How to clean every single crevice in a waffle iron

Everyone's least favorite cleaning task, simplified

Published May 15, 2022 1:30PM (EDT)

 (Bobbi Lin / Food52)
(Bobbi Lin / Food52)

This story first appeared on Food52, an online community that gives you everything you need for a happier kitchen and home – that means tested recipes, a shop full of beautiful products, a cooking hotline, and everything in between!

The dichotomy between eating fluffy golden brown waffles doused in maple syrup and having to subsequently clean the waffle iron couldn't be starker. Waffles are my sick-day food. They're my Saturday morning food. They're my it's-a-snow-day-and-I-want-breakfast-for-dinner food. I jump off the couch at the opportunity to consume waffles, plain or studded with chocolate chips. But when it comes time to clean the waffle iron, I decide, in that moment, that it's probably a good time for me to reorganize my closet, go through every shelf in my bookcase and make a donation pile of old YA romances, take up water polo, or read archived files from Watergate. Nothing defines the word "chore" like cleaning your waffle iron. And yet, it must be done. I will neither confirm nor deny whether or not I've ever cleaned a waffle iron before, but there's no day like today, so let's get into it.

  1. Once you've cooked your beautiful waffles, unplug your waffle iron and let it cool completely. 
  2. Brush away loose crumbs or food particles using a soft-bristled brush like a pastry brush. Next, run a dry paper towel over the surface of the grid plates and in every nook and cranny to remove excess oil or butter.
  3. Run the paper towel (or a microfiber cloth) under warm water and drizzle a small amount of dish soap on the towel. Wring out the towel so that it's damp but not dripping; scrub the grates with soapy water to thoroughly remove the oil and butter. If there's a lot of cooked-on food, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub thoroughly. 
  4. Get a clean, damp cloth and wipe down the grates to remove all of the soap. Once it's clean and free from soap, grab a dry cloth to wipe until the waffle iron is completely dry. 

As a rule of thumb, always consult your owner's manual to ensure proper care and never, ever get the cord wet. That's a good way to break your waffle iron — or worse, get electrocuted. 

If you really want to avoid cleaning a waffle maker, follow in my footsteps and put a waffle iron with removable plates on your wedding registry. Most removable plates are designed to be dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning up after a waffle breakfast (or dinner) completely painless. 

By Kelly Vaughan

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Cleaning Hacks Food Food52 How-to Waffle Iron Waffles