How to Clean a Waffle Iron with Baking Soda


Author: Tosh Lubek Published: 18th March 2021 is supported by its readers. Please assume links on this site are affiliate links or ads, and that I get commissions for purchases made through these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you if you use any of the links.

If you don’t clean your waffle iron after each use, you’ll eventually face a much more difficult clean-up. Gradually thickening oil residues will need a more powerful cleaning method, like using baking soda and vinegar. Briefly, this is what you need to do.

Unplug the waffle iron. Clean off any oil with a paper towel. Apply a baking powder and water paste to the grid plates. Leave for 8-12 hours then spray the paste with white vinegar. Work the fizzing paste with a soft brush to release the grease residues. Then clean up with a paper towel and a damp cloth.

Obviously, that’s an overview of how to clean your waffle iron using baking powder and vinegar. So, here’s what to do in more detail.

Full instructions to clean your waffle maker with baking soda

Baking soda is a fine powder with mild abrasive properties, that’s why it’s safe to use in toothpaste. So, you can use baking soda as a safe scouring powder with extra cleaning properties, due to it being slightly alkali.

You’ll need to get a few things together to clean your waffle iron with baking soda. Obviously the first is baking soda, but I’ll list everything below.

What you will need.

  • Baking soda 
  • Microfiber cloth 
  • Paper towel 
  • Silicone basting/Pastry Brush
  • Spray bottle 
  • Water 
  • White vinegar 
  • Non-stick soft plastic scraper or spatula 
  1. After you have finished cooking your waffles the first thing you need to do is to unplug your waffle iron from the wall outlet. For your own safety make sure the waffle maker is unplugged.
  2. Since the waffle iron needs to cool down, it makes sense for you to go and enjoy some of those delicious waffles you’ve just made. Once you’re done, come back and go to the next step.
  3. Brush away any loose crumbs with the non-stick silicone basting brush.
  4. If any oil has pooled between the grid ridges use a dry paper towel to soak it. You may find it easier if you fold over the paper towel. That way you can get right to the bottom of the grooves in-between the grid ridges. The more oil you can soak up the better.
  5. Depending on the size of your waffle maker and the degree of cleaning that’s required, measure out some baking soda into a small jug or bowl. Add a little cool water and stir together to make a smooth paste. Don’t make it too runny otherwise it’ll run off the waffle maker grids.
  6. Using the non-stick spatula, spoon the baking soda paste onto the dirty grids. Now spread the paste, especially into the grooves between the ridges, with the silicone basting brush. Apply the baking soda paste until the grids are well coated.
  7. Leave the paste on the grids for 8-12 hours, the longer the better. Don’t worry if the baking soda paste has dried, that’s quite normal.
  8. Add the white vinegar to the spray bottle and spritz the baking soda paste. Do one section at a time since the vinegar will activate the baking soda and fizz up. Don’t overdo the vinegar. Adding too much will leave the paste swimming in vinegar and not accelerate the reaction with the baking soda.
  9. Use the non-scratch basting brush or a soft-bristled brush to work the fizzing paste along the grid grooves. Baking soda is an exceptionally fine abrasive that will help scour the grids clean but keep it gentle so that you don’t damage the waffle maker’s non-stick surface. Once you have done one section, spray the next one and repeat the process.
  10. You should now have worked your way through all the waffle maker’s grids. It’ll look a bit messy so use some paper towel to clean up the baking soda residue. Once you have most of it removed, dampen the microfiber cloth, and remove the remaining traces of the baking soda paste.
  11. If you see an oily residue in the grooves use the non-stick spatula to scrape it off.
  12. Clean the microfiber cloth and use it to wipe clean the waffle maker. Then allow air-dry before putting it away.

Why does baking soda clean kitchen appliances so well

Baking Soda, chemically speaking, is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). It’s slightly alkaline or basic, having a pH of 8.4.

Since baking soda is just on the alkaline side of neutral, that’s what makes it such a good cleaning agent. It helps fats and greases dissolve in water, allowing those residues to be removed from the surface of your waffle maker grids.

When you combine baking soda with a little vinegar, you’re adding alkali and acid together. That’s going to cause a chemical reaction, and you can see the result of that reaction as the mix fizzes. That’s carbon dioxide gas being released from the baking powder.

The fizzy reaction also helps detach dirt and grime. So, putting some baking soda onto your sticky waffle maker grid plates, then adding some vinegar will release gas, helping the mix cut through grease.

But don’t worry about the baking soda being alkaline and reacting with the acid in vinegar. It’s only a mild alkali and you’ll find it has numerous uses around your home.

FUN FACT: Baking soda, when heated above 300°F, will release carbon dioxide gas. The reason sponge cake and soda bread rise. 

Obviously, baking soda is used as the raising agent in sponge cake and soda bread. You’ll find baking soda lurking somewhere in your refrigerator because it behaves as a deodorizer by neutralizing acidic odors. You may have had it all over your teeth because it’s used in toothpaste. And as you already know, baking soda can be used as a mild cleaning agent.

FUN FACT: Did you know using a cup of vinegar will kill bacteria and act as a fabric softener when added to the rinse cycle of your wash?

Baking powder with Aluminum lasts longer

Did you know many brands of baking powder contain aluminum?

Yes, it’s true. But why? 

To explain, I need to explain what’s going on when you cook with baking powder. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a heavy science lesson.

Milk is one of the main ingredients in waffle batter, and milk has a pH of about 6.5 to 6.7, which makes it slightly acidic. When you add an acid to the sodium bicarbonate of baking powder, which is slightly alkali, a chemical reaction occurs that releases carbon dioxide gas. It’s that gas that expands the waffle batter, making your waffles light and fluffy and very lovely.

However, that acid-alkali reaction can be quick. By the time you get to ladling the batter for the last batch of waffles, the fizz can have gone flat, and so would your waffles.

That’s where aluminum steps in to be your knight in shining armor. In fact, the aluminum is in the form of aluminum sulfate and/or aluminum phosphate, which don’t react with the sodium bicarbonate until heated in the oven.

This allows the baking powder to provide a sustained lift to your baking. The initial reaction and release of gas gets the rise in cake or batter mix going. When that reaction fades, the aluminum sulfate becomes heat activated and there’s a second kick of carbon dioxide to give your baking a fluffy texture.

FUN FACT: The Calumet Baking Powder Company introduced “double-acting baking powder” in 1889. It contained an acid that reacted with the baking soda quickly, and another that only reacted with the soda once heated in the oven.

Baking powders containing aluminum are known as “double-acting baking powder” because of those two phases of carbon dioxide release.

However, double-acting baking powders don’t always contain aluminum. Monocalcium phosphate can be added to baking soda, together they react to release carbon dioxide. This double-acting baking powder is marketed as being aluminum-free.

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Tosh learned how to cook while watching his Polish Mom at home. He also worked in a family-owned restaurant while a student and learned much from the chefs. Cooking has always interested him, especially the hearty Polish recipes he learned from his mother. He has helped create and appeared on cookery shows on radio stations in Scotland.

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