How To Clean Cast Iron Griddles in 3 Easy Steps

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Not sure about how to clean your cast iron griddle each day the RIGHT way? Well, let’s solve that here and now. 

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As much as you probably love your griddle, there’s that awful topic of cleaning that I’ve got to go through with you to ensure perfection with every meal. It might sound like a daunting (or straight-up boring) task, but it needs to be done.

Imagine cooking a meal on a dirt-riddled griddle (hey, that rhymes) and ending up with a nasty flavor in your mouth from a meal you made three weeks ago. Not nice at all.

Cleaning may sound like a waste of time, but it’s always best to make sure you get it done when you can. Especially with anything you cook meals on. Food can build up over time, and food isn’t usually built to last for too long.

After only a few hours, you could have some pretty serious junk on your griddle, leading to some dangerously unhygienic meals if you don’t address it quickly.

If you don’t have one already, you definitely want to grab yourself a good griddle cleaning kit, something like this one here works great. See it on Amazon here.

Daily Griddle Cleaning

First things first, before you even start cleaning your griddle, you need to scrape off the bits of food and oil from where you cooked your meal. I have found that the standard griddle spatula works well, but can bend or warp if you press too hard.

If the food is not coming off or just appears to be still dirty, the next step of adding water will really help loosen that off.

Once that food is scraped off and oil shoved back to the grease trap, it’s time to start the actual cleaning process.

1. Spray Water On The Hot Griddle Surface

Immediately after cooking (and obviously when you’ve removed the food from the griddle), you’re going to want to squirt some water on the hot griddle to steam and loosen off any other remaining food or oil.

Most people keep two griddle bottles at their griddle cooking station. If you ever wondered what people are putting in those griddle bottles, it is usually one for water and for cooking oil.

From there, you get to admire and watch as the world’s most satisfying thing happens (that sizzling steam that comes off the cast iron griddle is pretty fun to watch).

You should notice a lot of the grime and bits of food that had been created from your previously cooked meal will come right off. This instant change from the burner’s heat to the water is a great way to remove the first little bits of food.

However, make sure you wear heat gloves as it’s going to be incredibly hot to touch if you do it as soon as the food comes out.

2. Sponge It and Scrub it

If the dirt needs a little bit of a nudge, then sponge the griddle after you’ve poured water over the problem areas. The soft side of the sponge is more than enough for it and should remove a lot of the excess grime quite easily.

The water will work wonders to get the grime lifted from the cast-iron surface, making the sponging job a lot easier than it would have been had you just left the griddle to sit.

Once you wipe it down with the sponge, give it another quick rinse under the sink to make sure you remove the little bits of food that the sponge could have spread around the surface.

Obviously, you can repeat these steps as many times as you need to ensure the perfect clean on your griddle. I find that once is usually more than enough for a typical daily clean, though.

3. Thin Oil Layer

Once the griddle surface has been scraped and steamed clean, it’s time to add a final layer of oil to protect the griddle surface in between this and your next meal.

Apply about a tablespoon of cooking oil to your hot griddle top. Use a paper towel or kitchen cloth to wipe the entire griddle surface with the newly added oil.

It is important that you wipe up any remaining loose oil, this layer should be THIN and not runny or excessive.

Periodic Deeper Griddle Cleanings

You’re going to want to make sure you deep clean your griddle periodically (somewhere between once every 2 to 4 weeks, depending on how much you use it).

This is a great way to ensure that the deeper-rooted problems on the surface won’t be causing too many issues over time. You’ll notice a drastic difference in the quality of your food if you leave a dirty griddle for too long without a deep clean.

1. Remove The Food

Depending on the level of dirt that might have accumulated on your griddle, you may need to get some serious elbow grease into it to ensure a deep clean.

This means picking up a small wire brush or some sturdy brush to really scrape away at the worst parts. You’ll see areas filled with old bits of food, usually brown or black in color, that need the most attention.

You’ve got to put in the work for a squeaky clean griddle! It helps run the griddle under the sink again, just like you would do if you were cleaning it straight after cooking. It’s the best way to start lifting some of the grime up for an easier clean.

Obviously, for the stuff that’s been stuck there for a while, you’ll need more than just water to get the job done, which is where the wire brush and elbow grease come in.

2. Cover In Oil

A great way to really ensure your griddle is as clean as it could be is to coat the surface in a thin layer of olive oil. Once you’ve done it, you should heat it just enough for the oil to start bubbling slightly.

Let it cool down and wipe the oil away to remove all the remaining bits of grime that were just too stubborn for the other steps.

It may sound counterintuitive to spread oil over the surface you’re trying to clean, but it’s great at picking up the last bits of dirt. It is also a fantastic way to tackle rust, which is tough to deal with in a cast-iron griddle if you’re not careful.

If you leave them too long without a thorough clean, you’ll find your griddle is absolutely covered with rust, making it way less efficient.

The oil stops the water from clinging to the surface of the griddle, which, when left in storage, can be the main problem that leads to your griddle rusting.

3. Sandpaper And Soap

For the final touch, you’re going to really want to get into the griddle. Get a little bit of power behind your cleaning this time. To completely lift the seasoning that’s built up over the times you’ve used your griddle, take sandpaper to it.

Scrape as hard as you can to remove the little bits you might not even be able to see with your own eyes. It’s worth doing if you want a completely fresh (and good as new) griddle.

The soap is an extra touch which, hopefully, shouldn’t have to be mentioned if you’re serious about getting your griddle clean. Soap is designed to tackle the peskiest forms of bacteria and does a pretty good job.

Whether you’re scrubbing away with a wire brush, sponge, or sandpaper, your best bet is to use soap to ensure you’re getting rid of as much unwanted material as you can.