Grills are very versatile cooking equipment. They can cook almost anything from seared steaks to burgers or sausages.
That is why it is inevitable that after some time, they garner a combination of grease, gunk, food residuals, dust, and other dirt that might lower the quality of cooking on the grill.
Flat top grills are a good example of this, especially because they have a flat surface that catches all the food on it.
After a while, flat top grills also tend to develop soot or burn marks on the cooking surface, which are really hard to remove with just a simple wipe with water and a brush.
So with this post will share with you how to properly clean your flat top grill, when to deep clean it, and what to do for your routine cleaning.
How Often To Clean A Flat To Grill
Light cleaning should be done after every use of your flat top grill. Deep cleaning is only necessary if the flat top grill is super dirty with built-up gunk.
There should be a routine cleaning for flat top grills, and it should be done to remove any of the loose dirt and food residues on the grill after you cook on it.
The light cleaning activity you do after every cookout helps the flat top grill last longer and ensures that the next recipe you cook on it will taste great.
Deep cleaning of the flat top grill is only needed every 4 to 6 months, depending on the frequency of use. If you use it weekly, it is best to deep clean the flat top grill every 4 months.
When you deep clean your flat top grill, you remove the seasoning of the cooking surface which gives it the non-stick capability developed by repeatedly cooking on it.
That is why deep cleaning your flat top grill should only be done when necessary.
Tools Needed to clean a flat top grill
Scraper is essential when you plan on cleaning your flat top grill as this helps you remove all the gunk and stubborn food particles stuck to the grill.
A metal scraper helps you put some pressure on your flat top grill to remove all the oil and residue that accumulates at the end of the cooking session.
2. Grill scrub pad
This is another tool that you should have to remove the dirt and debris from the grill. It is similar to a dishwashing sponge; you can easily get these at a local store.
You can also use a cloth rag instead of a grill scrub pad but just be careful while using a cloth rag as not to burn yourself.
3. Griddle Pad Holder
A griddle pad holder is important to hold your grill scrub pad since you will clean the griddle / flat top grill when it is hot.
This can be an extremely useful tool, so get one of these to ensure you do not burn your hands while cleaning a grill.
4. Flat top grill Cleaner
This is pretty much up to you since you can use any kind of flat top grill cleaner you like.
We have a few home remedies below, but if you want to buy them, you have all-natural flat top grill cleaners that are a perfect fit for this job.
Different things to use To Clean A Flat Top Grill!
So here are the most recommended cleaning methods or solutions on the internet, and we are here to see if they really work or not.
Vinegar is one of the most effective cleaning agents you can use to clean a flattop grill. You can either apply it as it is or mix it with water to clean the surface.
Because of the acidic nature of vinegar, it does well in removing stubborn stains and food residues. While it cleans the surface, it also does not remove the seasoning of the grill.
So while the grill is on high, spray some of your vinegar or solution on the grill and see the black residue come off. Repeat this process until the cooking surface is clean as new.
2. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice works like a charm because of the natural citric acid the fruit has. It is like vinegar but is preferred by most because of the smell it produces.
The downside of vinegar is that it smells, and lemon juice does the same job with a more pleasing aroma. It removes some meaty smell from your grill, making it a great natural odor killer.
Like with vinegar, you must mix the lemon juice with water and then spray it on the grill. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, and then start scrubbing off the dirt.
3. Dishwashing Soap
Dishwashing soap or liquid is another cleaning agent you can use to clean your flattop grill. However, I recommend diluting it first in water before applying it to the grill.
Dishwashing soap can get stuck in between corners and scratches on the flat top grill and can ruin the flavor of your food, so it is not advisable to use it too often.
Blackstone, one of the best griddle makers in the industry, only recommends using soap when washing their griddle before the first time.
Diluting it first will help reduce the amount of soap stuck on the surface while still being effective at cleaning. Make sure to rinse the grill thoroughly after cleaning it with dishwashing soap.
4. Baking Soda
You can use baking soda to clean your flat top grill. It does not emit too much odor and is effective in removing stubborn grease and stains.
All you need to do is dampen the surface by pouring water on the grill’s surface. Sprinkle baking soda on the wet surface and wait for about 10 minutes.
Use a sponge or a grill brush to scrub off the grease and dirt from the surface. Having done its magic, the baking soda will clean the flat top grill cooking surface effectively.
Pouring beer onto a warm flat top grill will help loosen up and remove the stubborn stains. This is possible because of both carbonation and alcohol in the beer.
With the help of a wire brush or some crumpled-up newspapers, you can remove most of the dirt from your flat top grill once the beer dissolves them.
Rinse the flat top grill, let it dry, and then it will be ready for cooking again!
6. With Ice
No, this is an absolute no-go as ice can damage your flat top grill irreparably. Some think creating steam with ice will help loosen up debris, but this is not the way to do it.
Putting ice on a warm grill will only introduce the cooking surface to a drastic temperature change.
Thermal shock can cause the steel cooking surface to warp or even crack. So it is best NOT to use ice on your flattop grill.
7. Without Chemicals
Cleaning your flat top grill without any harsh and harmful chemicals is possible. I highly recommend it so you do not have to worry about leaving chemical smells on your grill.
There are many non-chemical ways to clean your flattop grill, just like the ones mentioned in this article and in another section of this post.
Here are some of the common no-chemical solutions for cleaning your flat top grill:
- Steam (use only warm water, so the cooking surface does not go into thermal shock)
- Vinegar And Water Solution
- Brewed Coffee
- Onion (As a scrubbing agent)
- Lemon Juice
These solutions will make sure to clean your flat-top grill without leaving any traces of chemicals that can ruin the flavors of your recipe.
Routine Cleaning Of A Flat Top Grill
This part is a very simple process that you have to do after every cooking session to help your flat top grill last longer and be ready for your next cooking session.
What You Need:
- Grill scraper
- Paper towel/rag
- Warm water on a spray bottle
- Vegetable oil
1. Scrape Off Residuals
After using your flat top grill, scrape off any loose food residue and grease using a scraper. Let them fall onto the grease catcher of your flat top grill.
2. Loosen Up The Dirt
Use warm water, spray it on the cooking surface, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Rinse the cooking surface well.
3. Clean Up
Using a clean rag or paper towel, wipe up the surface of the flat top grill until it is dry. Removing any moisture from the surface is crucial to prevent rust and corrosion.
4. Season The Grill
Re-seasoning your flat top grill is not needed every time but it will help if you apply a very thin layer of vegetable oil on the cooking surface.
This will also help protect the steel from rust and corrosion as the oil blocks any moisture from getting to the grill.
When Do You Need To Deep Clean A Flat Top Grill?
While some recommend that you deep clean your flat top grill twice or thrice a year, it depends on how often you use the flat top grill.
One thing is for sure, though, you do not have to deep clean your flat top grill every time you use it.
Some of the common signs that your flat top grill needs deep cleaning and re-seasoning are:
- Grimes sticking to the surface.
- Food particles not coming off.
- Discoloration in some areas.
- Uneven heat on the cooking surface.
- Flavors or smells stuck on the grill transfers to the food you are cooking.
How To Deep Clean A Flat Top Grill
If you see the signs above, it is time to deep clean your flat top grill.
There are different ways and solutions that you can use to clean a flat top grill. This one we chose because it is the least-damaging cleaning technique that prevents using too many chemicals.
What You Need:
– Warm water
– 3 dishcloths
– Griddle scraper
– Griddle scrub holder
– Stainless steel cleaner
– Vegetable Oil
– Paper Towels
– Heat-resistant Gloves
CLEANING A STAINLESS STEEL FLAT TOP GRILL
Step 1: Turn Up The Heat
Turn the grill on and let it preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This will cook the food particles left on the cooking surface to a crisp so get the grill nice and hot.
After it heats up to the desired temperature, get your griddle scraper, and get as many food residuals that you can by scraping them off of the cooking surface.
Step 2. Pour the Warm Water
Pour the warm water directly on the cooking surface and let the grease boil off.
Make sure to use safety gloves because the steam might still burn you even if you do not touch the hot surface. Use warm water only to prevent damaging the grill from thermal shock.
Step 3: Scrubbing
Once the cooking surface has cooled off, set up the griddle scrub to the holder and screen. Scrub the surface and try to get rid of all the stains on the cooking surface and sides of the grill.
Rinse the surface with slightly warm water and then let it dry. You can also wipe it with the dishcloth to avoid leaving watermarks on the grill’s surface.
Step 4: Apply Stainless Steel Cleaner
Get the clean dishcloth and then apply the stainless steel cleaner on the cloth. Make sure the surface is wiped dry and clean before applying the stainless steel cleaner on the grill.
Step 5: Re-season Your Flat Top Grill
Pat the flat-top grill dry and then re-season it. Put a tablespoon of oil on the cooking surface, and then use a paper towel to spread the oil thinly over the grill.
Heat the grill once again to get the oil stuck to the cooking surface. Read more for a detailed guide below on seasoning your flat top grill.
How To Season Flat Top Grill Before The First Use?
Once your flat top griddle arrives, you cannot use it right away. You need to remove any impurities and dirt from the manufacturing process.
This will ensure that the flat top grill is safe to use and will not put any chemicals on your food.
What You Will Need
- Vegetable oil or other high-smoke point oil.
- Grill tongs
- Paper towels
- Cloth dampened with water.
Step 1: Wipe The Grill
Try to remove any dust and impurities from the flat top grill by cleaning it with the damp cloth or towel you have.
Step 2: Heat Up The Grill
Once it is clean, heat up the grill by turning the burners to high and then allow the flat top grill to preheat for about 15 minutes.
Step 3: Apply The Oil
Once the grill is hot, pour some cooking oil onto the cooking surface. Use your tongs to grab a paper towel, and then use it to spread the oil thinly and evenly throughout the grill surface.
Get the oil even to the sides and edges of the cooking surface.
Step 4: Repeat
Once the oil is distributed evenly, let the grill heat up until most of the oil looks burnt onto the cooking surface.
Repeat the process two or three more times. After this, your flat top grill should be seasoned well and ready for your cookouts!
How Often To Season The Flat Top Grill
Your flat top grill should be seasoned weekly if you use it frequently. If you do not use it weekly or daily, then there is no need to season it that often.
Cooking frequently on the flat top grill also improves the seasoning of the cooking surface. So I recommend using it for other recipes.
If you season the flat top grill too often, it might leave residues and taste on the food you cook.
Signs such as the steaks or food sticking on the grill indicate that you should season your flat top grill once again.
Cleaning a flat top grill is only half the challenge. You need to maintain the cleanliness and integrity of the cooking surface to prolong the life of your grill.
With the simple steps presented above, you can be sure your grill will be as clean and good as new when you are done cleaning. Just make sure to use the right tools.
Making sure that your flat top grill is clean and seasoned means that the grill’s life will be prolonged so you can continue making the best recipes for the family!
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