How To Clean A Flat Top Grill (Step-by-Step Guide)


How To Clean A Flat Top Grill

Grilling is one of the most popular ways to bond with friends during the summer and fall months. After all, who doesn’t like to fire up the grill, cook some tasty burgers, and catch up on old times? If you’re lucky enough to have a flat top grill, you might be able to get restaurant-grade food prepared. With every great meal comes a lot of cleanup, though, and that means you will need to clean your flat top grill, too.

Cleaning a flat top grill starts with using a wet sponge and dishwashing detergent to wipe away the excess oil and grime. You can also use a 50/50 vinegar and water mixture to spray down the grill while it’s turned on high. Other popular options include using pure vinegar, lemon juice, as well as beer.

There are a bunch of different ways that you can clean a flat top grill without having to search too far for some supplies. At times, you can even incorporate it into your cooking rhythm. This guide will give you a run-through of all the options that you can choose to use.

How Often Should You Clean Your Flat Top Grill?

Part of owning a flat top is knowing when you should clean it. Culinary experts agree that routine cleaning is required after every cooking session. You should do a more thorough cleaning whenever you see sports of rust, if it’s never been used before, if it’s been out of use for ages, or if you intend to store it without use for a long period of time.

To make sure that you have a truly spotless flat top grill, make sure that you deep clean your grill once a year.

How Do You Clean A Flat Top Grill?

Flat top grills are a standard in restaurants (like burger flipping or hibachis!) as well as a staple in upscale backyards. One of the reasons why is because they can be cleaned with ease and have amazing evenness when it comes to cooking. If you want to make sure that your flat top is sanitized, choose one of these methods.

Since there are a bunch of different ways to clean a flat top grill, we decided to parse them out by whether you’re supposed to do them while they’re hot or cold.

Strike While It’s Hot

  • Mix a 50/50 water and white vinegar solution, turn the heat up, and spray the solution on the flat top. Use a scrubber to scrape all the grit and grease off into a large pile. Keep doing it until you have a single large pile. Then turn the heat off and use more 50/50 to rinse it away. Repeat the process until everything is off the flat top, and drain it away.
  • Mix a cup of lemon juice to three cups of vinegar, and spray it on the hot flat top. The process here is similar to the vinegar and water solution. Grab your scrubber, push around everything into a gunky mess. Then, use more of this mixture to rinse it away.
  • Use warm water to soften up the residue after a sticky cooking session. The amazing thing about a good flat top grill is that you don’t even need to have any extra items on hand. Dropping water on the grill while it’s hot is usually enough to soften the grime that’s stuck to the surface. Then, just use a scraper to get it off the grill. Rinse, repeat until you have a clean grill.
  • Lower the heat and drop some hot oil on the grill. The oil will be able to break down the food, To make the breakdown easier, use a grill stone and rub in small circles until all the extra char is gone.

Strike While It’s Still Warm (Or A Little Cold)

  • Cut an onion in half and use the onion to scrub the grill. If you’re done cooking and have turned off the grill, the flat top will remain warm for a bit. This is a good time to clean it using an onion scrubber. The enzymes and folds in the onion will be enough to pick up grease.
  • Start by scrubbing the still-warm grill with a scrubber, then add a mixture of lemon and soda water to your flat top. This mixture of acid and carbon will usually loosen any remaining grit, and also will help preserve your grill’s flat top.
  • Pour beer on your flat top. If you’re having a harder time with your grill, scrub it to loosen up some of the grime, then pour beer on top. The alcohol will help break down additional grease and show the grill’s original shine in no time.
  • Soak your flat top in coffee. Did your grill get cold? Well, there may be an easier way to work the stains and grease out. Pour a pot of hot coffee and let it soak for 15 minutes. The acids in the coffee will cut through everything, making a “scrape and drain” easy as pie.
  • Use dish soap, water, and a scrubber. Copper scrubbers work best, but sometimes, it’s just all about letting the soap soak for a bit and scrubbing away.

How To Give Your Grill A Deep Cleaning

While a regular cleaning is usually enough to get most grime off your flat top, there will be moments where you will need to have more than just a typical cleanout. A deep clean is a must at least twice every three months. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Turn your flat top grill to 325 degrees. Use your grill scraper across the top of the griddle, doing your best to make sure that you get as much grime as possible off your grill.
  2. Gently pour warm water on the griddle, doing your best to avoid steam hitting you. We suggest leaning away from the griddle for this part.
  3. Turn off the heat and let your griddle cool. While you’re doing this, assemble a griddle scrubbing pad.
  4. Scrub the full surface of your flat top grill. It’s often best to use small circles as your stroke of choice, since this helps “chip” away at stuck food.
  5. Take a rag and apply stainless steel cleaner to it. Place the rag on your grill, and scrub away. The stainless steel cleaner will restore any shine that’s been lost through regular use.
  6. Check the instructions on the cleaner to see if you need to wipe off the residue. Most cleaners will require it. If they do, take another rag and wipe down your flat top grill until the cleaner is no longer present.
  7. Re-season your flat top grill. It’s important to note that flat top grills do not keep their seasoning when cleaned with a steel cleaner. To make sure that your griddle is seasoned properly, follow instructions in your owner’s manual.

Related Questions

Do flat top grills need to be seasoned?

Unlike regular grills, flat top grills are built similar to cast iron cooking devices. They require to have an oil coat that’s properly soaked into the material to ensure that they’re properly seasoned. Olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, and sunflower seed oil are all great choices for seasoning a flat top grill.

Can you get rid of rust on a flat top griddle?

Flat top grills are surprisingly resilient and can have rust removed. To do this, turn the heat up high and use a metal scraper to scrape away the rust. Brush away the corrosion and then add oil to the grill. Use a grill stone to scrub it down. Get a paper towel and wipe down the grill. Add more oil and keep scrubbing, repeating until the rust is all gone. Then, season your grill to prevent rust from growing again.

Can you leave water on a flat top grill?

If you are not using your flat top grill, you should make sure that your griddle is left completely dry. Having sitting water on the grill will only strip away the seasoning that you’ve added and promote the growth of rust. This is why most grill makers insist on storing flat tops in a dry, unlit area with a cover.

Should you use an abrasive scrubber to get a flat top grill clean?

While it may seem like a good idea to use an abrasive scrubber on a flat top grill, it’s actually a pretty bad idea. Abrasive scrubbers are too rough to use on most flat tops, and will only scratch them up. The only time where it’s appropriate to use an abrasive scrubber on your grill is if you have to get rid of rust, or if all other cleaning techniques have failed.

Some grill models will be able to stand their ground against a grill. If you want to see whether or not your grill can be cleaned through an abrasive scrubber, you should check out your owner’s manual or look it up online. Most major manufacturers of flat top grills will have information readily available for you to enjoy.

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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