Cleaning is one of the most important tasks when owning or using a flat top grill. It’s key to preventing food from sticking to the grill and creating damaging grease buildup (which can lead to rust).
When it comes to cleaning your flat top’s dirty grill, different methods are used depending on the material.
Some people use steam, others prefer water and soap, and some use special sprays or cleaners.
In this article, you’ll find 9 cleaning methods for how to clean a flat top grill, which will help you save time and money, but also make sure that your grill stays in tip-top shape.
Let’s dive in!
Why cleaning the flat top grills so important?
Because it’s one of the most essential BBQ equipment, cleaning your flat top grill is a must. A dirty flat top grill can harbor bacteria that can cause food poisoning—so be sure to clean them regularly so you don’t give yourself (or your family!) any reason to worry about health.
When to deep clean flat top grill
When grease starts to build up
If you notice your flat top grill becoming greasy, it’s time to give it a thorough cleaning! Leftover grease buildup is the most common cause of dirty flat top grills.
When food is stuck to the grill’s surface
When you cook something that sticks to the surface of your flat top grill, such as eggs or bacon, you should clean it so that residue doesn’t build up over time and cause your grill to look bad or even rust.
Another common issue with flat top grills is rust, which is difficult to completely avoid! It occurs when metal parts of your grill come into contact with water or steam while in use and rust over time—usually within six months of first use.
Cleaning flat tops – deep cleaning vs. routine cleaning
These are the two types of cleaning methods for your flat top grill.
Deep cleaning is the most effective way to keep a flat-top grill clean, but it isn’t necessary every time you cook.
When you start to notice the above-mentioned signs, you know it’s time to give your flat top some proper care. Deep cleaning your stove helps remove grease, food debris buildup, as well as rust and corrosion. This will help to keep your stove in good working condition and prevent future problems.
Routine cleaning is the best way to get rid of grime and dirt that accumulates over time on your flat top grill. You can do this by simply wiping down the top with a bench scraper and a damp cloth after every use.
Tools you will need to clean a flat top grill
- Metal bench scraper (grill scraper)
- Paper Towel or Dish Rag
- Your oil of choice for seasoning
How to clean a flat top grill
The process for cleaning a flat top grill is pretty straightforward:
Now, let’s dig a little deeper into every step so you can easily clean your flat top grills in no time!
Step 1: Clean while you’re cooking
Did you know that when you’re cooking, the surface of your flat top grill starts to build up grease and residue? It’s true! But don’t worry—it’s an easy problem to fix.
When this happens, simply scrape it down into the grease trough with your bench scraper. Removing the residue while it’s still hot will make cleaning the flat top grill much easier later.
Step 2: When your food is almost cooked, turn the gas off
When your food is 100% cooked, you may notice a layer of grease on the surface of your grill. This is normal! It’s not an indicator of poor cooking, but it’s important to note that it can lead to some sticky situations.
You can avoid this by turning off your flat top burners when your food has about 95% finished cooking. If you let the food sit for too long without turning off the burners, then the residual heat from the griddle will continue to cook it until it’s done.
When this happens, all the leftover juices from whatever you were cooking will start to burn on, making your flat top more difficult to clean.
When you turn off the heat, the surface cools slightly, and food is less likely to stick to it if you wait until you’ve removed all traces of grease before turning off the burner.
Step 3: Scrape all the leftover food debris and residue away with a metal bench scraper
Scrape the surface of the grill immediately after cooking with a metal bench scraper, putting any leftover residue into the grease trough.
If there are any larger pieces of food debris, simply scoop them up with the side of your spatula against the side wall of the flat top and throw them away.
Step 4: Wipe down the grilling surface with a paper towel or rag.
To begin, ensure that your griddle is clean and free of food particles. Then, using paper towels or a rag, wipe down the surface while the cooking surface is still warm
Remember to wipe down all areas of the griddle, including the inside and outside of the sidewalls, as well as the grease trough area.
This will help to dry off the grill and keep it from rusting, as well as distribute residual grease or oil on top of the flat top to protect and season it.
You can Gather a few more paper towels or rags to use as needed during this cleaning process
Step 5: Apply a thin layer of seasoning to season the cooking surface
It’s time to finish up your grill! You’ve spent some time and effort cleaning it, and now it’s ready for use.
But before you put it in storage, you’ll want to apply a thin layer of seasoning to season the cooking surface.
This will help ensure that your grill stays clean, prevents rust, and is ready for use at all times.
Other methods for how to clean a flat top grill (without chemicals)
1. Vinegar and Water Mixture
The vinegar and water mixture is one of the best ways to clean flat top grills without using chemicals. You can use it on any surface, including iron and stainless steel flat. This method will not damage your grill in any way.
Just simply follow every step below!
1. Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/3 cup of warm water in a bottle.
2. Spray the mixture on the entire cooking surface when it’s hot, and let it sit there for about 10 minutes
3. Use a damp rag or a few paper towels to remove any grease or food particles that may be stuck to the surface.
4. Wipe down with a clean towel to remove any residue left behind.
2. Onion Scrubbing
If you want to try something different than the conventional cleaning methods. Onion is a good choice, and it works perfectly with your flat tops.
This is how you do it.
- Simply cut a medium-sized onion in half.
- Scrub it for at least five to seven minutes on a hot grill.
- Continue onion scrubbing for about two more minutes after you see the food debris coming off the surface. This will remove any food sticks and sauces that have become hard during the cooking process.
- After that, wipe away all the debris, and you’ll have a completely clean, ready-to-use flat top grill in front of you.
3. Using brewed coffee
If you’ve got a flat-top grill, chances are pretty good that you’re using brewed coffee to clean it. And I have some good news for you: it works!
Step 1: Make sure the grill is completely cooled down and dry. Then pour about a cup of water into the flat top grill surface, and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.
Step 2: As soon as you’re ready, pour leftover brewed coffee into the water (you want it to be at least 3/4 full).
Step 3: Stir thoroughly and then let sit for about 10 minutes. Then give the grill a good scrub with a grill brush and rinse out any leftover residue.
4. Steam Method
If you’re wondering how to clean a flat top grill without using chemicals, keep the steam method in mind. Don’t doubt its cleaning power, it will produce satisfactory results.
The steam method is also suitable for cleaning other kinds of grills as well. It’s a tried and true method that can be easily followed by anyone who knows how to use it.
So what are you waiting for? Get started now!
Step 1: Switch on your grill and let it heat up.
Step 2: Take a wire brush and remove all the baked-on food from the grill surface before adding anything else.
Step 3. Once you’ve scraped away all that residue with a grill scraper, pour haft cup of warm water onto the surface of your flat top grill.
Step 4. Cover your grill with the lid (or anything else that will keep light out) so that steam can build up inside it—this will work as a powerful cleaning agent!
Step 5. Once steam starts building in your grill, uncover it and wipe away any remaining residue and water with a damp rag or sponge; you want nothing but shiny, clean surfaces when you’re ready to cook again
5. Beer Cleaner
Beer is good for removing grease buildup and residue that may be on your flat top grill. It also helps scrub off any build-up on the grill surface.
To clean your flat top grill, you’ll need the following:
– A can of beer (I recommend a light one)
– A grill brush
– Paper towels
Here are my tips for cleaning your flat top grill with beer:
Step 1: Pour the beer onto the griddle surface, making sure to cover all sides.
Step 2: Now, take a grill brush and scrub away at any thick layers or stains that are difficult to be removed with other cleaners.
Step 3: Wipe all of the beer off the grill with paper towels and thoroughly dry it.
6. Lemon Juice and Soda Water
Here are the steps to clean a flat top grill with just 2 simple ingredients: Lemon Juice & Soda Water
Step 1: Heat up your grill to loosen up any food particles. This will help prevent rust and keep your flat top grill looking fresh!
Step 2: Mix lemon juice and soda together. Pour the mixture onto the hot griddle and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
At this step, you can also use a wire sponge or a heat-resistant grill squeegee to scrape off any debris that may be stuck in the cracks of your griddle.
Step 3: Drain out all liquid using the removable grease cup.
7. Raw Vinegar
Step 1: Pour raw vinegar onto the entire surface of the flat top grill. You can use a scouring pad to make small circles around the flat top. Right away, you can see the grease start to come loose.
Step 2: Wash your flat top grill with cold water. Dry it out with a paper towel before using it again.
8. Grill Brick
Grill brick is an excellent cleaning tool for a flat top grill. They do not absorb grease and dirt from the griddle, so you do not need to scrub the cooking surface aggressively to remove all of the grime.
Step 1: Pour oil onto an already hot flat top grill.
Step 2: Move the grill brick from the front-to-back circular motion on the surface. The pumice from the brick should be used to break up grease buildup.
Step 3. Rinse the griddle with hot water and dry it with a paper towel after cleaning it.
What NOT to do when cleaning a flat top grill
Do NOT use the bench scraper back and forth in a cutting-like motion.
If you are using the bench scraper, make sure you hold it down flat against the surface of the griddle and scrub in one direction only.
You should also make sure that the entire edge of the griddle scraper is touching the griddle surface at the same time.
If you don’t use the bench scraper tool correctly, you can do a lot of damage to the surface of the griddle
Do NOT clean your flat top griddle with ice
If you’re thinking about using ice to clean your flat top grill, I have some bad news: DON’T.
Ice is a great tool for keeping food at the perfect temperature and quickly cooling down hot surfaces, but it can also cause damage to your flat top griddle if you use it as a cleaning agent.
Do NOT use steel wool or steel wool pads on your flat top grill.
These can scratch or damage your flat top grill’s surfaces and cause rust stains over time.
Do NOT use cleaning sprays, dishwashing liquid, or solvents on your flat top grill
If the cleaners you use aren’t made for a flat top grill, don’t use them to clean your grill. These sprays are usually toxic and may cause skin irritation if inhaled or ingested, so use caution when working around these products!
Is it best to clean a griddle when hot?
Cleaning a hot griddle is usually the best way to go, especially if you want to ensure that all of the food residues has been removed from the surface.
The reason for this is simple: when hot, the griddle will be easier to clean. This is because food residue, when hot, tends to stick less strongly to the surface of a griddle than it does when it cools down.
When you want to clean a grill that hasn’t been cleaned for years, you should start with a good scrubbing with hot soap and water (although this method is not good for cleaning your grill regularly). If you have stubborn stains, try using some vinegar or lemon juice to remove them. It might take a few applications of either one before the grill is clean enough for use again.
To sum up
As you can see, you have many different methods on how to clean a flat top grill.
There isn’t any one-fit-all cleaning method, but they all do the same thing: they remove food residue and bacteria that can affect the flavor of your food.
The best method will largely depend on what you’re comfortable using, but I think most people will opt for a combination of baking soda and vinegar.
That’s a good choice, as both products are natural and effective without being too aggressive on your grill.
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