How to clean a Ninja air fryer to make it look and work like new

Ninja confirms how to keep their air fryers in tip-top condition

black air fryer in kitchen with food on kitchen island
(Image credit: Ninja)

It's no secret that we're rather partial to an air fryer over here at Ideal Home, so of course knowing how to clean a Ninja air fryer is one of the most frequently asked questions among the team.

To ensure our favourite appliance keeps looking fresh and working like a dream, we've complied the ultimate how-to guide, with even a Ninja-approved handy video, too. 

These tips will not only help to improve the lifespan of your favourite Ninja appliance (and pick of the best air fryers) but will mean there's less need to go crazy on the deep cleaning in the long term like you usually have to with your oven. So get ready to welcome your air fryer back to its best so that you can really get your money's worth, and banish burnt-on dirt and debris for good.

How to clean a Ninja air fryer

Regardless of which appliance you're cleaning, make sure to unplug your air fryer and allow it to cool before attempting to clean any part of it. When it comes to how to clean a Ninja air fryer then removing large pieces of food is also a good idea, as well as soaking up any large amounts of oil or grease with paper towels. 

Never submerge the main unit of your air fryer (the part that plugs in) into water. Otherwise you'll be putting yourself in danger and damaging the product causing you to need to buy a new one. If you've made this mistake, we'd advise using Ninja Kitchen discount codes to soften the blow.

New Ninja air fryer - the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer 10.4L AF500UK

(Image credit: Ninja)

Ninja recommends cleaning your air fryer after every use for optimal results, and we would agree. Even if you do decide to use air fryer liners or foil, getting a full clean done will increase the longevity of your appliance.

If you've lost the manual that came with your air fryer, then you can find them all on the Ninja website. We'd always recommend following the manufacturer's advice for the particular air fryer you have. 

Ninja recently reshared this nifty video from air fryer recipe pro Ciara Turley, aka The Tummy Fairy, so when in doubt follow in her footsteps as it's got the Ninja seal of approval.

How to clean a single basket Ninja air fryer

If you're familiar with the Ninja range, you'll know there are different models out there depending on how many people you need to cater to from single-basket Ninja air fryer, like the Ninja AF100UK through to our favourite dual-zone versions to feed the whole family.

Although how to clean a Ninja air fryer is pretty similar across the board there are particulars to know with each appliance size and configuration.

Ninja AF100UK Air Fryer unpacked with the drawer fully open and instruction leaflets

(Image credit: Future PLC)

After reviewing this air fryer, our expert product tester Helen McCue found that a damp cloth was all that was needed to get rid of smears on the exterior, with more care needing to be taken with the silver handle, which tends to mark the easiest.

In our explainer on how to clean an air fryer, we recommend taking out the removable crisper tray, which is essential with the AF100UK as well. With this particular model, both the basket and crisper tray can be cleaned by hand or in the dishwasher.

black air fryer under running water with cream worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Philip Sowels)

If you are cleaning the AF100UK by hand, then my number one tip (after testing dozens of air fryers over the years) is to invest in a Dishmatic for £6.07 on Amazon

This handheld liquid-dispensing sponge makes it so easy to apply the right amount of pressure to the air fryer parts and doses the perfect amount of washing-up liquid. Anything too coarse (like a scourer) could damage the non-stick parts of your Ninja air fryer, so proceed with caution if you're trying to lift stuck-on messes. 

How to clean a dual basket Ninja air fryer

The Ninja Foodi Max Dual Zone is undoubtedly the most popular air fryer in the UK - with a huge cult following. If you're one of the lucky owners of one, then learning how to clean both of the baskets with this air fryer may be a bit of a learning curve. 

Let's start with the simple stuff - the exterior. If you start to notice marks and smears, simply wipe down the machine (after unplugging) with a damp (not dripping) cloth. 

Image of Ninja Foodi Dual Zone being tested at test centre

(Image credit: Future/Millie FENDER)

Then move on to each basket in turn. You can either hand wash these or pop them into the dishwasher, but the area you need to be most diligent with is the crisper tray.

The inner part of the tray, where the handle is, can easily become lodged with debris and dirt, so give this a good scrub with a non-abrasive sponge. Take care with the rubber feet on each corner too to ensure that there's no grease leftover.

If you've left it a little too long before cleaning your crisper tray (we've all been there) and are facing stuck-on food, then give the tray a soak in warm soapy water and come back to it.

How to clean the heating element of a Ninja air fryer

The heating element in your air fryer sits above where you slot in the basket, which means just like your oven, it's situated up at the top of the space. 

To clean it, Ninja recommends in this video turning your air fryer upside down (when unplugged and cool) and cleaning any residue away with a very slightly damp cloth or a paper towel. 

While you need to clean the baskets of your air fryer after every use, it's worth judging how dirty your element gets before deciding on a cleaning schedule for it. If you don't use your air fryer too regularly, you'll want to adjust how often you clean your heating element, too.

So, there you have it – cleaning a Ninja air fryer is really pretty simple. Just make sure you stay on top of it to ensure your prized appliance stays sparkling clean and firing on all cylinders.

Molly Cleary
Kitchen Appliances Editor

Molly is Ideal Home’s Kitchen Appliances Editor and an all-around baking and cooking enthusiast. She joined the team in September 2022 as an Ecommerce Editor after working across Real Homes, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She's been reviewing products for 4 years and now specialises in weighing up kitchen essentials' pros and cons, from air fryers to bean-to-cup coffee machines. 

She's always been a keen reader, so after graduating from the University of Exeter in 2020 she was thrilled to find a way to write as a full-time job. Nowadays, she spends her days at home or the Ideal Home test facility trying out new kitchen innovations to see if they’re worth a space on your worktop. Her most beloved and hard-working appliance is her Sage coffee machine though she also takes the title of Ideal Home’s in-house air fryer expert after writing about them religiously over the past few years.

When she's not thinking or writing about kitchen appliances, she loves getting around London exploring new places, going for a dip at the Ladies’ Pond and consuming every bit of pop culture she can get her hands on.