Air Fryer Rust – How To Fix It & How To Prevent It

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Air fryers are probably one of the world’s greatest inventions. They’re versatile, are a healthier alternative to pan-frying, are easy to use, and easy to clean. However, many people run into the problem of their air fryers starting to rust, but why does this happen? 

Air fryers can rust with time when the metal components are exposed to water for too long. You can fix this issue by putting lemon or lime juice and salt solution on the rust. Baking soda is also a good option. It’s always best to keep your air fryer dry after cleaning it to prevent the issue.

While rust can happen to any air fryer, the good news is you can take different actions to fix or prevent the issue. Keep reading to find out the tips and tricks to keep your air fryer as good as new! 

What Causes the Inside of Your Air Fryer To Rust?

Exposure to water for long periods can cause the inside of your air fryer to rust. That said, make sure to wipe your air fryer properly as soon as you’ve cleaned the device. Other reasons contributing to the rust include improper care and lousy quality. 

The following discusses in greater the reasons your air fryer has rust:

You Don’t Use Parchment Paper at the Bottom of Your Air Fryer

Rust can happen when you don’t put a parchment paper in the air fryer basket. It’s important to remember that many food items contain water that leaks onto the air fryer basket when cooking, especially if you like preparing your veggies in the air fryer.

A sheet of parchment paper or a layer of coconut or olive oil for your air fryer is like sunscreen for your body on a long, hot day at the beach. 

Your Air Fryer Isn’t Completely Dry After You Clean It

Failure to dry your air fryer components after cleaning them is a common cause of rust. If you don’t dry your air fryer properly, the remaining water will start reacting with the metal over time and eventually begin rusting.

Think of it as repeatedly not moisturizing yourself after a shower. Your skin will eventually become dry and damaged, the same way your air fryer will start developing rust! 

The Tools You Use To Clean Your Air Fryer Are Abrasive

Using abrasive cleaning appliances to clean your air fryer may be the culprit responsible for rust. Using things like a scouring pad (metal sponge) to clean your air fryer basket can be too rough for your appliance.

Abrasive cleaning appliances like a metal sponge can scratch the surface of the basket and create small holes that allow water or moisture to enter and eventually react to the metal and form rust. Boo. 

Your Air Fryer Might Be Low-Quality

The quality of your air fryer could be another culprit responsible for the rust developing in your air fryer.

I understand that not everyone is willing to spend the amount of a good air fryer, but the saying that goes “buy nice or buy twice” is entirely true! It’s far better to spend a decent amount of money on something once than to buy something cheap multiple times because it keeps getting ruined or broken. 

Buying a high-quality appliance is an investment, and you’ll be saving money in the long run instead of spending fewer amounts multiple times. I recommend this COSORI Air Fryer Oven Combo from Amazon.com. Some of its features are as follows:

  • The device comes with a cookbook with 100 recipes.
  • It’s dishwasher-safe. 
  • It has 13 cooking functions. 
  • The air fryer is spacious. 
  • It has a non-stick coating. 

Not bad, eh? 

How To Prevent the Inside of Your Air Fryer From Rusting

If you’ve recently bought a new air fryer—or want to preserve your current one for as long as possible—you’ve come to the right place! Luckily, there are multiple ways you can prevent the inside of your air fryer from rusting without hassle or much effort. 

Use Non-Abrasive Tools When You Clean Your Air Fryer

When it comes to air fryer maintenance, gentleness is better. It would help if you cleaned your air fryer at least every other day to prevent having to use stiff bristles and metal to scrub off dirt. 

The longer you go without washing your air fryer, the harder it’ll be to clean it. Think about those pots and pans you have to leave to “soak” because the residue is as hard as rocks (I’m totally guilty of this!). 

Stick to using soft washcloths and sponges to clean your air fryer. Hard bristles or metal can severely scratch the surface of the air fryer and make room for moisture to ruin the metal and cause rust. 

Ensure Your Air Fryer Is Properly Dry After You Clean It

Keeping your air fryer dry is a foolproof way to prevent rust from occurring. After giving your appliance a good scrub down, thoroughly dry it with clean paper towels. You can use a drying cloth too, but some rags aren’t that absorbent and do better at spreading the moisture instead of absorbing it. 

Another clever way to ensure your air fryer is dry is by re-assembling it and letting the device run for a few minutes. The hot air does a great job of evaporating all the moisture, and it’s a quick and easy way to dry your appliance. You could also let your air fryer dry under the sun and let nature do the work for you! 

Season Your Air Fryer Basket Before Using It

I don’t mean coat your air fryer with Old Bay or garlic powder. Seasoning your air fryer means creating a non-stick layer so that food doesn’t get stuck to the surface. You can season your air fryer with the following:

  • Coconut oil 
  • Olive oil 
  • Parchment paper 
  • Aluminum foil 

Even if your air fryer came with a non-stick coating, you should still season it so there’s an extra layer of protection. 

How does this prevent rust, you may ask? Well, it prevents you from needing to use brute force to clean hardened food that’s stuck to the basket, which could lead you to scratch the surface of the air fryer and let moisture inside, ultimately causing rust. Work smarter, not harder, folks! 

How To Fix Rust Inside an Air Fryer Safely

Rust forming in an air fryer is more common than you may think. Thankfully, there are various homemade rust removers you could try that can safely get rid of rust without causing further damage to your beloved air fryer! 

Put Lemon or Lime Juice and Salt Solution on the Rust

Lemon or lime juice is highly acidic and can do an excellent job of eating away rust. Salt is quite rough and abrasive, so the two combined can make a great homemade rust-removing solution! 

Follow the steps below:

  1. Coat the rusted area with salt. 
  2. Pour the lemon juice over it. 
  3. Let the solution “marinate” on the affected area for several hours. 
  4. Use the lemon rind to rub it off. Voila. Rust removed.

Pro tip: Use sea salt instead of table salt for this one. Table salt is superfine, so the lack of abrasiveness and texture might make this solution less effective. 

Use White Vinegar and Water Solution

Follow the steps below to remove rust from your air fryer with this solution:

  1. Mix ½ a cup (120 ml) of distilled vinegar with 1 cup (250 ml)of water. 
  2. Pour it into the air fryer. 
  3. Allow this solution to sit for about 10 minutes. 
  4. After those 10 minutes have passed, turn the air fryer on High with the solution still in it, and allow it to run for 5 minutes. 
  5. Dispose of the mixture and wipe your air fryer dry with paper towels. Or, you can put it in the dishwasher (if the air fryer is dishwasher-safe). 

You can also use apple cider vinegar if you don’t have distilled white vinegar. 

Use Baking Soda and Hot Water Mixture

Baking soda and hot water mixture is also another method you may consider to remove rust from your air fryer. Follow the directions below:

  1. Add ½ a cup (120 ml) of baking soda to 2 cups (500 ml) of boiling water. 
  2. Pour this solution into the air fryer basket. 
  3. Turn the air fryer on and let it run for more or less 30 minutes, or until the mixture is no longer foamy. 
  4. Dispose of the solution once 30 minutes have passed/foaminess is gone. Then, dry your air fryer with paper towels. 

It’s crucial to remember that you should always keep liquids far from any electrical components of your air fryer, like wires and the plug. When drying your air fryer with paper towels, ensure you aren’t reusing the same wet paper towel. Once the paper towel has absorbed the moisture and is damp, dispose of it and use a different one. The same thing goes for a dry washcloth. If it’s wet after using it, use a different one.

Note that homemade solutions might not be effective depending on the severity of the rust in your air fryer. In that case, it would be best to run to the store and purchase a rust remover that you can use in air fryers.