Air Fryer Basket Rusting: Causes and Solution

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Air Fryer Basket Rusting: Causes and Solutions

If you’re overlooking rust build-up inside your air fryer, you need to straighten up right now. It was not long ago when my favorite air fryer’s basket started showing signs of rust, and I didn’t bother much.

Soon after, there were rusty flakes in my air-fried food, and that’s when I paid heed to this problem.

If you’re in the same situation, here’s something you should know about air fryer basket rusting.

Air Fryer Basket Rusting:

The metallic parts of your air fryer can get rusted over time because of moisture and food residue accumulated in the frying compartment. To avoid this problem, make sure your air fryer is always dry and properly cleaned. And if rust has already made its way to your air-fried food, whip up a quick baking soda or vinegar solution and let it do the rest.

When metallic surfaces contact water and damp air, preventing rust build-up becomes a hectic task. Therefore, I recommend you take care of your air fryer and ensure there’s no loophole for rust or grease build-up inside it.

Not sure why your air fryer is rusted, and if there’s anything you can do about it? Stick around and let me explain this problem to you!

Why Does Rust Accumulate in Air Fryers?

Air fryers usually have plastic bodies paired with metallic heating components. Where plastic is easy to clean and rustproof, metal surfaces can cause rusting in your spendy appliance.

Here are the top three reasons for air fryer basket rusting:

Moisture Accumulation

Moisture is always the main culprit of rust; air fryers are no different. When you don’t wipe the water droplets from your air fryer’s metal elements after washing it, they initiate rusting.

And if you’re one of those home cooks who rarely take their air fryer out of the cabinet, these water droplets will cause serious rusting to it over time.

Therefore, it’s wise to wipe dry an air fryer each time you wash it; it will hardly take two minutes, and you’ll rule out a major cause of rusting.

Low-Quality Metal Components

Stainless steel and aluminum are the best materials for making heating elements and cookware. If a manufacturer uses any other low-quality metal instead of these two, you’ll face rusting problems within months of using an air fryer.

If you already have an air fryer, there’s nothing we can do about its material (except that you get the best one next time).

But if you’re to purchase an air fryer, get one with rustproof metal components and a reasonable manufacturer’s warranty.

Don’t put your money in a gadget unless you’re sure of its quality.

Careless Cleaning

I know, deep cleaning the air fryer every time you use it isn’t feasible, but how about doing it twice a week? This little effort can prolong your air fryer’s life so that you get the best value for your money.

Sometimes dish soap droplets can get trapped under the air fryer basket or pan, which worsens the cleaning.

Therefore, it’s smart to clean the air fryer on alternate days instead of scrubbing it to death after a month of heavy use.

How Can You Prevent Rusting in Air Fryers?

Taking care of worthy appliances is a no-brainer; we can’t waste money fixing them when some care can prevent the problem. If you are unsure how to prevent rusting in air fryers, here are some solutions you should look at:

Dry the Air Fryer After Washing

Never leave a dripping wet air fryer to air dry; it can instigate rusting. Instead, use a dry cloth to wipe all moisture after washing the air fryer to ensure there are no water droplets under the pan/basket.

After wiping your air fryer, turn it on for two minutes to dry the remaining moisture, and you’re good to go.

If you use the air fryer once in a while, never store it without ensuring that it’s dry from the inside out.

Take Care of the Metal Coating

Most air fryer baskets and pans come with non-stick coatings that keep your food from sticking to the machine.

Once this non-stick coating starts to peel/flake, there’s no going back. Therefore, you have to be proactive at this step.

Firstly, avoid cooking at extremely high temperatures because non-stick coatings can melt at such temperatures, something you should try to prevent.

Secondly, don’t use sharp metal objects and scrubbers with your air fryer basket because its coating can break down this way.

If there’s stubborn grease buildup on the basket and pan, soak them in warm water for 1-2 hours and rinse them later on, but never use elbow grease or sharp objects with non-stick surfaces.

Season the Basket with Cooking Oil

Another practical tip to prevent rusting in air fryers is seasoning.

After thoroughly cleaning your air fryer basket, season it with good-quality cooking oil and block the rust particles from barging in.

If your air fryer is new, season its basket and pan with cooking oil once a week to protect its non-stick properties and control rusting. Use an odor-less oil for seasoning, as others can alter your food’s taste.

What to do When the Air Fryer Has Rusted?

You didn’t know about the preventive measures I have shared above, and your air fryer has rusted already. What now? Don’t give up yet; there are a few tricks you can try to remove rust from your air fryer; here are some safe and doable methods for that:

Oil Seasoning

Apart from keeping rust at bay, oil seasoning can also help uproot this problem.

If there’s a lot of rust buildup under and over your air fryer’s cooking compartment, coat it in some oil and set it aside.

After 2-3 hours, rub the rusty spots with a cotton cloth. If the rust is new and mainly due to food drippings, the oil will take care of it.

But if the basket’s non-stick coating has worn off and it’s rusted pretty badly, oil won’t suffice.

Thorough Washing

You can handle slight air fryer rusting by thoroughly washing it.

Use your regular liquid dish soap and a spaghetti sponge to clean the air fryer. If there are stubborn stains and rust, soak the appliance for 2-3 hours to clean afterward.


Avoid using steel wool and brittle sponges while deep cleaning your air fryer.

Vinegar & Baking Soda Mixture

Baking soda is a reliable cleaning agent. Vinegar is known to remove pungent smells; these two make an excellent cleaning solution for your air fryer.

Make a slightly runny paste of baking soda and vinegar and lather the rusted air fryer surface with it.

Set the air fryer basket and pan aside overnight and complete the cleaning process once rust starts to come off.

How To Overcome the Rusty Smell in an Air Fryer?

The lingering smell is another common problem air fryer owners have to face. This smell can either be because of heavy use of rust accumulation under the cooking compartment.

Whichever is the case, you can overcome this problem with a homemade cleaner.

Pour some lemon juice and vinegar into a small dish and place it inside your air fryer. Turn on the air fryer for 2-3 minutes and leave the dish inside it for some more time. The warm lemon-vinegar solution will remove weird smells from your air fryer and ensure there’s no sign of salmon fillets in your doughnuts.

Final Words

Air fryer basket rusting can ruin your food’s taste and be hazardous if the rust particles enter your meals. If you have noticed rust on your air fryer’s metallic parts, try the home remedies I have shared above, and they’ll hopefully work out for you.

But if you have recently brought an air fryer and wish to keep it safe from rusting, make seasoning your routine.

Never leave water droplets inside your air fryer and coat its basket in cooking oil to keep rust at bay!

Related Questions:

Do you have to clean the air fryer after every use? It is recommended to clean the air fryer after every use. Otherwise, you might notice unwanted smells and flavors in your meals. Also, not cleaning the air fryer regularly can cause gunk build-up under its basket, something you won’t like.

How do I get rid of the taste in my air fryer? Thanks to their acidic properties, vinegar and lemon juice can remove your previous meals’ taste from the air fryer basket. You can either pour lemon juice and vinegar directly on the air fryer basket or warm these two ingredients inside the appliance. Let lemon juice and vinegar rest in the air fryer for 30 minutes, and you’ll surely like the results.

How to Prevent Grease Build-up in an air fryer? If you want to reduce your air fryer cleaning effort, don’t put raw food ingredients directly on the basket; use parchment paper instead. Poke a few holes in the parchment paper and spread it on the cooking surface to reduce grease/food residue under the pan.

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