Grills are great tools for cooking food at home. They come in handy for outdoor parties or barbecues.
Grilling is a fun way to enjoy delicious meals wherever you go. However, they can get dirty very easily with each use.
This is the reason why you need to clean them regularly. Cleaning your grill is also important because it prevents bacteria growth which can result in health issues.
We put together the ultimate guide to help you clean and maintain your grill, so you can enjoy plenty of BBQs.
Signs That You Need To Clean Your Grill
First off, how do you know when it’s time to clean your grill? Here are some signs that will help you determine if it’s time:
The Grill Is Covered In Grease
This means that there has been a lot of grilling going on. The grease gets stuck on the surface of the grill. It’s best to wipe this off before using the grill again.
Smoke When Cooking On The Grill
If you smell smoke while cooking, then it is probably from the old food burning. This will affect the taste of the new food you want to put on top.
Food Is Sticking On The Grill
The most obvious sign that your grill needs cleaning is when there is food stuck on the surface.
You should be able to remove all the food from the grill without any trouble. If you have difficulty removing the food, then it’s time for some serious cleaning.
Your Grill Has Been Sitting Idle For Long Periods Of Time
If you notice that your grill hasn’t been used for quite some time, then it’d be best to give it a good cleaning.
It’s not uncommon for people to leave their grill unattended for weeks or months during the winter.
When you don’t clean your grill regularly, it can become dusty. It can even develop mold and mildew over time.
Spots Of Rust And Dirt On The Grill
Rusty spots are common on the surface of the metal grill. These spots are usually caused by oil buildup.
However, rust stains can appear anywhere on the grill including the handles and knobs.
These spots can usually be removed very easily with our below cleaning steps.
The Grill Does Not Heat Up Properly
A grill that doesn’t heat up properly is never a good thing. There are several reasons why your grill may not heat up as expected.
One of these reasons could be that the burners aren’t working correctly. Another possibility is that the gas valve isn’t open.
When a grill hasn’t been cleaned in a while, then the oil and fat film on the grill’s surface can block the heat from coming through.
Routine Grill Clean
It’s not difficult to keep your top flat grill in top shape. All it takes is a wipe of the cooking surface for a regular grill clean.
You should also deep clean your grill every 3-6 months. This depends on how often you use the grill and how dirty it gets.
How To Deep Clean Your Flat Top Grill
Now and then, your grill will need a more thorough clean to ensure that it runs properly and that the cooking surface is free of any bacteria.
With a deep clean, you can make your grill look like new, which means you will also need to re-season it before you use it next time.
We’ll take a look at how to do this below.
Check Your Grill’s Surface Material
Before you start cleaning, check the material of the grill. You should find out what type of material the grill is made of.
The cleaning will depend on what type of grill surface you have. As a rule of thumb, with a chrome top griddle, you should never use any abrasive cleaners or brushes.
This could seriously damage the grill and would void its warranty. If you are not sure about the material of your grill’s surface, it’s best to check with the manufacturer before cleaning your grill.
Materials For Cleaning Your Flat Top Grill
There are several things you will need to clean your grill thoroughly. All these things are either available at your normal household store or from your grill manufacturer as accessories.
To get rid of stubborn grease and grime, warm water is needed. Warm water is ideal because it softens the grease and dirt.
You can also use warm water to remove surface food particles to start with. But you will need some of the water later as well.
If you want to clean the entire surface of your grill, you will need a scraper. A griddle scraper is a handy tool to easily remove all the debris and grease from the surface of the grill.
For some people, dish soap works just fine. However, if you prefer using something different for more stubborn stains, you can always try using baking soda instead.
What cleaning agent you want to use depends very much on your grill’s cooking surface. Most grills have a stainless steel surface, so you will need a stainless steel cleaner for this.
Dish Cloths Or Microfiber Cloths
Dishcloths or microfiber cloths are always handy to have at hand when you are cleaning. And cleaning your grill is no different.
They are also perfect for removing excess oil and grime from the grill.
The vegetable oil is for re-seasoning your grill after the cleaning process. You can also use other oils such as olive oil or canola oil.
This depends on what seasoning you like with your barbecue.
Cleaning A Stainless Steel Flat Top Grill
Stainless steel flat-top grills require special care. They are used in commercial kitchens and most normal household grills.
First, turn your grill on and bring it up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the grill surface is hot, scrape the flat top surface with your griddle scraper.
You want to make sure that all the grease and debris are removed. If you put some of the warm water on the griddle top, the grease will start to evaporate.
You must use warm water here because cold water would damage the surface.
Working with these hot temperatures, it’s important to make sure that you don’t burn your hands. The rising steam will also be extremely hot, so be careful.
When you are done with the scraping, allow the surface to cool down a little. Rinse the top surface with warm water and wipe it with one of the cloths.
Next, you need to apply the stainless steel cleaner by using the dishcloth. The majority of cleaners come in a handy spray bottle, so you can just apply it by spraying it onto the grill’s surface.
Use the dishcloth to wipe it clean and dry. When you are sure the surface is fully dry, you can re-season it. We’ll cover this step below.
Cleaning A Chrome Flat Top Grill
Although they are more expensive, chrome grills are popular among home cooks. It has a shiny finish that looks great on any outdoor kitchen.
However, chrome grills are prone to rusting over time. This means that they will lose their shine and become duller over time.
To clean a chrome-plated griddle, you will need to use a griddle brush instead of the griddle scrub. The brush is much softer and won’t damage the chrome surface.
To start cleaning, bring your grill to a temperature of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on how dirty your grill is, you may want to use your griddle scraper first to get the wort of the debris off.
Then pour some warm water over the grill surface. Now take your softer grill brush and gently scrape off any remaining food or debris from the surface.
You will need to brush until the surface is properly clean. When you are finished with the cleaning, allow the grill to cool down and wipe the surface dry using your microfiber cloth or dishcloth.
Take some food-safe polish and apply this to the chrome surface of the flat top grill. The polish should be non-abrasive, so it does not cause any damage to the chrome.
Use another rag or cloth to wipe the polish off.
How To Re-season A Top Flat Grill
Once you have cleaned your grill, you will need to re-season it. You can do this by applying a good quality oil. There are many different types of oils that you can use for this.
Re-seasoning will restore the non-stick element of your top flat grill, so you can use it immediately for your next barbecue.
To season your flat top grill, you need to first heat it up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and allow it to burn for at least half an hour.
Then turn the grill off and allow the flat surface to cool down, so it’s safe to touch. With the surface still warm, apply a thin coat of vegetable oil (or other seasoning oil) to the whole grill surface.
You can use a clean cloth for this to ensure the oil is evenly distributed, and the film is very thin.
Next, turn the grill back on and get the temperature up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit again. When you notice the oil is smoking, you can now turn the grill off again.
Once the surface has fully cooled down, you simply wipe the surface with a clean cloth to remove the rest of the oil.
This process essentially allows you to bake a layer of oil into your grill surface. This will create the non-sticky property of the grill, and it will also give your food a much better taste.
How To Regularly Clean Your Flat Top Grill
Although deep cleaning your flat top grill doesn’t take very long, it’s not always necessary. If you keep your grill well maintained, then regular cleaning will suffice.
If you don’t regularly clean your grill, then the grease and residue left behind will build up over time. This will eventually lead to corrosion and discoloration of the grill surface.
So if you regularly use your grill, then giving it a quick clean after each use can save you a lot of time and hassle.
Here are our top tips on how to extend the life of your grill and keep it looking shiny for longer.
The biggest problem when it comes to keeping your flat top grill in tip-top condition is the buildup of food residue on the surface.
It’s important to remember that most foods contain fats and proteins which can leave a sticky mess on your grill.
When cooking meat, you’ll want to make sure to scrape all the excess fat from the surface after you are done.
You can use a griddle brush or grill scraper to remove any stubborn food leftovers. However, be careful as some abrasive brushes easily scratch your grill surface.
For routine cleaning, you may just need a soft grill brush to remove newly baked in food.
Clean The Surface
After removing the food, you should wash away any leftover bits using some water.
You can also use a non-abrasive grill cleaner which is usually made of soap and water.
Now that you’ve washed away the food particles, you’ll want to dry the surface thoroughly.
A towel works great for this purpose. Simply place the towel over the surface and rub it until there are no more wet patches.
Some people prefer to re-season their flat top grill after each use. This tops up the seasoning and builds the flavor over time.
Others prefer to only apply a coat of seasoning oil when they are doing a deep clean. This depends on your personal preference.
How To Clean Your Flat Top Grill Without Chemicals
There are many ways to clean your flat top grill without harmful chemicals. Here are some of the best methods we recommend.
Wash With Soap And Water
Using hot soapy water is one of the safest and easiest ways to clean your grill. All you have to do is fill a sink or bucket with warm water and add dishwashing liquid.
You can also add a few drops of lemon juice to help prevent rust.
Use A Brush Or Scraper
For those who like to avoid harsh chemicals, a grill brush or grill scraper is an ideal alternative.
These tools are designed to scrub away dirt and grime while leaving your surface unharmed.
Make Sure It Is Dry Before Re-Seasoning
Before applying any type of seasoning, make sure the surface is completely dry. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your surface.
To finish off your cleaning process, apply a coat of oil. Some people prefer to use vegetable oil, but others favor olive oil.
Whatever you choose, make sure to apply a thin layer of oil over the entire surface. You can either use a spray bottle or dip a rag into the oil and wipe it across the surface.
Once applied, let it sit for about 30 minutes before wiping it away.
How To Make A Flat Top Grill Non-Stick
If you’re looking to keep your grill free of stuck-on food, then you’ll need to season it.
The best way to achieve this is by washing it first. You can use a mild detergent such as dishwashing liquid, or you can go for something stronger if you’d like.
Next, follow this method:
1) Apply a light coating of oil.
2) Let it sit for at least half an hour.
3) Wipe away any excess oil.
You mustn’t use too much, as it can make your grill sticker.
The oil will create a thin film that will act as a non-stick surface. Not only will a seasoned grill make your food taste better, but it’ll also be much easier to clean.
Flat top grills are very versatile pieces of equipment. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be used for everything from cooking burgers to roasting whole chickens.
They are relatively easy to maintain, and most require little maintenance. However, regular cleaning is still important.
We hope our guide has helped you to properly care for your flat top grill.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use Vinegar To Clean A Flat Top Grill?
Yes! As long as you use the right amount, vinegar is a safe and effective tool for cleaning your grill.
However, you should never use vinegar in its pure form. Instead, mix it with water. This helps neutralize the acidity level.
How Do You Clean A Flat Top Grill With Baking Soda?
Baking soda is a popular option for cleaning a flat top grill. Mix baking soda with water and pour it on your grill’s surface.
Then use a grill scraper or brush to scrub the surface. Rinse the surface with warm water when you are done cleaning.