deep fat fryer care and advice tips, common problems

The deep fat fryer is a great addition to the home kitchen and can help you make lip smacking dishes such as fried chicken, French fries or donuts easily. However, the maintenance of these fryers is a key issue if you are to avoid some of the more prevalent deep fat fryer problems that can crop up from time to time. The fact that these fryers make use of large quantities of oil and generally operate at very high temperatures means that there is always the potential for danger. Proper care and maintenance can help you avoid these dangers, and cleaning a deep fat fryer properly can help ensure your fryer functions safely and efficiently. Always allow the fryer to cool down sufficiently before attempting to clean it and make sure that it is has been unplugged.

How To Clean A Deep Fat Fryer

Learning how to clean a deep fat fryer is important to maintain it in proper working condition. The steps outlined below can help you take care of your fryer in a simple but effective manner.

Disconnect the deep fat fryer from its electrical outlet and get rid off any used oil that may be present. The fryer may be tilted over the sink to ensure that the last remnants of oil drip away. Use a bowl to catch this waste oil to avoid clogging up your sink. The waste oil may now be safely discarded.

Wipe out the interior surfaces of the deep fat fryer with paper towels to ensure that the last of the oil remnants are absorbed. Make sure to remove any bits of food and other residues that are stuck to the fryer bottom and side walls. If the pan is excessively oily or greasy, this step may be repeated.

Apply some dishwashing soap to a wet sponge and wipe down the inside surfaces of the fryer thoroughly. If you have a sink that is large enough to accommodate the fryer, you may place the entire appliance in the sink. Allow the fryer to fill up with water before washing it clean. However, it is necessary to ensure that the sink is absolutely dry before you place the fryer in it. Also ensure that water from the tap does not make contact with the outer surfaces of the fryer. If water enters the electrical components of your fryer, there may be considerable damage done to the appliance. The interiors of the fryer should be washed until the surfaces no longer feel oily to the touch.

The exterior surfaces may be cleaned with a damp sponge and soap. Please check the sponge to make sure it is not holding an excessive amount of water or dripping. Just a slight amount of moistness is enough to wipe away any oil, dust, or dirt that has accumulated.

After cleaning the deep fat fryer, it should be dried out by wiping it with clean paper towels. If water has entered the fryer and made contact with any of its electrical parts, it is advisable to air dry the fryer for at least 24-48 hours before deciding to use it again.

Following The Right Cleaning Technique

In order to get the best results, it is always recommended that you follow a methodical procedure. Cleaning your deep fat fryer in stages is probably the best method.

The first stage of cleaning should be to get rid off the used oil that is still in the fryer. If this oil has been recently used, wait for it to cool down before removing it. Waste oil should be removed and stored in a waste container so that it can be safely disposed off. 

The bottom surface and side walls of a deep fat fryer may be frequently coated with charred food debris when it has not been cleaned over an extended period of time. You may use a putty knife or any other scraping tool to dislodge these food deposits from the walls of your fryer. When you have removed all residues from the interior surfaces, gather them and get rid of them.

Once all residues are removed you can move on to degreasing and cleaning the deep fat fryer. You can use water with a few drops of dishwashing soap to fill the fryer. Switch on the fryer and allow the water to boil. Leave it for a few minutes before turning off the fryer. Allow the water to cool completely before discarding this soapy water. Use a clean dry cloth or paper towels to dry out the deep fat fryer. Run your hand over the surfaces of the deep fat fryer to check for any greasiness. If your hand is clear, refill the appliance with water to remove all traces of the soap.

If the grease residue is persistent make a degreasing solution with water and vinegar. Dilute 1 part of vinegar with approximately 9 parts of water. Wet a sponge with this cleaning fluid and rub down the inside surfaces of the deep fat fryer. The fryer can then be wiped dry with the aid of paper towels. Vinegar is a potent degreasing agent and should be able to remove any traces of oil.

Other Methods For Cleaning A Deep Fat Fryer

There are several alternative methods and products that may be used for cleaning a deep fat fryer. These can help maintain your fryer efficiently and avoid most deep fat fryer problems.

 Using Vinegar - If your deep fat fryer has developed substantial residues of solid grease, vinegar can prove to be a highly efficient cleaning solution. Dilute half a cup of distilled white vinegar with boiling water (about 2 quarts). This solution may be poured out into the deep fat fryer. You may add more hot water if this solution does not fill the fryer adequately. Let this hot solution soak in the fryer for about 30 minutes. The acidic nature of the vinegar allows it to cut through and dissolve any grease deposits. Moreover, this is a non-toxic cleaner that is safe for use on almost any type of surface. Pour out the diluted vinegar and wipe down the fryer with a cloth or sponge.

Commercial Degreasers - These are usually available as sprays and can greatly simplify grease removal. Any degreaser that contains orange oil can be extremely effective in dealing with vegetable oil deposits. This type of spray makes it easy to dissolve any grease that may be attached to the handles and other hard to reach areas. In general, the deep fat fryer should be allowed to cool and must be unplugged before you use a commercial degreaser. After spraying, let the degreaser rest for the prescribed period of time, before wiping away with a cloth. The use of a microfiber cloth is highly recommended.

WD 40 - If you are dealing with particularly stubborn, old oil stains, you may consider the use of a commercial lubricant. Spraying this lubricant directly on a stain can help loosen the stain particles. This makes it easier to get rid of these stains. However, if you make use of such products, it is necessary to wash and rinse the deep fat fryer thoroughly. No traces of these products should be allowed to remain.

Borax - Is not technically a cleaning agent, but may be used to get rid off that nasty rancid oil smell that tends to afflict deep fat fryers. Mix Borax powder with water until it forms a thick paste. Spread this paste across the inside walls of the fryer and the basket. Let the paste rest for a few minutes. (About 5 minutes should be enough) Before the paste dries out, you should scrub the fryer surfaces using water and a nylon scouring pad. Wash down all the surfaces with water after scrubbing and make sure that all traces of the powder have been completely washed away. You may then dry out the fryer with paper towels. If the smell remains persistent, simply pour out some Borax powder in the fryer and leave it for 24-48 hours before washing off. An alternative to Borax is baking soda.

Some Safety Tips While Using A Deep Fat Fryer


  • As far as possible do not allow the oil level to rise above 1/3 of the pan height
  • Avoid any quick sudden movements of the pan once the oil has reached cooking temperature
  • The temperature of the cooking oil may be checked by dropping small portions of food in it
  • If there is a lot of smoke emanating from the cooking oil, then it has overheated and you should not cook anything in it. This is a fire hazard and the oil should be allowed to cool
  • Do not leave the fryer unattended while it is being used
  • Make sure that the electrical cords are safely tucked away during use. If it is allowed to run along the floor there is every possibility that someone could trip over the wire and displace the hot oil
  • A deep fat fryer that lacks an adjustable thermostat requires extra care, especially while adding food items that need to be fried. If the oil temperature is too high there is the possibility of hot oil spraying.


Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared as a guide only and the steps taken are likely to vary for different appliance models. We strongly recommend using a qualified engineer to undertake major repairs and fault finding.


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