How to clean a waffle iron – so it looks like new

Find out how to clean a waffle iron so it’s hygienic and ready to use

Waffle iron
(Image credit: Alamy)

Wondering how to clean a waffle iron? It’s great to be able to make this breakfast food at home, but in order to keep serving up delicious fluffy waffles, you need to know how to clean up effectively.

Batter can get stuck in the grid of a waffle iron after use, so get in the habit of removing it and making the whole waffle maker pristine each time you’ve made them. It doesn’t take long and it means you’ll always be ready to go when this breakfast treat is on your menu.

These cleaning tips can be applied to different waffle iron designs, and we’ve asked the experts to contribute their advice as well.

How to clean a waffle iron

While you should always clean a waffle iron after it’s been used, don’t clean an electric version while it’s still hot. Unplug it and let it cool down before you start.

Some waffle irons have removable plates, which can make the job easier, but whatever type you own, this is how to clean a waffle iron.

How to clean a waffle iron with removable plates

If the waffle iron has removable plates, once it has cooled, you can take these out. Some waffle irons have plates that can be washed in the dishwasher, which makes the task of cleaning a waffle iron super easy. Check the manufacturer’s handbook if you still have it, or find it online.

Removable plates that can’t go into the dishwasher? Put them into warm water in the sink instead and clean with the water and a sponge or brush suitable for a nonstick surface. If the surface isn’t a nonstick one, you can use a little dish soap, but swerve it if the plates are nonstick.

Rinse thoroughly after cleaning then dry the plates with a dish towel before replacing them in the waffle iron.

How to clean a waffle iron with non-removable plates

A waffle iron with plates you can’t remove is a little harder to clean, but it’s still not an onerous task. 

First, use paper towel to lift crumbs and any oil from the plates and beyond. If there’s any food debris remaining, a soft bristle brush can be used to work out what’s stuck. Make sure the brush is suitable for nonstick surfaces if your waffle iron features these.

‘If there’s still batter on the waffle iron, soak a dishcloth in hot water, squeeze off excess water and lay it over the plates, close the waffle iron, and leave the cloth in place for a few minutes to loosen the dried-on debris,’ advises Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens.

Next, use a sponge dampened with warm water to clean the plates. If the plates aren’t nonstick, you can use a little dish soap, but stick to water only if they do have a nonstick coating. 

Dry the plates with a dishcloth.

How to clean the exterior of a waffle iron

To clean the exterior of a waffle iron, simply wipe it with a damp (not wet) cloth. Dry with a dishcloth to enusure both interior and exterior are free of moisture ready for safe use next time you have a hankering for waffles.

How to clean a cast iron waffle iron

If yours is a cast iron waffle iron that goes on to the stovetop, the cleaning method is a little different. 

‘To a still-warm waffle maker, use paper towel to apply Crisco,’ recommends Renee Kraus, CEO of Renee’s Cleaning Services. ‘Let it melt and sit on the waffle iron for about an hour. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda on it. Use a sponge to work away the grime. A plastic scraper can be used to remove any stuck-on bits.’

How do I get the black stuff off my waffle iron?

‘To get the black stuff off a waffle iron, you could try softening it with a little cooking oil before removing it with a sponge, brush or even a rubber spatula, which won’t harm the surface,’ says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens.

‘Alternatively, wet a dishcloth in hot water, and lay it over the plates. Close the appliance and leave the heat and moisture to loosen the black stuff (probably burned-on batter), then scrape off using one of the options above.’

Can you wash a waffle iron in the sink?

You can’t wash a waffle iron in the sink. ‘If the plates are removable then you can wash them in the sink,’ says Renee Kraus of Renee’s Cleaning Services. ‘If they aren’t, I would not wash it in the sink. You will be soaking the electrical parts. It’s like washing a blender, you can wash the glass pitcher but not the actual mechanical device.’

If the plates of your waffle iron are nonstick make sure to use a sponge or brush suitable for nonstick surfaces when cleaning these in the sink.

Sarah Warwick
Contributing Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.