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How To Clean A Flat Top Grill – Best Practices & Tips For Deep Clean And Regular Upkeep

by Lianne Jones February 22, 2022

How To Clean A Flat Top Grill

The flat-top grill is a staple for cooking those perfect pancakes or eggs sunny-side-up, whilst also being versatile and fun to use.

You can create quality food, great artistry, and good times with a flat top grill, yet those good times will only come if you take good care of this quality piece of equipment.

If you have had your flat-top grills for some time now, you might notice it is becoming a little dirty and a little greasy.

If this is the case, you might be wondering what are the best ways of cleaning the grill.

We have written this article to tell you how to deep clean your personal flat top grill, as well as give you some of our favorite tips for keeping it new and prolonging its overall life. 

Deep Cleaning The Flat Top Grill

Everything needs a deep clean now and again, and the same goes for a flat top grill.

You should every so often take an inventory of your grill to work out whether or not it is time for the next big deep clean.

The deep cleaning process will refresh your cooking process and make it look new again.

However, it takes time and is a thorough cleaning process you will need to schedule to keep your flat top grill in good shape. 

After deep cleaning the flat top grill, you are also going to need to re-season the grill before using it again.

This is because the deep cleaning process is thorough enough that it will also get rid of any seasoning that has built up over time. 

The Griddle Surface Material

You will often find that most flat-top grills you come across will have a stainless steel cooktop.

Higher-end residential units or commercial units might have chrome cooktops, but these are much rarer.

You must know what surface you are dealing with as the deep cleaning process differs depending on this.

You should avoid using abrasive cleaners on a chrome top griddle as this could damage your grill top and make your warranty void.

If you are not sure about the grill’s surface, our best advice would be to contact the manufacturer.

How Do I Know It Is Time To Deep Clean?

If you are wondering what the indicators are of you needing to deep clean your flat top grill, we're’ here to walk you through some of the most common tell-tale signs. 

  • Food Particles Stick to Your Griddle - It can also be the case that burnt food particles are even finding their way into your freshly cooked food. However, what you will often find first is that particles will stick to your griddle top and it will begin to lose its non-stick quality.
  • Flavor Gets Transferred Between Foods - You do not want different flavors from different foods mixing and merging on top of the grill. This can ruin the taste of a meal and if you notice this is happening, it’s time to schedule that deep clean.
  • Food is Not Being Cooked Evenly - You might also notice there are clear hot spots on the griddle top. If you feel like it is becoming harder to cook the food evenly on your flat top grill, it’s time for a deep clean.
  • You See Grease Building on the Griddle Surface - If the grease build-up refuses to budge with your average day-to-day cleaning, a deep clean might be your best option.

What Materials Will I Need?

To clean your flat top grill, you might be wondering what type of materials you are going to need to ensure you do a thorough job. They include: 

Griddle Scraper

This is a must-have tool for flat tops and griddles and any owner should know this.

These tools are versatile and are designed to remove any burnt and caked-on residue easily.

This residue can remain on your surface after cooking and can build up over time. 

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a common oil used in griddle cooking and is used often to season a flat top cooking surface.

You can use canola oil and other oils such as olive oil if you do not have vegetable oil handy but we always recommend keeping some vegetable oil accessible when you own a flat-top grill for best cooking and cleaning results. 

Dish Cloths

Generally, it is a good idea to have a couple of cloths or rags handy to use for wiping down and keeping your griddle tidy when cooking.

They come in handy for multiple scenarios and are vital for a deep cleaning process.

Warm Water

This is the simplest material and you will need it at the end of your flat top grill routine. 

The Process

The Process

Now we have run through the materials and how to spot when it’s time for a deep clean, you might wonder just how you go about starting.

By following this step-by-step guide, your flat top grill should look new again in no time. 

  1. Turn up the heat to 300-350 degrees. After you see that the griddle is hot enough, you will need to reach for your griddle scraper to scrape the surface of your flat top grill. You should try and remove all the food particles, grease, and debris from the surface to the best of your ability.
  2. Next, you will need to pour yourself some warm water and pour this on the griddle’s surface. This will enable you to boil off any grease buildup, but be careful not to let the steam burn you here. It is also important you use only warm water at this step as using cold water could crack or warp the surface due to thermal shock. 
  3. Once the surface has cooled but is still slightly warm, you should put your griddle pad and your screen onto your scrub holder. Scrub firmly the whole surface of your flat top grill before rinsing and wiping clean.
  4. Using one of your rags, you should apply the stainless steel cleaners. Most cleaners come in the form of a spray that you simply use and wipe off again. 
  5. After applying the cleaner, you should ensure you have dried and wiped your surface clean ready to use again. 
  6. Your surface should now be ready to be re-seasoned and cooked on again. 

How Do I Re-Season?

This is the final step in the cleaning process and will prepare it for cooking next time you open your flat-top grill.

This will help rebuild the non-stick attribute to your flat-top grill. To season your griddle, you should follow these steps:

  1. Heat your griddle back up to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You should let it burn for around 30-45 minutes.
  2. Turn off the heat and allow the surface to cool. Whilst it is still warm enough, use a cloth and apply some vegetable oil to the surface. You should coat the whole surface, without using so much oil that it pools up, a thin film will be just fine.
  3. Crank up the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit once more as we are baking a layer of oil right into the griddle. This helps food to not stick and will give you a much better flavor after cooking. On top of this, it will increase the shelf life of your griddle. 
  4. Once you notice the oil starting to smoke, you can turn off the heat.
  5. After the surface has completely cooled, wipe off the excess oil with a spare rag and you are ready to cook those delicious fry-ups again!

Routine Cleaning

The process in the above section of this article refers to the deep cleaning process and if you do not use your flat-top grill too much, you might only need to deep clean every so often.

This might be a lot more frequently if you use your griddle more or if you work in a commercial setting. 

Though deep cleaning can make your grill feel like new again, there are a few things you need to do every time you cook on your piece of equipment to extend the life of your grill and minimize the frequent need for a deep clean.

Here are our top tips:

  • Each time you use the flat-top griddle, use a good-quality griddle scraper to scrape any lingering food particles or grease away.
  • After you have let the flat top cool, spray with some water and allow the surface to be rinsed thoroughly.
  • Use a rag or a clean paper towel to wipe dry. You should avoid pressing too hard to avoid damage to the surface.
  • Professional chefs in some settings often suggest you re-season the griddle every day to gradually build up the seasoning. However, some simply only do it after a deep clean. It comes down to the cook’s personal preference. 

Deep Cleaning A Chrome Flat Top Grill

Deep Cleaning A Chrome Flat Top Grill

If you cook in a commercial kitchen or you cook on a particularly expensive flat-top grill, you might be wondering if the cleaning process is the same as you have a chrome plated griddle.

If this is the case, you should follow the following steps. Note that instead of using a griddle scrub, you should use a much less abrasive griddle brush. 

  1. As you would with a stainless steel cooktop, you should crank the heat to 300-350 degrees. After the top is hot enough, take the griddle scraper and scrape the surface of the flat-top grill. Try to remove all the debris, grease, food particle, and dirt as best as you can. 
  2. Pour some warm water on the surface and scrub. For this step, you should use a much less abrasive griddle brush and repeat until the surface is cleaned thoroughly. 
  3. Allow the surface to cool and once it has cooled, you should start drying with your rag before applying a food-safe polish. Ensure this polish is also non-abrasive.
  4. Wipe down the surface with a dry cloth or rag and ensure all the polish has been entirely removed. You should follow the polish manufacturer's instructions here. Usually, a normal damp cloth will be sufficient. 

Alternate Ways Of Cleaning A Flat Top Grill

We have highlighted the most common way of cleaning your flat-top grill, however, if you do not have these materials on hand, you can use anything from dishwashing detergent to baking soda.

We have highlighted a few other effective ways to extend the life of your flat-top grill with adequate care and regular upkeep using some common kitchen ingredients. 

Vinegar and Water

Turn the heat up and spray a mixture of vinegar and water onto the surface. Use a grill brush and spread the mixture to remove the grease.

Repeat this step until all the mixture has mixed with the debris to form gunk.

Switch off the grill and pour the mixture on top so that it washes away all the remaining gunk. Repeat this process before draining.

Lemon Juice and Water

Here you would follow the same procedure as using vinegar and water but the composition changes to one-third lemon juice and the remaining just water.

Water and Steam

Switch the grill to high heat and scrape away dripping with your griddle brush.

Sprinkle over water and use the brush to spread it over the hot grill. This will soften the residue before draining.

You should add more water to the grill and repeat whilst scraping the softened dripping. Drain the liquid from the surface.

Soda Water and Carbonation

Pour some seltzer water or some club soda onto the grill. The carbonation will act as a loosening agent so you can easily remove any stubborn grease.

Scrub the grill surface in concentric circles using a griddle brick. Get rid of the remaining liquid into the trough and dispose of it safely.


This might seem an odd one, but you can also use an onion to scrub away the surface whilst the grill is still hot and this should detach any dripping leftover. This method is effective for flat-top grills but also works for trays.

Beer Cleaner

You can also pour over a beer on top of your warm flat top grill and scrub away with a newspaper or a wire brush before draining the liquid.


If you use coffee to soften debris on the surface of your flat-top grill, this will help you remove oil and stubborn dirt. Scrape off the residue and don’t forget to drain.

Frequently Asked Questions

What A Flat Top Grill?

A flat-top grill is an appliance used for cooking and resembles a griddle, yet performs slightly differently as the heating element is circular rather than straight or side to side.

It has a flat surface instead of a grate and can be described as a hybrid between a grill and a griddle. 

How Can I Make My Flat Top Grill Non-Stick?

You should always prepare the flat top grill ahead of cooking as otherwise, you could face the food sticking to the surface.

To make sure you avoid running into this issue, you should season your grill regularly.

Before cooking, pour over a small amount of olive oil on the surface and use a rag to rub it in.

This oil will form a protective shield between the food and the grill’s surface, preventing any food from sticking.

A grill that is not sticky will be a lot easier to clean and maintain. You must however take care not to use too much oil as this can worsen the issue and leave your grill even stickier than before.

Can I Restore My Flat Top Grill?

To restore the flat top grill, you only need a couple of simple tools. These tools include oil, a grill stone, a scraper, and paper towels. 

You will need to heat your grill to make it easy to remove food debris and then you will need to turn it off again after around 20 minutes to allow it to cool.

Take your scraper and scrape the surface, paying attention to any rust.

You will then need to pour some more oil onto the grill and use your grill stone to rub.

You will notice your grill might seem extra oily, so you should use paper towels to clean.

Final Thoughts

We hope by reading this article you understand why it is so important to regularly clean your griddle to extend its overall life and keep it working like new.

You should create a deep cleaning schedule to ‘reset’ the cooking process every so often and keep it in the best shape possible but remember, after deep cleaning the flat top grill, you are going to need to re-season the grill before using it again.

We hope our step-by-step instructions help you out and remind you why regular upkeep is so important! Happy grilling!

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