August 28

Simplest Way to Clean a Waffle Iron

Written by: Nadia El-Yaouti


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There's nothing better than a yummy stack of waffles on a lazy Saturday morning.

If you're like me and love a good stack of waffles, then your waffle iron has likely taken a good beating over the years. But as with any appliance that is well loved, not cleaning it properly can shorten its lifespan.

Today, we're going to take a look at how to clean a waffle iron so that it not only looks like new, but will continuously give you beautiful, golden, stick-free waffles for years to come.

How To Clean a Waffle Iron With Removable Plates

Much like cleaning a George Foreman Grill with removable plates, cleaning a waffle iron with removable plates is pretty simple, straightforward, and follows a similar process. Here's how to clean your waffle iron if you are able to take the plates out of it: 

  1. Wait until your waffle iron has completely cooled down before you take the plates out. 
  2. Use warm water, a mild gentle degreaser, and a soft, non-abrasive sponge to clean the plates.
  3. Get in between the grid and gently scrub at any baked-on batter.
  4. Avoid using any harsh sponges while cleaning. Waffle irons have a nonstick coating on the plates that can easily scratch off if the wrong type of scrubber is used.
  5. Use a damp towel to clean along the exterior of the waffle iron. Never submerge your waffle iron unit in water in order to clean it.
  6. Dry your plates completely before installing them back into your waffle maker. 

Waffle irons with removable plates can be a little pricier than your typical waffle maker. However, you might consider paying more for a unit with removable plates, because the cleaning process is so much easier. It can make a world of difference in the longevity and performance of your appliance if you are able to disassemble the parts and clean them properly in a soapy water solution.

How to Clean a Sticky Waffle Iron

If the plates of your waffle iron aren't removable, then over time you'll likely experience nuances like sticky plates that keep your waffles from popping out easily. There are a couple reasons why your waffles may end up sticking to the plates. Try these tips to keep your plates stick-free.

Avoid Using Non-Stick Sprays

The most common culprit for a sticky waffle iron is using a non-stick spray before making your waffles. While non-stick spray coatings are designed to keep food from sticking to cookware, if you don't clean your cookware afterwards, you'll end up dealing with a build-up of spray. 

Build up of the oil from non-stick spray can create a tacky surface. It's this surface that the batter attaches itself to, making it difficult to lift the waffle once it's cooked.

Allow Your Batter to Cook Thoroughly 

No matter how old you are, it's always tempting to peek at your waffles while they're cooking. Unfortunately, this can lead to issues with sticky plates over time. Not letting your batter cook to the right temperature can keep your waffles from cooking and lifting properly. If the batter is not hot enough, and you open the waffle iron too early, you can cause the waffle to split apart, creating a mess. 

If your iron has an indicator light, wait for it to turn on before pouring in the batter, and don’t open it until the indicator light goes on again. 

Clean the Grid

In order to avoid a sticky waffle iron, it's important to clean in and around the grid very thoroughly in order to remove any leftover oil. You should clean the grid after every use in order to keep a mess from building up. Try out this simple cleaning process: 

  1. Start by letting your waffle iron cool completely.
  2. Run a damp folded-up paper towel through the grid of the plates to lift away any excess grease, then follow up with a dry paper towel. 
  3. For a larger build up of oil, use a chopstick that is wrapped around a thick layer of paper towel. Gently scrub in between the grid with warm water to lift away the oil. Use a clean, damp paper towel to wipe down the plates.

How to Clean a Burnt Waffle Iron 

If you have a cast iron waffle maker, then you might have to deal with burnt bits in the grid. Much like cleaning a burnt pan, cleaning a burnt waffle iron will require a soft bristle brush and a soft abrasive scrubber or degreaser.

  1. Wait until your cast iron waffle maker has completely cooled down before cleaning. 
  2. Put several drops of a degreasing soap onto a soft bristle scrubbing brush.
  3. Use a damp paper towel and alternate between the paper towel and brush to remove burnt food. 
  4. Once all the food has been removed, use several damp towels to remove any leftover residue.

Tips for Waffle Iron Maintenance 

Because the grid of a waffle iron can be tricky to clean out, the best way to keep it clean is by following regular cleaning maintenance. Here are some tips to help you elongate the life of your waffle iron.

Clean After Every Use

After you have finished making a batch of waffles, clean out your waffle maker as soon as it has cooled down. Any leftover grease in the grid will be harder to clean off the longer it sits. After you clean the plates, be sure to give the exterior a good wipe down with a damp rag.

Use the Proper Utensils 

Many waffle irons are made with a non-stick coating on the grid plates to make it easier to lift away the batter once it's cooked. This ease of use is the reason many non-stick irons have replaced cast iron waffle makers. Because of this, it's important to use the right utensils when lifting out your finished product. Using metal or sharp utensil can cause the coating to get scratched, damaging the non-stick coating. Instead, use a silicone spatula to lift the waffles out.

Avoid Non-Stick Cooking Sprays

A non-stick cooking spray can end up doing more harm than good if you don't clean the grease off after using it. The best method is to use a spray once at the start of your waffle making, and then avoid using it again during your waffle-making session. This will help avoid a sticky, tacky buildup.

Follow the User Manual 

Every waffle iron is different and some come with unique cleaning requirements. Before you start cleaning your waffle iron, be sure to read your owner's manual and follow any additional specific instructions. 

In Conclusion

Waffles are arguably one of the best breakfast foods to have a happy start to your morning. After all, who doesn’t love a good batch of chocolate chip waffles with a generous helping of fruit and syrup?

We hope our tips on keeping your waffle iron clean will keep your Saturday morning waffle traditions alive and well for years to come!

Let us know in the comments section below what your favorite waffle iron is and any additional tips you have for keeping it clean.



About the author

Nadia El-Yaouti is a postgraduate at James Madison University where she studied English and Education. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and three kids. When she's not exploring new and improved ways of cleaning and organizing the kitchen on a budget, you can be sure to find her traveling the world with her little family.

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