As an indoor electric grill master who has worked on both regular-sized and larger outdoor electric grill models, I can tell you that cleaning them is not as difficult as most people think.
What I typically do is unplug the grill and remove the grates. Then, soak the grates and scrub them with a brush. Next, I clean the interior and exterior with soapy water and finally, the drip tray, splash guard, lid, and legs, if needed. But things may be a bit complicated with a larger, freestanding electric grill.
Not to worry. In this article, I’ll show you how to clean electric grills so the next BBQ party can start quickly.
What You’ll Need to Clean an Electric Grill?
Before we jump into cleaning your electric grill, let’s make sure we have everything we need to get the job done right.
You don’t want to be running back and forth to grab supplies while you’re in the middle of cleaning. So, take a moment to make sure you have everything you need.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need and what role they’ll play:
Paper towels: If you have fresh grease build-up in your electric grill, you’ll need paper towels to wipe them. You may need wet paper towels to clean the grill as soon as you finish cooking. Applying the damp paper towels allows debris build-up to steam up, get wet and dislodge easily.
Soapy water: You’ll need some warm soapy water too. This will be your go-to cleaning solution for the majority of the grill. So grab your favorite dish detergent or dishwashing liquid and mix in a bucket or bowl.
Grill brush and scraper: You should have a sturdy stainless steel grill brush and a scraper handy. Thankfully, there are now 2-in-one models like the SIMPLETASTE Grill Brush and Scraper. This will help remove grime and stubborn debris from the grilling grates.
Soft brush and sponge: You also need a soft brush that is non-abrasive for cleaning the heating element, the nonstick porcelain and ceramic grates, and other delicate parts of the grill. Ensure you also have a non-abrasive sponge to help remove any grime or stuck-on debris.
Stainless steel cleaner: If your grill has a stainless steel exterior, a stainless steel cleaner will help it shine like new.
Towels: You’ll need to dry everything off after cleaning. I use a microfiber towel for this.
Now that we have everything we need, let’s get started on cleaning that electric grill!
Preparing to Clean Electric Grill
Don’t go applying wet and soapy towels as soon as you’re done cooking. You risk getting an electric shock and it’s almost suicidal. Here are a couple of things to do before starting to clean electric grill:
Turn Off and Unplug the Grill
First, be sure to unplug the power cord before cleaning.
Otherwise, a short circuit may occur. It is best to disconnect the device from the power supply immediately after you have finished grilling.
This is also critical for your safety. You don’t want to get an electric shock while cleaning it.
Also, observe other safety instructions which you can find in the operating instruction manual.
Remove the Grilling Grates
Removing the grill plates or grates will give you easier access to the grill’s interior and allow you to clean the grates thoroughly.
Be careful when removing the grates though as they may be hot from use. If you need to wait for them to cool down, that’s okay. If you’re having trouble removing them, consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
How to Clean an Electric Grill, Part By Part?
The cleaning techniques provided in this section work with a lot of outdoor electric grills.
The techniques also work on indoor electric grills. Just follow the process for each component of the grill, namely, the heating surface, grill grate, drip pan, splash guard, and lid.
Unplug the grill from the power outlet and once it has cooled down, you can start the cleaning process.
The Heating Element
Start by placing wet paper towels on the warm heating elements. The damp paper towels will help to create steam and loosen dry grease and grime.
Then, using the soft brush, gently brush or wipe away any loose debris or residue that may have accumulated on the heating plates.
Next, dip the brush or cloth into the warm soapy water and gently scrub the heating plate.
Once you’ve cleaned the element, rinse it with clean water to remove any soap residue. Dry it thoroughly with a clean towel or cloth.
Tips and Warnings
The heating elements and other electric parts should never be fully submerged or cleaned with excessive water as they might get damaged. Instead, use a gentle touch and a wet paper towel to remove debris or residue.
Do not use harsh, abrasive, or powerful cleaning agents such as scouring agents, oven cleaner, or solvent elements. Also, metal scrubbing pads are not welcome. These can damage the heating elements.
Most electric grills are designed so that the heating surface only get a few fat spatters. This is why a lot of them now have a closed grill plate instead of a grate. If fat and gravy get into the grill, they are repelled or burned by the high heat of the active heating element. Therefore, at the end of the grilling process, especially after grilling at a low temperature, set the grill to the maximum temperature for about 15 minutes until the fat residues have burned off.
The Grill Grate or the Grill Plates
The grill grates, or grill plates, are the focus of an electric grill when it comes to cleaning. After all, the grilled food sizzles on these removable plates, separating fat and leaving residues. As with the entire grill, the sooner you clean it, the easier it is. Preferably start cleaning immediately after grilling (once it has cooled down of course).
Depending on the type of electric grill you have, you may need to remove the cooking grates before cleaning them. Check your grill’s manual for instructions on how to do this.
As usual, place some paper towels on the grill plates if they have hard debris that needs to be moistened.
Use the grill brush and scraper to remove any large pieces of food or debris from the grates. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the grates. If you know your grill brush might be too hard on the grates, better use one with softer bristles such as nylon.
Fill a large bucket or sink with warm, soapy water and let the grates soak for at least 15 minutes. This will help to loosen any remaining food particles.
After soaking, use a sponge or clean cloth to scrub the grates to give them a thorough cleaning. But pay special attention to areas with stubborn residue. You can also use a grill cleaner specifically designed for electric grills like the Goo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner.
Once you’ve scrubbed the grates, rinse them thoroughly with clean water and dry them with a towel or let them air dry.
The Drip Tray
The drip pan is located under the grilling grates. It prevents overheating and catches the fat that drips through the grate.
Here’s how to clean the water pan:
Remove the drip tray from the grill. In some models, the drip pan may be removable, while in others, it may be attached to the grill.
Empty any remaining water or debris from the pan into the sink or trash can.
If the pan is removable, fill a sink or basin with warm soapy water and submerge the pan in the solution.
If the pan is fixed, introduce warm or hot soapy water in the pan. Allow it to cool. Then put on a pair of protective gloves and use a sponge to clean the pan, removing any grease, debris, or stains. Avoid using steel wool or any other abrasive material that can scratch or damage the surface.
For the removable pan, scrub the inside and outside with a soft brush or clean with a sponge after submerging it in warm soapy water.
Rinse the fixed or removable drip pan with clean water. Dry the pan thoroughly with a clean towel or dry cloth to prevent the pan from developing rust.
If you notice any stubborn stains or buildup on the pan that won’t come off with regular cleaning, you can try using a water and baking soda mixture to create a paste. Apply the baking soda paste to the affected areas and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing as usual.
Remember to clean the drip pan regularly to prevent buildup and ensure your electric grill functions properly.
The Splash Guard and Lid
You can clean the splash guard and lid – like all other detachable parts – in the dishwasher. Thankfully, these parts are usually removable. But the possibility of washing them in the dishwasher depends on their size. Otherwise, wash them separately with a sponge, washing-up liquid, and water by following these steps:
Remove any large food debris or grease from the surfaces of the splash guard and lid. You’ll need a damp cloth or paper towel for this.
Mix warm water with mild dish soap in a bucket or basin.
Dip a sponge or soft cloth into the soapy water and use it to wipe down the surfaces of the splash guard and lid. Pay particular attention to any areas with visible grime or buildup.
Rinse the sponge or cloth with clean water and use it to wipe away any soap residue from the surfaces of the splash guard and lid.
Dry these parts thoroughly with a clean towel or cloth.
The Legs and Large Parts
All parts that are too big for the dishwasher or cleaning by hand, such as the frame, can simply be hosed down with a garden hose if necessary.
Make sure you have removed all removable electrical parts. Then after washing it, let the grill dry completely – preferably overnight – so the cables don’t cause a short circuit when you reattach these components.
To clean the Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill and Griddle Plate, turn off and unplug the grill. Lift out the Cerami-Tech grill plate to remove it. Thankfully, it’s dishwasher-safe. So, just pop the removable plate of the electric griddle in the dishwasher and clean it. You can also clean the lid and bottom water/seasoning holder in the dishwasher.
2. How Often Do You Clean an Electric Grill?
As a general rule, you need to do a simple cleaning after every use. You should plan to thoroughly clean the grill after every 5-10 uses or at least once a month if you’re not using it as often. Of course, if you notice any significant build-up or grime, it’s a good idea to give it a scrub down, even if you haven’t used it that much.
Cleaning an electric grill is a simple but important task to ensure the longevity and safety of your appliance. By regularly cleaning your grill, you can prevent grime buildup and rust, which can damage the grilling grates and affect the taste of your food.
Remember to unplug the grill before cleaning and use warm soapy water, a scrub brush, and a stainless steel cleaner for best results. Don’t forget to clean the drip tray and maintain your grill regularly to keep it in top shape. With these easy steps, you’ll be grilling up a storm in no time with a clean and well-maintained electric grill!
By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. CatHead's BBQ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon (.com, .co.uk, .ca etc) and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.