The air fryer hack we've all been sleeping on – the secret to it is hiding in your fridge

This is the best air fryer cleaning hack we've found for fast and easy cleaning

Bowl filled with water and lemons inside air fryer basket
(Image credit: Breville)

Air fryers have easily cemented themselves as the must-have kitchen appliance essential you can more or less find everywhere. However, not even the best air fryers are exempt from the upkeep of regular cleaning and maintenance.

'Air fryers are a modern kitchen staple, with many households opting for this energy-saving appliance over their ovens (cue the air fryer vs oven debate). But, with frequent use comes frequent cleaning – grease can build up quickly in air fryers which can cause lingering odours,' explains Helen Hope, senior home stylist at Studio.

However, don't fret, because we might've just come across the easiest and fastest way to clean an air fryer if your main focus is to banish those unpleasant smells – and chances are, you've already got the secret ingredient hiding in your fridge.

Inside of fridge with produce organised in plastic boxes

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Lemon air fryer cleaning hack

'Often after cooking fish and other foods in your air fryer, you may find there's an unpleasant and lingering smell,' starts Zoe McLean, senior home economist at Breville.

'By adding a (heatproof) bowl of sliced lemons and water and then switching the air fryer on for just 10 minutes that will help to remove the smell, leaving your kitchen smelling like a fresh, citrus wonderland.'

Helen adds, 'Lemons are not only a common household food item but, because of their acidity, a great natural cleaning product that is safe to use in your air fryer.'

Bowl filled with water and lemons inside air fryer basket

(Image credit: Breville)

If you want to up the ante even more with the odour-banishing, Helen suggests 'combining half a lemon with one tablespoon of vinegar' in your heatproof bowl (isn't it amazing how much you can clean with white vinegar?)

'Turn your air fryer on for 3-5 minutes at 200C and repeat as necessary – it's as easy as that,' she assures.

Pair this hack with the best home fragrances for a small kitchen, and you're on your way to creating a signature scent for your home that's super fresh and zesty.

However, while this hack is the perfect little quick fix for simply tackling unpleasant smells in your air fryer, it isn't an end all be all that should replace your regular air fryer cleaning regime – but merely a supplement towards it.

black air fryer under running water with cream worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Philip Sowels)

'The lemon and water air fryer cleaning hack is specifically to get rid of smells, but we would always recommend the standard cleaning methods first before putting a heatproof bowl of sliced lemons and water into your air fryer basket at a high temperature for 10 – 15 minutes,' advises Stuart McCay, customer service and support manager at Tefal.

'Ensure you are cleaning your air fryer after every use and use this lemon cleaning hack every few weeks to keep your air fryer in the best condition,' adds Helen.

Zoe chimes in to conclude, 'It's also key we all remember that most drawers and trays from our air fryers are in fact dishwasher safe, making our lives that little bit easier!'

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.