Owning a counter-top deep fryer makes it easy to cook your favorite fried foods at home. Fryers eliminate the need for special equipment like a food-grade thermometer, and most electric fryers have built-in safety features. Though you can reuse the cooking oil several times, the deep fryer itself should be cleaned after every use.

Step 1: Clean the Oil

The cooking oil in a deep fryer can be used many times before it must be discarded, as long as it does not have a bad smell or a dirty appearance, and it doesn't smoke before it reaches the desired frying temperature.

If you want to save and reuse frying oil, make sure all contaminants have been removed prior to storage.

Unplug your fryer and allow the oil to cool. Then, use a mesh wire skimmer to remove any debris floating on top of the oil. Next, pour the oil through a fine mesh strainer and into a clean pot. Don't let any fine debris at the bottom of the fryer go into the strainer. Pour the clean oil into a resealable jar, and store it in a cool, dark place.

Step 2: Clean the Fryer Basket

Once you've removed the oil from the deep fryer and the machine is completely cool, remove the basket and submerge it into hot, soapy water. Be sure to use a dish soap that is also a degreaser. Gently scrub the basket with a soft cloth or sponge before rinsing it with hot water and drying it thoroughly.

Step 3: Clean the Inside of the Fryer

Next, wipe down the inside of the fryer with a clean paper towel to remove excess grease. Many at-home deep fryers have a nonstick interior, but if you notice food stuck to the sides of the fryer, gently scrape it off with a nonabrasive scrubber or a sturdy plastic spatula.

After the bulk of the oil and debris has been wiped from the inside of the fryer, fill it with hot, soapy water. Again, use degreasing dish soap. Scrub the inside of the fryer gently with a soft cloth or sponge, and then rinse it with hot water.

If the inside of the fryer is still sticky, fill it with a solution made from equal parts water and white vinegar. Allow the solution to sit for 5 minutes, and then scrub gently with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse the inside of the fryer again with hot water, and dry it thoroughly.

Step 4: Clean the Outside of the Fryer

If the outside of the deep fryer needs cleaning, wipe it down with a soapy sponge, being careful not to get water into any of the electrical components or into the filter in the fryer’s lid. Then, wipe the machine down with a damp sponge that has been soaked in clean, hot water, again avoiding electrical sockets and the filter.

Dry the outside of the fryer thoroughly. If it's stainless steel, you can use stainless steel wipes to clean the outside of fryer. Allow all parts of the fryer to dry completely before reassembling and using it.