Why Your Air Fryer Smells and How to Get Rid of It

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Air fryers are fantastic for cooking crispy, tasty food with less oil. However, they can sometimes develop unpleasant smells that affect your cooking experience. These odors can come from various sources like new appliance smells, food residue, grease buildup, or even mold and mildew.

Understanding the causes and learning how to clean and maintain your air fryer properly can help you eliminate these bad smells and keep your air fryer fresh. In this guide, we’ll explore why your air fryer might smell and provide simple steps to get rid of those odors, ensuring your kitchen stays pleasant and your food delicious.

Why Your Air Fryer Smells and How to Get Rid of It

Reasons Why Your Air Fryer Smells

New Appliance Smell

When you first buy an air fryer, it might have a plastic smell. This is normal and happens with many new appliances. The materials used to make the air fryer, such as plastic and metal, can give off a smell when they are heated for the first time.

This smell should go away after a few uses. To speed up this process, you can run your air fryer for a short time without any food in it. This helps to burn off any residue from the manufacturing process and can help reduce the initial smell.

Food Residue

After cooking, tiny bits of food can get stuck inside the air fryer. These bits might be small crumbs, grease splatters, or other food particles that fall off while cooking. If these bits stay inside the air fryer and are not cleaned out, they can start to rot and cause a bad smell.

This is especially true if you cook a lot of different foods in your air fryer. Over time, the buildup of food residue can become quite smelly. Regular cleaning is important to prevent this from happening.

Oil and Grease Buildup

Oil and grease from cooking can build up over time. When you use your air fryer, some of the oil and grease from the food can splatter and stick to the inside of the fryer. If this buildup is not cleaned properly, it can start to smell.

Grease and oil can become rancid if left for too long, and this can create a very unpleasant odor. Regularly wiping down the inside of the air fryer and cleaning the basket and pan can help prevent this buildup.

Burnt Food

Sometimes, food can burn and stick to the basket or the bottom of the air fryer. This often happens if you cook something at too high a temperature or for too long. Burnt food can produce a strong, unpleasant smell, especially when you use the air fryer again.

The smell of burnt food can linger in your air fryer and make everything you cook in it taste and smell bad. To avoid this, make sure to remove any burnt food bits immediately and clean your air fryer thoroughly.

Mold and Mildew

If your air fryer is not dried well after cleaning, it can develop mold or mildew. This can happen if there is moisture left in the fryer, especially in areas that are hard to reach, like the corners or the heating element.

Mold and mildew can grow in damp environments and produce a musty smell. To prevent this, always make sure to dry your air fryer completely after cleaning it. Leaving the parts to air dry on a clean towel can help ensure that all moisture is removed.

Improper Cleaning

If you don’t clean your air fryer regularly or correctly, it can start to smell. Cleaning is very important to keep your air fryer fresh. Improper cleaning, such as missing spots or not using the right cleaning materials, can leave behind residue that can cause odors.

Make sure to clean all parts of your air fryer, including the basket, pan, and interior, after each use. Using warm, soapy water and a soft brush can help ensure that all food particles and grease are removed. Regular cleaning helps to maintain your air fryer and keep it smelling fresh.

How to Get Rid of the Smell from Your Air Fryer

How to Get Rid of the Smell from Air Fryer

Clean after Every Use

Make sure to clean your air fryer after every use. This helps prevent smells from developing in the first place. After you finish cooking, unplug the air fryer and let it cool down. Then, remove the basket and pan.

Wash them with warm, soapy water. Use a soft sponge or brush to scrub away any food particles. Rinse them well and dry them completely before putting them back into the air fryer. If you leave them wet, moisture can cause mold and mildew, which smell bad.

Deep Cleaning

Once a week, give your air fryer a deep clean to keep it in top condition. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Unplug the air fryer: Safety first! Always unplug your air fryer before cleaning.
  • Remove all removable parts: Take out the basket, pan, and any other removable parts.
  • Soak the basket and pan: Fill your sink with warm, soapy water and soak the basket and pan for 10-15 minutes. This helps to loosen any stuck-on food.
  • Scrub away food particles: Use a soft brush or sponge to scrub away any remaining food particles.
  • Wipe down the inside: Use a damp cloth to wipe down the inside of the air fryer, paying special attention to any areas where food might have splattered.
  • Dry completely: Let all parts dry completely before reassembling your air fryer. You can leave them on a clean towel or drying rack to ensure they are thoroughly dried.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are natural cleaning agents that can help remove bad smells from your air fryer. Here’s how to use them:

  • Vinegar solution: Mix equal parts of water and vinegar. Dip a cloth into this solution and use it to wipe down the inside of your air fryer.
  • Baking soda paste: For tougher smells, make a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the smelly areas and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, wipe it off with a damp cloth. Baking soda helps to neutralize odors effectively.


Lemons are another great natural deodorizer. Their fresh scent can help remove bad smells from your air fryer. Here’s what to do:

  • Rub with lemon: Cut a lemon in half and rub it on the inside of the air fryer. Make sure to cover all the surfaces.
  • Let it sit: Let the lemon juice sit for a few minutes to absorb the odors.
  • Wipe clean: Wipe the inside with a damp cloth to remove the lemon juice.

Air Out the Air Fryer

After cleaning your air fryer, leave it open for a few hours to let it air out. This can help get rid of any remaining smells. Fresh air can help dissipate any lingering odors, making your air fryer smell fresh again.

Check the Heating Element

Food or grease can sometimes get stuck on the heating element, causing bad smells. Here’s how to clean it:

  • Ensure the air fryer is unplugged and cool: Never clean the heating element while the air fryer is hot or plugged in.
  • Clean with a damp cloth: Use a damp cloth to carefully wipe the heating element. Be gentle to avoid damaging it.

Avoid Cooking Strong-smelling Foods

Some foods have strong odors that can linger in your air fryer. To keep your air fryer smelling fresh, try to avoid cooking these foods too often. If you do cook something with a strong smell, clean your air fryer thoroughly afterward to prevent the smell from sticking around.

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is great at absorbing bad smells. Here’s a simple tip:

  • Leave a container of baking soda: When your air fryer is not in use, place a small container of baking soda inside. Just make sure to remove it before you start cooking. The baking soda will absorb any lingering odors, keeping your air fryer smelling fresh.

Dry Thoroughly

Always make sure your air fryer is completely dry before using it or storing it. Moisture can lead to mold and mildew, which smell bad. After cleaning, let all parts air dry thoroughly. You can also use a clean towel to pat them dry to speed up the process.

By following these steps, you can keep your air fryer smelling clean and fresh, ensuring that your food tastes great every time you use it. Regular cleaning and proper maintenance are key to preventing bad smells and keeping your air fryer in excellent condition.

Extra Tips for Keeping Your Air Fryer Fresh

  • Read the Manual: Your air fryer manual can have useful cleaning tips. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
  • Don’t Overload: Avoid overloading your air fryer. Overloading can cause food to cook unevenly and create more mess, leading to bad smells.
  • Use Parchment Paper: Using parchment paper can help keep your air fryer cleaner. Just make sure to leave enough space for air to circulate.
  • Regular Maintenance: Regularly check and clean the fan and vents of your air fryer. This helps keep the air fryer working well and smelling fresh.
  • Store Properly: Store your air fryer in a dry, clean place. If you store it in a damp area, it can develop bad smells.

By following these steps, you can keep your air fryer smelling fresh and clean. Regular cleaning and proper maintenance are key to enjoying tasty, smell-free cooking. Happy cooking!

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Hi, I'm Zein, and I know everything there is to know about home tools. I'm able to fix everything from coffee and espresso machines to washers and dryers. I really enjoy figuring out how to use home electronics, so I'm going to share some guides, tips, and tricks with you. You can count on me to make your home life easy, whether you're looking for the right brew or dealing with annoying problems. Welcome to my space, where I combine my knowledge with simple life hacks!

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