The first thing I need to say here is that you really shouldn’t be using chemicals on your flat top grill or griddle, unless you really, really need to. The only time you should reach for any sort of chemical is when your griddle has become really bad.
I have mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again, using soaps and chemicals on your griddle cooking surface will strip away the seasoning and non-stick properties of your griddle and make griddle cooking a sticky mess.
If you’re in a situation where you’ve neglected your flat top grill for a while, then chemicals can be a great way to get everything squeaky clean by stripping away the old seasoning so you’re ready to reseason it after stripping it back to basics.
If you just got your griddle and doing some research first, you definitely want to read up on the 5 Must-Do steps BEFORE Your First Griddle Meal.
Ways To Clean A Griddle Without Chemicals
Think of using chemicals as being something akin to factory resetting your phone. It’s not something you do regularly, but when you want to take everything away and start again, then chemicals can be useful. So, what can you use instead?
Let’s just first start with the basics. Boiling water should be your go to method whenever you’re cleaning your griddle. This is the sort of cleaning that you will do after every single use – simple, straightforward, but effective at keeping everything sanitized the way it ought to be.
Simply get your cooking surface nice and hot after use, and pour boiling water over the surface to sanitize it. You can then use a griddle scraper or similar tool to remove any stubborn burned bits of food if there are any, but other than that you won’t need to do much else. Once you’ve finished that, simply turn your griddle off and allow it to dry.
Boiling water is a very effective way to kill germs and bacteria. It’s estimated that germs, bacteria, and viruses mostly die at around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so boiling water on a very hot griddle is a lot more effective than people realize.
But I get it. Sometimes it feels like that isn’t enough, so what else can you do to make sure your flat top grill is as clean as it should be.
The first natural cleaning agent you can reach for is vinegar. It’s been used domestically for years, and people swear blind that they’ve never had as good results cleaning as I have whilst using vinegar, and the same applies to your outdoor griddle.
You won’t need to reach for vinegar all the time, in fact we’d recommend you use it sparingly, but when you do use it, you’ll certainly see the difference.
Vinegar is acidic in nature, and it’s therefore very good at removing stubborn pieces of food or debris from your griddle. Reach for vinegar whenever you’ve let your griddle go a little, but it’s not so bad that you want to strip everything back and start again.
Vinegar will remove stubborn stains, but leave your seasoning behind, so you don’t have to go through the process again. It’ll also make your griddle top return to its shinier days, which can be a physical reminder of how clean your griddle is now that you’ve used a little vinegar. And here’s how to do it!
Take equal parts water and vinegar and fill a small bucket so you can soak some rags in them. Then simply take the rags and wipe down the surface of your griddle, but be careful!
You will need to get your surface nice and hot for this trick to work at its best, so make sure you wear heat protective gloves and use a suitable rag. If using a rag feels a little scary, then you can always use a griddle brush and dip it in the water-vinegar mixture to use.
Try to really allow the mixture to work on the stuck on food and debris for around 5 minutes or so before you really get to work with your brush. The vinegar will break down the food and debris so it’s easier to move when you’re scrubbing.
Once that’s done, simply wipe over the surface with just water now, so that the vinegar is washed away. You might notice a slight smell left behind, but leave your griddle hood up and it should be gone before you know it.
As great as vinegar is, overusing it won’t do you much good, so stick with just boiling water for your everyday cleaning, and turn to vinegar when your griddle is looking a little tired.
Next up is lemon juice. If the thought of a faint vinegar scent left behind on your precious griddle makes you shudder, then lemon juice is your friend. It’ll smell great, but it’ll also do all the things that vinegar does for your griddle too, so it’s a win-win.
Lemon juice is so effective because of the citric acid in the fruit, making it great at removing stubborn oils, food, and debris from your griddle. It’ll also bring out a nice shine on your flat top grill too, so it really is a great natural cleaner.
Another significant benefit of lemon juice is that it’s a natural odor killer, so if your griddle has started to smell a little of all the meats you’ve been cooking, then lemon juice will get rid of that and replace it with its pleasant scent. So how should you use lemon juice for cleaning your griddle?
Again, you’ll need to create a mixture that is roughly equal parts lemon juice and water. Simply buy some fresh lemons and squeeze them to get the fresh juice.
A little tip here is to roll them on a hard surface with the palm of your hand before attempting to squeeze juice from them, because then you get more bang for your buck! Then mix equal parts lemon juice and water into a spray bottle.
For this, you won’t want your surface to be hot whilst you’re cleaning, but it’s good to have heated your empty griddle for a while beforehand, to soften the stubborn food and debris. Allow it to cool completely before you go near it though, as lemon juice will work best at cooler temperatures.
After that, simply use your spray bottle to soak your entire griddle top, and leave to soak for around 10 minutes. This is all the time the lemon juice will need to work its way into the mess and lift it.
Then use a griddle brush or scraper to remove the debris, it shouldn’t take long thanks to the citric acid. Then it’s just a simple wash down with water, and then sit back and let your griddle dry out before using it again.
Like vinegar, you really shouldn’t rely on lemon juice too much. Boiling water after every use will prevent stubborn stains and food from sticking around anyway, and the best form of cure is prevention after all, so looking after your griddle really is important.
Reach for boiling water in the first instance, and vinegar or lemon juice (whatever you prefer, or whatever you have to hand) when you want to give your griddle a thorough cleaning to remove any stubborn marks.
Well, there you have it, as you can see, I have learned there are a few ways to clean your griddle to keep it sanitary and ready for the next meal without using any chemicals. hopefully this was helpful in your griddling journey and we will see you in the next article!
All in all, I tried all of these methods, and I just keep finding myself going back to the basics of using my Blackstone bottles with water and boiling off any crud. It works well, its fast and hey, its cleaning without any chemicals!