How to Keep Your Indoor Grill in Great Shape?
An indoor grill is a very healthy way to cook as well as a way to prepare quick meals. Whether you're constantly on-the-go or want a healthy way to grill indoors, you're going to be using the grill a few nights per week. The indoor grill is an investment that should be cared for properly, so you don't have to replace it in a few years. Cleaning and maintaining your grill improperly can lead to a broken grill that you'll have to replace.
First, a Few Things Not to Do
When you're ready to clean the grill, there are some methods that work beautifully while others will ruin your cooking equipment forever. After you've cleaned the grill inappropriately, you'll end up having to throw the grill in the trash. Before we talk about the best methods for cleaning your grill, let's talk about what you should avoid doing to your grill's surface.
Don't Submerge in Water
One of the worst things you can do is submerge the entire grill unit into water. Placing the grill in a sink full of soapy water or sending it through a dishwasher cycle will ruin the heating elements on the interior of the unit. The only time you should submerge the grill in water is if it has a removable plate. Don't give your grill a bath in water unless you want to buy another one immediately.
Never Use a Scouring Pad
The plates of your indoor grill are covered with a non-stick coating. This keeps food from sticking to it. If you take a scouring pad to the surface of the unit, the coating can be removed. Always use non-abrasive methods to remove food that's been burnt onto the grilling surface.
After you've grilled your meal, it's time to clean. This should happen before you sit down to eat your grilled food. Unplug the indoor grill from the outlet, and grab a wet paper towel. Use the paper towel with tongs to wipe down the surface. The tongs will keep you from burning your fingers on the grill. Wiping it down while it's still warm will stop food from becoming encrusted on the surface as it cools.
It only takes a quick few swipes of the wet paper towel to remove most of the food left behind while cooking. With the non-stick surface, there shouldn't be big pieces of the meal stuck to the plates anyway. Once you've enjoyed your meal, it's time to finish washing down the plates. The surface will be cooled by this time, so take a soft sponge without an abrasive surface and use soapy water to wipe the interior of the grill. Take special care with the edges where grease and fat have dripped.
If you have purchased a grill with removable plates, you can simply remove them from the unit and wash them like you would any other non-stick pan. Never use a scrub brush or scouring pad to remove stuck on food from the surface. Let it soak or run it through the dishwasher. To avoid food stuck to the plates, wipe down the surface with a wet paper towel while it's still hot before cleaning the surface in the water later.
Oil & Grease Drip Tray
The drip tray should be a removable option. The tray can be placed in soapy water or run through the dishwasher quite easily. If you aren't able to remove the drip tray for some reason, you can soak up the grease and oil with a paper towel before it congeals. Once most of the grease is gone, a sponge with soapy water can be applied to the interior of the tray to remove all the fat and grease residue.
Completely Dry the Plates and Unit
Once the plates have been washed down thoroughly, it's important to ensure that all the water is removed from the surface. While water won't be a problem for the most part, if you constantly leave water on the plates or the unit itself, it could cause the unit to break down or rust over time.
Special Cleaning Equipment
There are some cleaning options that are made specifically for the indoor grill. Special sponges with ridges are mean to wipe down the peaks and valleys of the grill's surface much easier than a regular sponge. It has a great surface for cleaning the non-stick surface without ruining the coating, too.
Quick Recap of Tips for Maintaining the Grill
Unplug the grill as soon as you're done using it. It'll keep the plug and connections from becoming frayed or broken over time. It'll also save on electricity, which has nothing to do with grill maintenance but is good money-saving advice.
Wipe down the plates while they're warm. You can do this with a wet paper towel and warm water. When food residue is removed immediately, it won't get hard and crusty, which will make it harder to remove.
Never use harsh chemicals on the grill. If you end up forgetting to wipe down the plates, you'll have food stuck to the grill. The best way to remove the food is to turn on the grill again and allow the residue to get warm. Use the paper towel trick and the tongs to clean the grill.
Don't use metal utensils for grilling ever. While we've advised the use of tongs for cleaning, you should never use metal ones. There are plastic ones that can be used on the grill. Other utensils shouldn't be metal, either. Ceramic, plastic, or silicone are best.
If you want your indoor grill to last for years, you'll need to properly maintain it to ensure that the grill doesn't need to be replaced. Stay away from harsh abrasives, so that the coating isn't removed from the plates. When you invest in a good indoor grill, you really want to enjoy healthy cooking for many years. You can do that as long as you work on maintaining and cleaning the grill properly.