How to Clean a Deep Fryer


Pauline asked: How do I clean my deep fryer that had oil in it for months? I tried hot water and soap, but it’s still sticky. Thanks!

No one can deny that fried food has a wonderful flavor. Home deep fryers give that great flavor without the hassle. Though the oil can be used for quite some time, the fryer will still require periodic cleanings. Cleanings will remove any build-up that may affect the flavor of the food. It’s a bit time consuming, but not difficult to do. Here’s what you need to know

You Will Need:

  • Grease dissolving dish detergent
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Plastic scrubber (for Teflon coated fryers)
  • Soap filled steel wool pads (for metal fryers)
  • Container to hold the oil
  • Soft cloths or towels

Steps to Clean the Fryer:

  1. Turn the fryer off and allow the oil to cool down completely.
  2. When the oil has cooled, drain it from the fryer into a container for storage (if you will be reusing it) or dispose of it properly.
  3. Use a scraper to scrape as much build-up from the sides as possible. Dispose of the removed build-up.
  4. Next, fill the fryer with water. Fill it as full as you would if you were filling it with oil.
  5. Add a small amount of grease dissolving dish detergent, such as Dawn, to the water and agitate slightly to mix.
  6. Turn the fryer on until the water begins to boil.
  7. Allow the water and soap to boil in the fryer for several minutes. This will help to loosen and remove the oil that is stuck around the sides of the fryer.
  8. Turn the fryer off and allow the water to cool down.
  9. Dump out the water and wipe out the inside with a sponge, cloth or paper towels. Try to remove as much of the oil from the sides as possible.
  10. Fill a bowl with water and dish detergent. Use this mixture to moisten the scrubber and scrub away any remaining oil from the inside of the fryer.
  11. Rinse completely with clean water.
  12. If oil remains, often as a sticky film, it can be removed with baking soda.
  13. Mix baking soda with a small amount of water to make a paste.
  14. Rub the paste onto the surface of the fryer where the residue remains and/or there is a sticky film.
  15. Use a sponge or cloth to rub the paste in a circular motion. Continue until the sticky film is removed.
  16. This paste is also useful to remove any oil splatters and build-up on the exterior of the fryer.
  17. Rinse again with clean water.
  18. Ensure that all of the cleaning products have been removed before drying with a soft towel.
  19. If any other areas of the fryer have gotten wet, allow them to dry completely before use.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • For extremely dirty fryers, oven cleaners have been found useful by some. However, use caution when placing these strong chemicals into the fryer and rinse thoroughly to ensure that no chemicals transfer to the cooking oil when it is refilled.
  • If oil stains are old and difficult to remove, they can be made “fresh” again by spraying them with WD-40. Again, take extra care to wash and rinse the fryer thoroughly to ensure that all residue is removed before use.
  • Vinegar is another additive that can be used with water to remove sticky residue. Combine with hot water and moisten a scrubber to apply it to the surfaces. Rinse when finished.
  • Though getting any of the electric components wet should be avoided, it does happen from time to time. To ensure that the fryer does not become permanently damaged, allow any water to dry completely before plugging the fryer back in. In most cases, once the water dries, the unit will work just fine.


  1. I use coffee filters in the basket of the fryer to filter the oil. Place four to six of them in the basket (depending on size of basket) and pour evenly the oil into each filter. Don’t let the side of the filter droop and spill over. The idea is to let the filter clean the oil too. This works very well.

    Make sure the basket is on the “hook” and not in the oil. I would hope that goes without saying.

  2. To further your idea says:

    I further the above idea to use a container that has no bottom. Better yet with a cross of plastic in the bottom of the containers to hold each filter in pace while the oil filters.

    Or maybe someone has another idea.

    Coffee filters? I don’t know if they’re ok. How big are the perforations in them? Maybe muslin cloth would be better with holes to let oil through and also able to trap particles?

  3. Thank you so much for this article! My deep fryer is cleaner than it’s been in months.

    Just another tip: You know those fridge and freezer packs of baking soda that you use for deodorizing? I find that once they’ve absorbed all the odors they can, the baking soda inside can still be used for cleaning. Waste not, want not. :)

  4. Thanks Emily; I always felt, “what a waste,” when I threw them out.
    Now off to clean this deep fryer.

  5. I know how to clean my fryer. It’s what to do with the dirty oil that’s my problem. How do you dispose of it safely?

  6. Never throw baking soda out! Even the odor-absorbed soda can be used to freshen your garbage disposal or drains in every part of the house…pour baking soda in the drain, then follow with vinegar…or even old orange juice/lemon juice/or grapefruit juice;they react together to clean gunk from drains and the citrus cleans while making things smell great!!!! Also, adding old baking soda to the laundry soap when doing laundry (esp. towels) or dumping it in the bottom of dishwasher is another use. I have also heard that baking soda and lemonade packets will clean a dishwasher, however I have not tried it. Baking soda and vinegar together will eat through the thick film in a deep fryer.

  7. Cathy,
    You can either reuse the oil or dry the oil.
    To dry the oil; allow the oil to cool, fill a bucket with kitty litter or sawdust (about as much as there is oil) and pour the oil over the powder. Allow the oil to dry and dispose of the kitty litter in your normal trash bag.
    If you deep fry often, you can reuse the oil as long as you store it properly.
    You can also install tiki torches in your yard and have the oil from your last deep fryer meal light your newly cooked dinner party.
    Another great option is to search for a biodiesel fuel drop off location in your area.

    Source: Chow – Fry Oil Disposal in an Apartment
    Source: What’s Cooking America – Re-using Cooking Oil
    Source: – Glass Bottle Tiki Torch
    Source: – The In’s and Out’s of Recycling Cooking Oil

  8. Try S.O.S pads or steel wool pads with hot water and scrub the baked-on oil – it comes right off! Hope I helped. :)

  9. How do I take the lid off a Lloytron, model e862bk.

  10. Dumb. This won’t work.

  11. Thanks for the instructions. It worked perfectly. Boiling the water with soap in it caused the soap bubble to overflow…but that was no big deal. The SOS pads did most of the cleaning to start with.

  12. I cleaned my fryer and let it sit and dry for a couple hours! Is it normal for it to smoke once you start putting Crisco in and lug it in.

  13. Thanks for the tips, but be very cautious when using vinegar. Some deep fryers have copper components that will oxidize with even small amounts of vinegar; this happened to us, not fun.

  14. It worked! Thanks…my only problem was that I had too much water or too much baking soda, so it boiled over.

  15. We bought a small fish net (it is a very fine mesh) at Walmart to scoop out the little particles that get left behind when you use your deep fat fryer. Let the oil cool before netting.

  16. I found a really fine stainless mesh strainer at Walmart and when I remove my oil from my fryers, I run it through the strainer into the holding container. That way I am not wrestling a heavy container of oil over my fryers while trying to strain out the crud. You have so much more control with the on/off lever while draining the oil. When you are finished, your oil is ready to go straight into the fryer.

  17. Love the idea with the baking soda.
    The idea for the used oil in tiki torches is also brilliant.
    I also thought we would use ours in small amounts on ‘kindling’ in our fire pit to get the wood burning & it won’t hurt the environment.

  18. Absolutely the easiest way to clean a deep fryer or peanut oil fryer is to put it in a large tub or laundry tub. Start to fill the tub and add TSP (trisodium phosphate). Just let it sit for a day or two and it comes out nearly new-looking. Just rinse and dry.

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