How to Clean a Flat Top Grill

by Raymond Archambault
bunch of burger patties and buns on a large flat gas griddle

Anyone who cooks will agree that while cooking can be quite a lot of fun, cleaning up can be nightmarish! There are plenty of delicious meals you can cook on a flat top grill, but you will have to deal with a lot of mess afterward. How do you clean all that up?

This article will highlight a couple of different yet effective ways for cleaning flat top grills so you’re ready for the next BBQ. We’ll cover a variety of cleaning methods from lemon juice to soap and several others in-between.

Flat Top Grills: What Are They?

Unlike a cast iron grill, flat top grills are similar to griddles with one major difference: the heating element used on a flat top grill is circular compared to the straight heating element found on a griddle. Sometimes the cooking surface can vary, but the burners are the main difference.

By the way, if you’re thinking of purchasing a griddle instead, you might want to check out one of the best electric griddles in Canada.

A flat top grill has an extremely hot surface, making it easier and quicker to cook food. Restaurants use flat top grills due to how quickly they can cook a vast array of foods.

While cleaning up after cooking can be a chore, cleaning a flat top grill isn’t complicated at all. The most effective way to stay on top of the mess is to clean up the grill right after every use. This will prevent a build-up of grease and debris.

There are many cleaning methods for a flat top grill, with soapy water being the conventional method. But you can also use specialized methods like steam or flat top grill cleaners.

What Surface Works Best With What Method?

Depending on the type of flat grill you have, certain cleaning techniques work better than others. Regardless of the surface or cleaning method, you should always steer clear of abrasive items. This will ensure that your flat top grill doesn’t get damaged.

Stainless Steel

Cleaning stainless steel works best with a vinegar solution. You can also use undiluted white vinegar to clean the grill. The steam method is another excellent way to clean this type of flat top grill. We’ll get into that in a bit.


While chrome flat top grills aren’t as prevalent in households, they are popular among restaurants. However, if you have a chrome flat top grill in your home, you will want to use the following steps to clean it:

  • Heat the flat top grill to 300 degrees
  • Next, use a scraper to scrape any food debris and grease from the flat top grill
  • Spray warm water onto the grill and scrub the grease. Always do this with a non-abrasive brush
  • You can apply food-safe polish as soon as the surface has cooled down
  • Next, wipe the surface of the grill using a dry cloth or paper towel
  • Use a damp cloth to remove the polish
  • Season the grill using a layer of oil for the next time you use it
cleaning liquid and gloves

Source: Pexels

How to Deep Clean a Flat Top Grill: Different Methods

The most effective way to keep your flat top grill in tiptop condition is to clean it after every use. This ensures that food debris and grease don’t build up to the point that they become harder to remove. Having food residue on your flat top grill can also affect the flavour of whatever you cook next.

Want to grill like a pro? Check out our top tips to grill like a pro.

There are various ways to clean the flat top grill. Most manufacturers tend to have a list of specialized brushes, scrapers, and grill cleaners for cleaning their grills. But there are various simple ways to clean the grills without using chemicals.

Using a Grill Cleaner

This is a liquid solution used to clean the grill. To use a grill cleaner, spray or pour it onto the flat top grill to soak for a couple of minutes. After soaking, clean off the liquid solution to get rid of food debris and grease.

Cleaning a Flat Top with Other Household Items

Not everyone has a grill cleaner or wants to use one. If that is you, you might be curious about how you can clean your flat top grill using simple household or kitchen items. Here are a few items you can use and how to use them.


Vinegar is one liquid with a long list of home remedy uses. But did you know that vinegar can be used to clean the flat top grill? To do so, follow these simple steps:

  • Mix an equal amount of water and vinegar in a bottle (soda water works better too)
  • Turn the grill on
  • Spray the vinegar and water mixture onto the flat top grill, spreading it around in a circular motion using a grill brush
  • Do this about 2 or 3 times until the solution mixes in with the grease to create a paste
  • Turn off the flat top grill and add the remaining liquid solution to wash off the messy paste
  • You can repeat this process until the flat top grill is clean
  • Once finished, drain the surface and remove any additional food particles

Grill Brick

Grill bricks are a great alternative for those concerned about possible scratch marks on the grill surface resulting from the use of wire brushes.

A grill brick can be used as a sponge to remove grease and grime from a hot flat top grill. Not only is the grill brick non-toxic, but it also doesn’t absorb the grime it cleans up. This makes it a great choice for the dirtiest of flat top grills.


If you would prefer to clean your flat top grill without using any type of chemicals, using a grill brush and steam is the way to go. To use this method:

  • First, turn the flat top grill and let it get hot
  • Use a grill brush to remove any debris or drippings
  • Sprinkle water onto the surface of the grill, making sure to spread it around using the grill brush
  • Continue scraping the surface to remove the drippings and add more water if necessary
  • You can drain the liquid once all the drippings have been scrapped off


Using an onion to clean a flat top grill is something that most people have not considered, but it actually does work. Here’s how to clean a flat top grill using an onion:

  • First, cut a large onion into two halves
  • With the grill still hot, use one half of the onion to scrub the surface of the flat top grill

Not only does this help to loosen any charred meat stuck onto the grill’s surface, but it also adds a nice aroma to the grill.

Hot Oil

Using hot oil can be another easy way to clean a flat top grill. To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Pour out a small amount of oil onto the hot flat top grill. Olive oil can work well for this.
  • You can use a grill brick to scrub in small circles to ensure the grease mixes with the oil
  • Next, use the grill brush to scrape everything off
  • If there is any residual grease, use a sponge to wipe it all off

Dishwashing Liquid

Using dishwashing liquid is perhaps the most traditional way to clean a flat top grill. Some grill users swear by this method.

The best time to use this method is if the food debris and drippings aren’t stuck to the surface of the flat top grill. The mess should be able to come off with a sponge.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice contains citric acid. This makes it a great choice for cleaning just about anything in a kitchen, and a flat top grill is no exception.

Here’s how to clean a flat top grill using lemon juice:

  • Make a mixture of water and lemon using 3 parts water and 1 part lemon juice
  • Turn on the flat top grill and put it on the hottest setting
  • Use a spray bottle to spray the mixture onto the grill and spread it around
  • Spray a sufficient amount of the mixture to ensure the grease forms a paste
  • Turn the grill off and apply more lemon mixture while the grill cools down
  • Drain the mixture off, and you should have a clean grill


From the methods listed above, you should definitely find one that’s convenient and most suitable for the surface type of your flat top grill, whether it is stainless steel or chrome.

If you are unsure which method works best for you, you can try out each method to see which method best suits your preferences.

The major thing to remember is that your flat top grill needs to be cleaned after every use. This will prevent grime and grease build-up, so cleaning won’t be difficult, and cooking with your grill will be more fun.


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