Interior Kitchen & Dining Appliances

How to Clean a Waffle Maker

Nooks and crannies are the best parts of the waffles, but those same crevices in waffle makers can be a pain to clean. Don't leave stuck-on batter to clean up later—get your waffle maker clean quick by following these steps.
Gretchen Heber Avatar
Preparation of homemade waffles. Pouring dough into waffle irons with a ladle
Photo: istockphoto.com

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While it’s no one’s favorite chore, cleaning a waffle maker thoroughly after each use is definitely best practice. If you always have the right supplies on hand and take the time to learn these easy steps for how to clean a waffle iron, the cleanup process won’t seem so onerous. You might just find yourself pulling the waffle maker out more often!

A quick note before you get started: When considering the best way to clean a waffle iron, keep in mind that harsh dish soap shouldn’t be used to clean the baking plates since it can strip their nonstick coating over time.

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Project Overview

Working Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Skill Level: Beginner
Estimated Cost: $0-$30

8 Steps to a Clean Waffle Maker

Stainless Breville waffle maker and cleaning supplies on kitchen counter.
Photo: Daryna Tobey for Bob Vila

For the best-tasting waffles, it’s important to maintain a clean waffle maker, which involves some attention after each use. You won’t want to tackle the remnants of this week’s stuck-on chocolate chips next weekend. This is true even of nonstick waffle makers, for which these instructions apply. But do you know how to clean a waffle maker? First, keep safety top of mind and follow the steps below to ensure your nonstick waffle maker is ready to go the next time you get a craving for nooks and crannies.

Step 1: Unplug your waffle iron and wait for it to cool.

Person unplugging a stainless steel waffle maker from electrical outlet.
Photo: Daryna Tobey for Bob Vila

To avoid painful burns, be sure to let a waffle maker cool down thoroughly before attempting to clean it. Specific models differ, but most machines need 15 to 30 minutes to cool. And coincidentally, that is just about the amount of time you’ll need to eat your delicious breakfast.

Step 2: Wipe away crumbs.

Use a clean, dry paper towel or a soft-bristled brush to wipe away crumbs. Take care to not use a rough cloth or any kind of tool that could damage the nonstick surface of the plates. Be thorough; don’t miss any of the grooves.

Step 3: Soak up any residual oil.

Though there’s no need to use oil on a nonstick waffle iron, the plates can sometimes get greasy (particularly if you’re using your waffle maker to make pressed sandwiches, pizza waffles, or other trendy recipes). Use clean, dry paper towels to absorb any excess oil or butter that might be lurking in the plates. You might need to fold your paper towel a few times to increase the thickness, and then draw the folded towel through the grooves.

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Step 4: Wipe down the exterior of the waffle maker.

Close up of hand wiping down outside of waffle maker
Photo: Daryna Tobey for Bob Vila

Use a damp cloth or sponge to thoroughly wipe down the outside of the waffle maker. You may have to scrub a bit at any cooked-on drips.

Step 5: Remove stubborn oil and burnt-on food.

Wiping Down Dirty Waffle Maker
Photo: Daryna Tobey for Bob Vila

Before getting started with a general cleaning of the plates, identify potential trouble spots. Make a paste of 2 parts baking soda and 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Apply the paste to burnt or baked-on spots and let it sit for 30 minutes or so. It will turn brown as it absorbs the oil or baked-on food. Wipe away with a wet rag until all the gunk is removed.

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Step 6: Clean the rest of the inside of the waffle maker.

Cleaning Waffle Iron Plates with Cloth and Tongs
Photo: Daryna Tobey for Bob Vila

Use a damp rag and mild dish soap to thoroughly clean the inside of the waffle maker. Methodically run the towel through the length of each groove, using tongs with silicone tips to guide the towel through the grooves, if you like. Take time with the high points of the plates, too.

Step 7: Use a toothpick to clean nooks and crannies.

Cleaning Waffle Iron With Toothpick
Photo: Daryna Tobey

Examine the waffle maker for any remaining gunk hiding in crevices. Use a toothpick to remove and then clean once more with a wet, soapy rag. Dry the interior with a clean rag.

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Step 8: Dry your waffle maker.

Use a dry cloth to dry all surfaces; be sure to get into the grates to make sure they’re completely dry. Let it air-dry for 30 minutes or so before putting the clean waffle iron away with your other appliances or using it again.

How to Clean a Waffle Maker With Removable Plates

Those wondering how do you clean a waffle maker might note that removable plates can make the job go faster. If your waffle iron has removable plates, take them out of the appliance and soak them in warm, soapy water. Never place the plates in the dishwasher, since the detergent it uses can ruin their nonstick surface over time. (Check manufacturer instructions for other types that might be safe.) Use a wet cloth to scrub any stubborn bits. Rinse and then dry the plates thoroughly before putting them back into the waffle iron. Clean the outside of the unit as described in Step 4.

Final Thoughts

Using tongs to remove a waffle from a waffle iron
Photo: istockphoto.com

The best waffle maker will cook even better when clean, and developing a cleaning routine after each use might rank the waffle iron among your most-used kitchen appliances. Always remember to unplug the iron before cleaning it; let it cool down before getting started; and use soft tools when cleaning. If you use a basting brush to brush the plates with melted butter before you start cooking, not only will the waffles have an extra bit of tastiness, you’ll find cleanup easier, too.