How to Clean a Waffle Iron : Step By Step Guide

how to clean a waffle iron

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If waffles recipes are a favorite delicacy for you, chances are, you own a waffle iron.  Regardless of how you take delight in those waffles, most likely, cleaning your waffle iron is something you do not anticipate.

It is hardly like cleaning a glass or wine or a dinner plate. The uneasiness kicks in when you try to scrub away that sticky gunk that has accumulated on the grills over time.  Wiping it clean can for sure give you a hard time.

However, to keep enjoying those tasty waffle delicacies, cleaning your waffle iron has to be done.  I understand that wiping clean some of that sticky mess can be a challenge. Let’s say you have been preparing some grilled cheese sandwich with eggs; that probably left a sticky slime that’s proving difficult to clean.

But stay with me –  I have come to your rescue.This article shares some tips on how to give your waffle makers some TLC (Tender, Love, & Care). 

Are Waffle makers cleaned the same?

When it comes to cleaning your waffle iron, there are no exact steps cast on stone. You can follow different routines, and still get it done. However, the cleaning procedure may vary depending on the type of waffle maker you have -- that is, whether it has removable plates or non-detachable. 

How you clean a waffle maker with detachable plates may slightly differ from you clean one with non-removable plates.

Precautions to follow when cleaning a waffle iron

To savor in those waffle delicacies for breakfast, each morning, keep your waffle iron safe.  You may want to clean it so bad, but also note that there are some precautions to observe when tending your waffle maker.  Here are some precautions to keep in mind.

  1. Go through the cleaning instructions as indicated on the manual. The manufacturer may indicate specific cleaning instructions depending on the type of waffle you own.
  2. Do not scrub with abrasive or rough materials, such as steel wool, metallic spatula, knives, spoons, etc.
  3. Never immerse the waffle iron inside water. You’ll ruin the electrical appliance by doing so.
  4. Do not treat the waffle iron with cooking spray. If you use aerosol spray, a yucky residue builds up on the grills. When preparing your waffle, spray or apply a few drops of cooking oil, it loosens the especially when you notice your waffles are sticking on the grills.
  5. Do not use soapy water or chemicals to clean your waffle maker.  Harsh chemicals are corrosive to the grilled surface.  Also, it poses a health risk because once used, rinsing the chemical away is not easy, especially for appliances with non-detachable plates.

Things you need before you start cleaning

Before you start cleaning your waffle maker, you need several things by your side. It is sort of like a carpenter with his tools. Here are the things you need to get started:

  • Toothbrush, preferable a fingernail brush.
  • Scrubbing pad; sponge; soft clothing or rag.
  • Dry paper towels.
  • Distilled water.
  • Vinegar and cooking oil (alternative solutions: apple cider or white wine).
  • Spray bottle.

Armed with these necessities ready, you are good to go.

Steps to follow when cleaning a waffle maker

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the procedure to follow slightly differs, depending on whether you have waffle iron with detachable plates or non-detachable ones. We look at both scenarios.

Cleaning a non-detachable waffle iron

Cleaning a waffle iron with non-detachable plates can be confusing. You do not want to clean it the old school (immersing it in water), so here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Unplug waffle maker

Disconnect the waffle maker from the socket.  Give it some time to cool off.

Step 2: Wipe off food bits and grease from the plates’ surface

Use a dry paper towel for this.  A dry cloth will absorb most of the grease and remove the crumbs. You can as well use a bristle brush or a wire brush to remove most of the gunk.

Step 3: Thoroughly clean the grill surface

The next step is to thoroughly clean the grooves on the plates, where the waffle rests.  To do this, fold a paper towel, such that, it forms a crease, or alternatively, wrap the paper towel around the handle of a spoon or a chopstick.

Next, pour several drops of vinegar or cooking oil on the paper towel, and then rub through the crevices. Usually, applying a few cooking oil or vinegar droplets loosens the hardened batter on the grills. Soon after, scrub with a sponge or soft bristle brush.

If you haven’t given your waffle iron some TLC in a long-time, chances are, the grills have some sticky residue that is a headache to remove.  In that case, follow try the tricks in this next step.

Step 4: Remove stubborn stains

To remove those stubborn stains, such as batter or caramelized sugar, there are three ways to go about it:

Scrub with a mix cornstarch and water solution

This trick is uncommon but it works. Put small amount of water in a spray bottle, and add two teaspoons of cornstarch.  Once you have your solution ready, power on the waffle iron and as it heats up, spray with this solution.

Power off your appliance, and give it like five to 10 minutes; a solid white layer will have formed on grilled surface. when peeled off, it leaves the grilled surface polished.  

See video below for exact steps:

Use baking soda and vinegar

If that fails not remove the gunk, try scrubbing with paste made using baking soda, and combination of vinegar.  Baking soda works magic as it helps in killing bacteria; also, it is friendly to non-sticky surface.

First, mix some baking soda with small amount of water, just the right ratios so the paste is not runny.   Apply the paste on the grilled surface, and leave it untouched for about 12 hours.  Next, put vinegar in spray bottle, and sprinkle on the grilled surface (do this after the 12 hours).

Only spray a few droplets; don’t soak the plates with vinegar.  From there, grab a soft brush, and start scrubbing. After scrubbing, use a wet cloth, preferably soaked in warm water, to wipe the surfaces clean.

Try steaming method

Still, if that does not bring the best out, you try the steaming method. With the steam procedure, you start with boiling some water.  Dip a hot rag in the hot water and give it a squeeze, such that it is not dripping wet. 

You don’t want water messing up the appliance wiring when it drips through the crevices. Now, fold the towel and lay it on grilled surface; then close the waffle’s lid.  Leave it in this position for a while before you start scrubbing.

The steam generated inside will help loosen the hardened residue, thereby making it simple to scrub.  To create more steam, drape the plates when the iron is still hot, immediately after unplugging it.

 Power the waffle for some minutes, unplug it, and then cover the bottom plates with a hot rag. From there, let it steam; it will unleash its magic. Once the gunk has loosened, grab a soft toothbrush or a rubber spatula, and scrub some more.

Be gentle not to scratch the nonstick surfaces.  You may dip the toothbrush in baking soda before you start the scrubbing.

Cleaning a waffle iron with detachable plates

For waffle irons with removable plates, the process has a small tweaking. It is alright to detach the plates and clean then in water.

Step 1: Unplug your waffle iron and leave it to cool off.

Step 2: Detach the plates (follow manufacturer’s instructions).

Step 3: Fill a container with hot water (the hotter the better), then soak the plates inside the hot water. Use distilled water; not soapy water. 

Step 4: Scrub the plates with a soft brush or sponge. Again, use a soft bristle or go for sponge designed specifically for scrubbing nonstick surfaces. 

Step 5: Use dry paper or cloth to rinse the water.  Fix the plates back when they have completely dried.

If stubborn stains do not come off when you wash the plates in hot water, try a combination of the tricks laid down above. You could first use vinegar solution or cooking oil to remove sticky mess like hardened batter; you can try cleaning with a solution of corn starch; alternatively you can scrub with  and, you can scrub with baking soda before rinsing with wet towel.

Precaution: Do not rush to clean the plates with a dishwasher or Soapy water.  Doing so will damage the nonstick first. It is necessary that you go through the manual to see if it is okay to use dishwasher for that purpose. Otherwise, use soap solutions as dishwasher makes the nonstick surface to wear out with time.

Final thoughts

You have probably neglected your waffle iron for a long time. Do not let the trouble of cleaning it make you abandon it. Most likely, you toss away your waffle maker as soon as you are done making your delicacies.  You certainly do not want to give up those waffles. Also, you probably don’t want them to start tasting weird or your grill surface to have that nasty look.  There is only one option left here -- get down to business, and give your waffle maker a fine scrub.

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