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How to clean a small or large George Foreman grill: A comprehensive guide for all styles and models

Read on to discover how to clean your George Foreman grill with removable plates, toastie maker and more with our easy tips for a spotless cooker.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Cleanipedia Team

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George Foreman grills are famously easy to cook with and a great way of making healthy meals. As long as you know what you are doing, they are also relatively easy to clean as well. Follow our complete guide on how to clean a George Foreman grill below – plus, we also show you the best way to clean a sandwich maker too!

How to clean a George Foreman

Before you start to clean a George Foreman, there are some important things you need to bear in mind.

  • There are two ways to proceed here, depending on whether your grill has removable plates.

  • Bear in mind that the plates have a non-stick coating. Take care not to damage this surface. Avoid using any abrasive chemicals or rough sponges.

  • Always unplug your grill before you start working on it.

How to clean a George Foreman grill with removable plates

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This is the best way to clean a George Foreman grill with removable plates. If you have a model with fixed plates, skip to the section below.

  1. Turn off your grill and unplug it. If it’s been in use, allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes.

  2. Remove the grill plates. Carefully scrape off any loose scraps.

  3. How do the plates look? If particularly grubby or burnt, put them in a sink or bowl filled with warm water and a few drops of washing-up liquid. Ten minutes should be long enough.

  4. If you have a dishwasher, pop the plates straight in there. A regular wash programme and detergent is fine. Avoid overloading the washer to give the plates the best chance of getting clean.

  5. If you wish to hand washing, it is straightforward. After removing the plates from your George Foreman, sponge them down well using warm water and washing-up liquid. Do not ever use a scouring pad or anything metallic as that risks stripping off the non-stick coating.

  6. Allow the plates to dry. Ensure the plates are fully dry before putting them back so as to prevent any excess water short-circuiting the grill.

Cleaning a George Foreman grill with fixed plates

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If the plates don’t come out or if you have ceramic plates, there are a few key steps to follow. Bear in mind that if you regularly wipe down the plates with a damp cloth each time you use the grill, you’re less likely to have to do a major clean.

Please note: you should never be tempted to dip the whole grill in water to give it a quick clean, as you risk damaging the heating elements.

  1. You’ll need the grill to be warm. If you haven’t been using it, switch it on and allow it to heat up.

  2. Once hot, turn off the grill, unplug it and allow it to cool. Wait until it is warm, not hot.

  3. Soak a few paper towels in water. We suggest using three per plate.

  4. Place the paper towels over the grill plates. Layer three - one on top of the other - for each plate.

  5. Close the grill.

  6. Wait as the damp towels create steam. This will loosen food particles on the grill.

  7. Open up the grill and remove the paper towels. Use a plastic scraper to get at any stubborn bits. Then, wipe down with warm, soapy water using a sponge. Don’t use anything abrasive on the plates as you’ll damage the non-stick surface.

  8. Use a fresh, damp sponge to remove any suds.

Cleaning the exterior and trays

After you clean the plates of your George Foreman, cleaning the outside of the grill is simple. Make sure the grill has cooled and isn’t hot to touch, before using a damp cloth to clean it. The tray that catches the fat and other melted food bits that drip off can be removed, so discard of the contents before washing it in warm, soapy water. Alternatively you can simply pop it in the dishwasher.

How to clean a toastie maker

Whether you call it a toastie maker, sandwich maker or Panini grill, you can go about cleaning it in the same fashion. Learning how to clean a George Foreman toastie maker is pretty simple, and the good news is that you don’t need any special cleaning products or equipment to make an easy task of it. As with a George Foreman grill, don’t go near any non-stick coatings with a scouring pad or harsh chemicals.

  1. Start by checking the manufacturer’s guide. Have a read through to make sure there aren’t any special instructions on best cleaning practices.

  2. Give the toastie maker a simple wipe. If you’re dealing with just a small amount of food in your sandwich press, you may be able to get it clean by just using a damp, soft cloth.

  3. Use your dishwasher. If your panini press has removable plates - and the manufacturer’s handbook gives you the go ahead - then this is the easiest way to get your plates looking spruce again. Just remember to let the plates cool before touching them.

  4. Soak your plates. If your plates are removable and you don’t have a dishwasher or the manufacturer recommends hand washing only, fill your sink with warm water and add a few drops of dishwashing soap. Allow the plates to soak until all the food residue has softened. Then gently wipe with a soft cloth.

  5. Try dishwashing soap on non-removable plates. Non-removable plates? As before, fill a bowl with warm water and dishwashing soap. Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the soapy water, and then gently rub at the plates until clean, adding more soapy water as needed. Avoid using too much water so as to protect the electrical components of your sandwich press. Remember to stay away from abrasive sponges or rough cloths and ensure that the grill is switched off and unplugged before putting water anywhere near it.

  6. Dig out the chopsticks. If dealing with a really stubborn piece of melted food that just won’t budge no matter what, you can gently lift it from the plate by wrapping the square end of a chopstick in a soft cloth and using it as a scraper. Never use a knife, steel wool, or anything else that could damage the non-stick plates.

Tip: One way to avoid messy plates is not to overstuff your sandwiches with filling, especially cheese, which has a tendency to overflow when melted. Need to know how to clean a toaster? We have everything you need to know in our guide.

So, there you go. In just a few simple steps we've shown you how to clean a George Foreman grill with removable plates, or fixed plates, as well as their exterior and trays, and even toastie makers. Now you can be sure to enjoy a cheese melt or grilled burger without worrying about cleaning up afterwards.

Are you looking to clean a George Foreman outdoor grill? Follow our step-by-step guide on how to clean a BBQ, or check our advice on how to clean a gas barbecue.

Your George Foreman grill cleaning questions answered

What is the easiest way to clean a George Foreman grill?

It depends on whether your grill has removable plates and how dirty it is. A simple wipe over with a soft, damp cloth might be enough, but if you’re dealing with grime and stubborn residue then you’ll need to use one of our methods above.

How do I get burnt food off my George Foreman grill?

Try the cleaning methods that we have outlined above. If you still have burnt bits that won’t budge then try the chopstick trick: simply wrap the square end of a chopstick in a soft cloth and use it to work on the stuck bits. Failing that, crack open the baking soda, and sprinkle it on both sides of the grill. Place enough damp paper towels to fully cover the plates and then leave overnight. You should find the leftovers come easily unstuck.

Can you use oven cleaner on a George Foreman grill?

You want to be careful using any harsh chemicals on the non-stick plates as you could strip them of their coating, ruining them. While some milder cleaners may be fine, it’s safer to use one of the methods above. In any case, check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you won’t cause any damage or invalidate a warranty.

Originally published