Easy tips for cleaning an electric grill

There are several makes of electric countertop grills and sandwich toasters. When cleaning anything that has a cord or that begins with the word electric, make sure the unit is unplugged before you turn on the water. The grilling surface requires the most thorough cleaning and if you're cleaning it straight after cooking, make sure the surfaces have cooled a little first.

Easy tips for cleaning an electric grill

1. Don’t put it in water

  • If the grilling surface is not removable, don't immerse the unit in water. (Some electric grills have parts that can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher.)
  • Most electric grills and sandwich toasters are one-piece models that typically come with a non-stick finish and are meant for counter use. Additionally, many grills have a long plastic drip tray for catching grease, as well as a plastic cleaning spatula contoured to fit over the ribbed grilling surface. But any rubber spatula or tool will do the job, as rubber won't scratch the non-stick surface.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners, scouring pads or caustic oven cleaners on the grilling plates as they may damage the non-stick surface.
  • Once you have scraped off the larger bits of food, wipe the ribbed grilling surface with a damp sponge or cloth — not a wet one.
  • To tackle especially sticky stuff, put a bit of dishwashing liquid on the sponge.
  • Rinse the sponge frequently, since it will get grimy quickly.
  • Follow the sponging step with a few swipes of a damp cloth — not a wet one — to get rid of as much moisture as possible.

2. Make cleaning the drip tray easier

  • Some manufacturers recommend lining it, before cooking, with aluminium foil or absorbent paper towel.
  • To clean the drip tray, remove and dispose of any paper towel or aluminium foil used to line the tray during cooking.
  • After disposing of the collected grease, wash the drip tray with dishwashing liquid and a wet sponge.
  • If the spatula has collected a thick layer of greasy, charred food, soak it for a few minutes in warm water with a squirt of dishwashing liquid, and then wipe it clean with a scrubber sponge.
  • Rinse the drip tray and spatula thoroughly with running water and allow them to air dry.

3. To clean the outside of an electric grill or sandwich toaster

  • Remove the grilling surface (if it's removable) and leave it out while you attack the other surfaces.
  • A quick wipe of the exterior with a damp sponge will take care of most grease splatters.
  • If it needs something a little stronger, spray an all-purpose, citrus-oil cleaner onto a cloth and wipe over the greasy surface with that.
  • Let the cleaned grill air dry or, if you need to accelerate the drying process, use a hair dryer on a low setting.
  • Make sure the grill is perfectly dry before you plug it in again.

4. To clean a hibachi-style electric grill

  • For a grill with a rack like a conventional charcoal grill — unplug it, let it cool and dismantle it according to your owner's manual.
  • With the electrical elements set aside, wash the grilling rack, the lid and the metal or ceramic basin in warm water with a squirt of dishwashing liquid.
  • Scrub as needed with a nylon cleaning pad.
  • Wipe over any plastic parts with a soft cloth dipped in the water-and-detergent solution, then rinse thoroughly with fresh water.
  • Never immerse the electronic parts of the grill in water.
  • If it's necessary, wipe the heating element with a soft cloth or soft brush, taking care not to scratch the surface.
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