How To Clean an Impossibly Gross Waffle Maker

updated Nov 21, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Waffle irons aren’t typically an everyday breakfast kitchen apparatus. Yours may be stored in an out-of-the-way spot, fit for small appliances that get pulled out on weekends or special occasions. Here’s the thing, though, about waffle irons: Even if they’re not used as often as, say, the toaster, they still get grimy, sometimes exceptionally so, and you may find yourself shying away from using it at all.

Dirty waffle irons aren’t only unpleasant to look at; stuck-on food and a stubborn film of baked-on oil interfere with cooking and releasing your waffles, making what’s supposed to be a fun tradition disappointing and frustrating. 

Cleaning the impossibly gross waffle iron you’ve stashed away for far too long can bring back those memory-making mornings of crispy little squares slathered in butter, gleaming with syrup, and piled with berries and a tuft of whipped cream. Here’s how to do it.

Note: The following instructions are for nonstick waffle irons.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn
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Unplug your waffle iron and let it cool: If you’ve just cooked some waffles, let your iron cool down completely before you attempt to restore it to like-new glory.

How To Clean a Waffle Maker

What You’ll Need

  • Paper towels or a soft-bristled brush
  • Rags or microfiber cloths
  • Tongs with plastic or silicone tips (optional)
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Toothpicks 


  1. Unplug your waffle iron and let it cool: If you’ve just cooked some waffles, let your iron cool down completely before you attempt to restore it to like-new glory. 
  2. Remove loose crumbs: Use dry paper towels or a soft-bristled brush to remove any loose crumbs. Don’t use any abrasive tools, as they could damage the nonstick surface of your waffle iron plates. 
  3. Sop up any excess oil: With dry paper towels, absorb any still-wet oil that has pooled in your waffle iron grates. Folding your paper towels and fitting the edges into the lines of the grid helps reach oil that’s collected there. 
  4. Prepare your rag: Grab a rag that has a bit of texture (like terry cloth or microfiber). Wet it and apply a small amount of dish soap. 
  5. Wipe down the inside of your waffle iron: Use your soapy rag to wipe down the inside of your waffle iron. If necessary, you can use tongs to help guide the rag into the nooks and crannies of the waffle iron.
  6. Make a paste: If any burnt-on food or stubborn oil spots remain, make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.
  7. Let the paste sit: Spoon the paste onto the grates and let it sit for at least a couple hours. The secret ingredient here is time. 
  8. Clean off the paste: After some time, the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste will turn brown as it absorbs the dirty oil that’s been stuck to your waffle iron. Wipe the paste off your waffle iron grates with a clean, wet rag. Swap out your rag and wipe again until any and all residue is removed.
  9. Do the detailing work: Scrape a toothpick through any small cracks that have accumulated waffle batter or crumbs. Wipe the exterior of the waffle iron with a damp rag and a small amount of dish soap. Wipe again with a damp rag to pick up any soapy residue.
  10. Dry the waffle iron: Use a cloth to dry the grates and the outside of the machine. Make sure it’s dry before you use it or put it away.


  • If your waffle iron has removable plates, remove them and soak the plates in warm water and dish soap. Replace the plates in your waffle iron after drying them. 
  • DO NOT use cooking spray on a nonstick waffle iron. Over time, these sprays cause a sticky buildup. 
  • If you have a cast iron waffle maker, follow these instructions for cleaning cast iron