never come into contact with water or any liquid. Cleaning the heating element should be limited to wiping it gently with a dry cloth or brush to remove any loose debris.

Are there any specific cleaning instructions for non-stick air fryer baskets?

Non-stick air fryer baskets should be cleaned with caution to avoid damaging the coating. Use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth and mild detergent to clean the basket gently. Avoid using sharp utensils or abrasive materials that can scratch or remove the non-stick coating.

Is it necessary to clean the air fryer after every use?

Yes, cleaning the air fryer after each use is essential to maintain its performance and prevent the transfer of flavors between different dishes. It also ensures that your air fryer remains in good condition for long-term use.

How can I remove stubborn grease stains from the air fryer?

Stubborn grease stains can be challenging to remove, but you can try using natural cleaners like vinegar or baking soda. Alternatively, commercial air fryer cleaning products specifically designed for grease removal can also be effective. Apply the chosen cleaner, let it sit for a few minutes, then gently scrub the stains with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth.


In conclusion, keeping your air fryer clean is essential for maintaining its performance and extending its lifespan. While water can be used for cleaning certain parts of the air fryer, it’s crucial to avoid excessive water and always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Regular cleaning, using alternative cleaning methods when necessary, and following proper precautions will ensure that your air fryer remains in excellent condition, allowing you to enjoy delicious and healthy meals for years to come.

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