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Waffle irons are a good tool for making the best possible waffles, with crispy outer shells and soft, steamy centers every time – but after a while, they can get a layer of grease that builds up on the waffle iron plates, and that isn’t so great.
The good news is, there are some simple cleaning methods, such as using a paper towel to soak up and remove residual grease, and dish soap to clean the insides of a waffle iron. We’re going to cover several methods on how to clean built-up grease on the waffle iron and why you should clean your waffle iron on a regular basis.
Why Do I Need to Clean My Waffle Iron?
Anything you cook food in will need to be cleaned occasionally, and waffle irons are no exception. Nobody wants to be eating old grease with their nice fresh waffles, and this can spoil both the texture and the taste of your breakfast (or lunch).
You will find that little bits of debris from previous batches of waffle batter will cling to the grease, and these will slowly turn to carbon as they get cooked over and over again. This can then stick to your food and make it taste bitter and burnt, even if you can’t actually see the flecks.
Not cleaning your waffle iron can also have a negative effect on its efficiency. The buildup of grease will insulate the elements, trapping the heat against the electrical components instead of letting it get through to your waffles.
This will make your waffles less crispy, because they won’t be pressed against such a hot surface, and it could also damage the waffle iron in extreme cases, causing the electronics to overheat. A clean waffle iron will work much better.
So, now you know why you should clean it, let’s look at how to clean built up grease on waffle iron.
How to Clean a Waffle Iron with Removable Plates
Many waffle makers have removable plates; these are a little easier to clean, so we’ll look at these to begin with.
Firstly, you should unplug your waffle iron and make sure it is completely cool before attempting any cleaning. Start by brushing out any crumbs or loose debris. You can use any soft-bristled brush to get between the ridges of the iron.
Lift out the plates, and put them to soak in hot, soapy water. You’re going to leave them there for at least ten minutes.
While the plates soak, turn your attention to the main iron. Use a damp cloth (not a wet cloth; you don’t want water in the electrics) to wipe out any crumbs or scrub off any grease spots. The trays should have caught most of the debris and gunk, but it’s still a good idea to clean underneath them.
When your plates have had a good soak, you can use a sponge to wipe between the grids and clean off any residual food. The water should have softened even burnt-on food and made it easy to wipe away.
If your waffle maker plates are dishwasher-safe, you can put them in there. Don’t scrub the plates with anything abrasive, as you will ruin their coating. If you cannot get some food off, we’ll cover a more powerful cleaning method shortly.
Dry the plates very thoroughly and make sure the area beneath the plates is dry before you return them to the iron.
How to Clean a Waffle Iron Without Removable Plates
If your waffle maker doesn’t have removable plates, cleaning it can be a bit trickier. Make sure it’s unplugged and cool before starting, and wipe away any crumbs or loose food.
Next, use a dry paper towel to rub away and soak up any residual grease. If you need a bit more “grit,” fold your paper towel up to provide a tougher surface to rub with. Don’t use abrasive sponges to scrub the waffle maker.
If there is caked-on food that you can’t remove by wiping and rubbing, you need to rinse a cloth in hot, soapy water, and then wring it out well so that it is just damp. Spread this on the waffle iron, making sure it’s in contact with the food.
Close the lid to press the cloth down, and leave it for 5-10 minutes. When you come back, the dampness in the cloth should have loosened the food. Wipe it away. You can also use a silicone spatula to get a bit more “scrub” without the risk of scratching.
Make sure that the waffle iron is totally dry before its next use.
Powerful Baking Soda Cleaning Method
You can use baking soda and vinegar to clean a waffle maker with removable plates. Mix some baking soda and water into a thick paste, and then spread this on the plates and leave them for several hours.
Use a spray bottle to spray some vinegar onto the trays and let them fizz for a while. Rinse the plates off, and scrape away any remaining food with a sponge or silicone spatula. Allow everything to fully dry before using the waffle iron.
Hot Steam Clean Waffle Maker De-Greasing
Steam is a very powerful cleaner, and you can use your waffle iron’s heat to your advantage when it comes to cleaning it – but do always make sure it’s unplugged before you try and clean it, and be careful not to burn yourself if you’re handling a hot waffle iron.
Run a cloth under some hot water, and then squeeze it out so it is just damp. Place this in your hot waffle iron and put the lid down so that the cloth is pressed between the two hot plates. Allow it to steam gently for a few minutes.
This should loosen any gunk enough for you to work it off with a silicone spatula or a soft-bristled toothbrush. Adding a little baking soda can give you some more mild abrasion, too.
How to Avoid Grease Buildup
As with most cleaning jobs, you will have a better experience if you don’t let your waffle iron get into a terrible state to begin with – which means cleaning it after pretty much every use. However, this doesn’t need to be a big deal; think of it like washing a plate.
When you finish cooking your waffles, unplug your iron and let it cool while you eat them. When you come back to the waffle iron, use a damp, mildly soapy cloth to wipe it down, removing any remnants of waffle batter or oil.
Rinse the soap out of the cloth and give the grids another wipe to get rid of any soap residue, and then put the waffle iron away for next time.
You don’t have to do this absolutely every time you use the waffle iron, but it will reduce the amount of “deep cleans” you have to do on the iron, and will ensure your waffles are consistently delicious and crispy. It may also make your waffle iron last longer.
Now you know how to clean your waffle iron, getting it spotless even when you’re dealing with burnt-on food and stubborn grease marks. You can reduce the amount of grease buildup by avoiding spray-on cooking sprays, which tend to leave more residue than pour-on oils.
Overall, a light, regular clean will be both easier and better (for you and the waffle iron!) than rare, intense clean-ups that might result in scratches or frustration.
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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.