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How To Clean a Flat Top Grill: Important Material Considerations, 6 Helpful Tools, & Detailed Guide

By Jayme Muller

January 23, 2023

Flat top grills are a fantastic addition to your backyard space. 

They make it possible to cook food that can’t be made on BBQ grill grates… And are a great way to add variety to your outdoor cooking!

But we all know… An inevitable part of cooking is cleaning up.

And if you’re here, it means you’re wondering how to clean a flat top grill.

So let’s jump straight to the point…

And discuss the best way to clean a flat top grill!

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man cooking meat on flat top grill

When Should You Clean Your Flat Top Grill? 

dirty flat top grill

Cleaning your flat top grill after every use is the best way to maintain your cooking surface (and keep your favorite recipes tasting great)!

So even if it looks like you have a clean flat top grill after cooking…

Don’t skip routine flat top grill care.

If you’re diligent with routine cleaning… You won’t have to deep clean frequently.

But if it’s been a while since your last clean… You’ve likely noticed some of these telltale signs that your cooking surface needs attention.

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Food Sticking

Food sticking to your flat top grill usually means that there’s an oil buildup that needs to be taken care of.

Food Buildup

In addition to oil buildup… Food debris may be taking over your flat top grill.

If your flat top grill isn’t cleaned after every use… Residue from past meals often makes an unwanted appearance in the flavor (and sometimes the presentation) of your dishes.

You Can See Grime

grime built up on lynx flat top

If grease buildup and food residue are visible on your cooking surface… We shouldn’t have to tell you that it’s past due for a cleaning!

But whether you’re deep cleaning or simply clearing up after cooking… When discussing how to clean a dirty flat top grill, the best place to start is with the tools you’ll need.

What Do You Use to Clean a Flat Top Grill?

Ultimately, the products you choose to clean your flat top grill depend on your preference (and the severity of grime buildup on your cooking surface).

You can get most of the products below on Amazon or at your local hardware store.

And while they don’t hurt to have… You won’t need every tool listed to clean your flat top.

Let’s go over what to use to clean a flat top grill.

Griddle Scraper

A griddle scraper is an incredibly handy tool for anyone with an outdoor kitchen.

With a wide blade and heat-resistant handle… Griddle scrapers are an easy way to clean a flat top grill with stuck-on messes.

Grill Brick 

A grill brick (or grill stone) is a fantastic choice for cleaning your flat top grill! 

Made with nonporous pumice stone… It lifts grease, food buildup, and other grime easily and without damaging the cooktop.

Grill bricks are a great solution when it comes to cleaning your flat top grill… Many believe their versatility makes them the best cleaner for flat top grills. 

As far as how to clean a flat top grill with grill bricks… All you have to do is scrub the surface! 

But if you’re wondering how to clean a flat top grill without grill bricks… There are other options.

flat top grill brick

Grill Brush 

grill brush and scraper duo

Probably the most well-known tool for cleaning grills… A grill brush has heavy duty bristles to clean off stuck on grime.

Plus… Its long handle makes it easy to clean the grill while it’s still hot.

If you opt for a grill brush… It’s important to make sure the brush you choose is safe to use!

Grill Screen

If you’re wondering how to clean a burnt flat top grill…

A grill screen is a small pad treated with aluminum oxide…. Which makes it great at getting rid of burnt food.

Scouring Pad

Also known as scrubber pads or scrub sponges… Scouring pads remove stuck on grease without damaging your grill.

Flat Top Grill Cleaner

While there are flat top grill cleaner solutions… There are other ways to get a clean flat top grill without chemicals.

You should never use harsh chemicals to clean a surface you cook food on.

If you’re wondering how to clean a flat top grill without grill cleaner…

In most cases, warm water is the best degreaser for flat top grills. 

However… Many opt to use natural cleaning solutions such as lemon juice, vinegar, or soda water.

Let’s not forget to mention that you’ll need paper towels or a cloth, a spray bottle, warm water, cooking oil (if your flat top grill is cast iron or carbon steel), and heat resistant gloves!

Before we get into the process.. Let’s see how different flat top grill materials may affect cleaning methods. 

How the Material of your Flat Top Grill will Affect Cleaning

Depending on the type of flat top grill you have… The cooking surface is likely stainless steel, cast iron, or carbon steel.

Knowing what material your grill is made of will give you a better understanding of how to clean a flat top outdoor grill. 

Let’s discuss each material.

Stainless Steel

30 in coyote flat top griddle

Many outdoor flat top grills have a stainless steel cooking surface. 

Stainless steel holds up well against scratches and other wear-and-tear.

And depending on the grade of stainless steel used… It can be great at resisting corrosion and rust.

304 stainless steel is undeniably the best grade to use for outdoor appliances… It’s high quality, durable, and will last for years to come!

Popular brands like Blaze, Le Griddle, Turbo Grill, Magic Echelon, DCS, Lynx, Twin Eagles, and Coyote offer some of the best flat top grills made with 304 stainless steel.

This means that these models will be less prone to rust… Ultimately making long-term maintenance much easier.

Cast Iron

Cast Iron is another common material for cooking surfaces.

Camp Chef flat top griddles are well known for their cast iron cooktop.

Cast iron is a durable material for cooking indoors. If properly maintained… It can be a great non-stick solution.

But when left outside… Cast iron will eventually rust.

This is especially important to keep in mind if you live in an area that is humid or prone to rain… 

When exposed to frequent moisture, the risk of rust will be much higher!

So, you’ll have to be extra wary when it comes to cleaning a cast iron flat top grill.

Carbon Steel

blackstone 28 inch griddle with hood

Finally… Some outdoor flat top grills have a carbon steel cooking surface.

Often confused with cast iron… Carbon steel actually contains slightly more iron. 

This means that carbon steel is quite susceptible to rust… Even more so than cast iron! 

Blackstone grills are a popular choice with a carbon steel griddle surface.

If you have a Blackstone griddle… You’ll spend more time on maintenance to remove or prevent rust.

Now that we’ve gone through the different materials… It’s time to discuss how to properly clean a flat top grill. 

As you can imagine… If you have a cast iron or carbon steel grill… It’s important that you know how to clean a flat top grill with rust. 

But when cleaning stainless steel flat top grills… The process will be easier!

So let’s start there. 

Built in flat top solution

RTA outdoor kitchens can fit any coyote appliance from grills to flat tops. Use our free 3D design tool to get started today.

How to Clean a Stainless Steel Flat Top Grill

Now that we’ve gone over materials… It’s time to get into the tutorial segment of this article.

Whether you’re wondering how to deep clean a flat top grill or simply how to clean a flat top grill after use… The cleaning process will be identical. Deep cleaning just requires more elbow grease!

Depending on your preferences and the grime buildup on your cooking surface… The tools you use are really up to you.

But when cleaning a stainless steel flat top grill… You’ll need water, a spray bottle, paper towels or a cloth, and heat resistant gloves in addition to your tool of choice.

Let’s get into how to clean flat top grills made with stainless steel.

Step 1: Remove Leftovers

removing leftovers from flat top

When you’re done cooking… Clean up your flat top grill by removing leftover food particles, drippings, or excess oil with your preferred tool.

Most flat top grills come with a grease tray… Which is useful for cleaning (just don’t forget that this also needs to be cleaned)!

The easiest way to clean a flat top grill is by starting when it’s still warm.

Just make sure to wear heat resistant gloves when scraping your hot grill! 

If you wait until the surface has cooled… You’re giving leftover food and oil a chance to adhere.

If your grill has gone cold… Simply heat it up again before cleaning.

Step 2: Let Surface of the Grill Cool

Once all leftovers are removed… Give your grill adequate time to cool down.

You certainly wouldn’t want to risk getting burnt!

Step 3: Rinse with Warm Water

When your cooking surface is cool… Spray with warm water.

There’s no need to use soapy water to clean your flat top grill.

And though you may have heard of cleaning a flat top grill with ice… 

Using warm water will ensure your cooktop is not damaged (if your cooktop is still a bit warm, putting ice on the surface can actually cause it to crack).

Step 4: Dry Cooking Surface

Finally, use paper towels or a cloth to thoroughly dry your flat top grill.

While paper towels will get the job done… Many prefer to use a cloth as they’re less likely to leave residue.

And that’s it… Cleaning a stainless steel flat top grill is an incredibly easy process!

But if you have a cast iron or carbon steel flat top grill… The cleaning process will be a bit more involved.

Let’s discuss the best way to clean flat top grills made with cast iron or carbon steel.

How to Clean a Cast Iron or Carbon Steel Flat Top Grill

When it comes to cleaning a cast iron or carbon steel flat top grill… The cleaning method will have a few additional steps.

You’ll follow the same procedure as we laid out for how to clean stainless steel flat top grills… But there are some important considerations to keep in mind!

As we mentioned earlier… Cast iron and carbon steel flat top grills are prone to rust.

So when rinsing the surface… It’s extremely important to use only water (especially when cleaning cast iron… Using soap can actually be problematic)!

And as far as drying the cooking surface… You’ll need to take extra care to ensure the surface is thoroughly dried as even minimal residual moisture can cause rusting.

On top of these additional precautions… You’ll also have to be familiar with the process of how to clean flat top grills with rust, as well as how to re-season a flat top grill.

So, let’s start with how to clean rust off a flat top grill.

How to Clean a Rusted Flat Top Grill

As we’ve mentioned… Flat top grills made with cast iron or carbon steel are prone to rust.

No matter how often you clean your grill… Rusting is often inevitable.

And a rusty flat top grill would definitely be an eyesore in your outdoor living space…

But don’t worry… There’s a simple solution for how to clean a rusty flat top grill.

Step 1: Scrape off Rust

When discussing how to clean a flat top grill that has rust… The first step is scraping the surface (a grill scraper is a great tool for this)!

At this point… There’s no need to turn your grill on.

Spraying water as you scrape may help lift up some of the rust.

Use paper towels to wipe up any excess water and grime.

If you can’t get all the rust off your cooking surface… Don’t worry!

It doesn’t mean you need to buy a new flat top grill.

Step 2: Spread a Thin Layer of Oil

When you’ve scraped off as much rust as possible…

Apply a thin layer of oil to the cooking surface.

Using a grill brick (the best flat top grill cleaner)… Thoroughly spread the oil on your flat top grill and scrub the surface.

Don’t forget the corners and sides! The grill brick should make it easier to get into those hard to reach places to remove all residual rust.

How To Re-Season a Flat Top Grill

The last step in cleaning rust off your cast iron or carbon steel flat top grill is re-seasoning the cooking surface.

While you should always re-season after removing rust… It’s also a good practice to re-season after each routine cleaning.

Re-seasoning your grill helps protect your cooking surface from rust and damage… As well as makes it non-stick.

To re-season your flat top grill, you’ll need cooking oil, paper towels, and heat resistant gloves.

If you’re seasoning your grill for the first time… It’s important to season your grill correctly prior to cooking.

You wouldn’t want to risk damaging your flat top grill!

Without further ado… Let’s delve into how to re-season.

Step 1: Heat Up Entire Surface

Starting with a clean flat top grill… Turn the burners on high heat.

Give the flat top grill adequate time to heat up.

Step 2: Apply a Thin Layer of Oil

Play Video

When your grill is hot… Apply a thin layer of oil.

Make sure you’re wearing heat resistant gloves… And use a paper towel to spread the oil over the surface of your flat top.

Make sure you do this step quickly… If paper towels are exposed to high heat for longer than a few minutes, they can catch fire!

Step 3: Let Oil Start Smoking

Play Video

As the oil heats up… It will start to smoke.

After about half an hour, the oil will stop smoking.

When it stops smoking, shut off the grill.

Step 4: Repeat Steps 1-3

When your flat top grill is completely cool… You’re technically done seasoning.

If you clean and re-season your griddle after every use… There’s no need to continue re-seasoning your cooking surface.

But if you’re looking to build up a strong protective layer… You’ll want to repeat the process a few more times.

Follow the first three steps until your cooking surface is seasoned to your heart’s content (usually no more than 4 times).

Step 5: Wipe Down with Oil

Last but not least… Finish re-seasoning by wiping down with yet another thin layer of cooking oil.

This final layer will help stave off rust.

Speaking of preventing rust… Let’s discuss another easy way to keep moisture from your flat top grill.

How to Maintain a Flat Top Grill: The Final Step

At this point… You know how to clean after cooking… How to get layers of grime unstuck… And how to clean a rusty flat top grill.

That’s great!

But there’s still one final step in flat top grill maintenance…

Appliance Covers

Appliance covers are a fantastic investment for anyone looking to preserve their outdoor kitchen accessories!

No matter what material your flat top grill is made of… Storing your grill under an appliance cover will protect it from the elements and keep moisture out. 

Of course, you want to make sure your appliance covers are heavy duty… And perfectly fit your flat top grill.

This will make maintaining your flat top grill even easier.

Looking for an Easy to Maintain Flat Top Grill?

tamara day cooking breakfast for her daughter on coyote flat top grill in moks outdoor kitchen

If you made it this far… It probably means that you’re a seasoned flat top grill owner!

Now that you know how to keep a flat top grill clean and how to care for a flat top grill… It should last for years to come (fingers crossed)!

But if your current model requires too much upkeep and you’re looking for an easier solution…

It might be time to consider a different brand. 

When it comes to easy upkeep… One brand stands out from the rest.

Coyote.

Every RTA kitchen comes with Coyote outdoor appliancesAnd for good reason!

Coyote’s appliances are luxury quality at premium level price.

And as far as maintenance… Coyote’s flat top grill is made with 304 stainless steel.

Not to mention… Coyote offers grill covers specific to their flat top grill!

Not only will it be easy to protect your grill from the elements… You also won’t have to spend as much time worrying about your cooking surface getting rusty!

And if you’re in the market for a new flat top grill… Why not consider adding a ready to assemble outdoor kitchen to your backyard?

Check out our free design tool to customize an outdoor kitchen that will be the perfect base for your built-in Coyote flat top grill.

With additional counter space for food prep, drawers for utensil storage, and even outdoor bar seating… Housing your flat top grill in an RTA kitchen will bring your outdoor cooking and hosting to the next level!

And if you want to go a step further… Consider adding an outdoor refrigerator, an outdoor sink, or an outdoor pizza oven to make your kitchen as functional as possible! 

You already know that your flat top grill will last… So why not pair it with an outdoor kitchen with a lifetime warranty? 

Our BBQ islands are built with high performance concrete designed to stay durable for as long as you use your outdoor kitchen! 

So if you’re ready to start planning an outdoor kitchen to complement your flat top grill… Check out our learning hub for more helpful tips and tricks. 

Need Help With Your Plans?

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FAQ

The best thing to clean a flat top grill depends on a few factors.

If you’re doing routine cleaning… A grill scraper, warm water, a spray bottle, and paper towels will get the job done.

For a deep clean… You may need additional tools.

Oftentimes, a grill brick is a great all-in-one cleaning solution.

And if you’re wondering how to take care of a flat top grill with cleaning solutions… We don’t recommend using chemicals on your cooking surface.

Always try to stick with water or other natural solutions (such as lemon juice or vinegar).

You should clean your flat top grill after every use!

Though you don’t have to do a deep clean each time you cook… Routine cleaning is the best way to ensure your flat top grill lasts.

The benefits of cleaning a flat top grill include: increasing the life of your flat top grill, ensuring you’re serving food that’s safe to eat, and preventing rust.

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