Here's how to keep your flat top grill in tip-top shape.

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A flat top grill combines the best elements of a griddle and a traditional grill. The surface is flat, like a griddle, so you can cook everything from homemade pancakes to Creole burgers to finely chopped vegetables, but you can also heat pots and pans on top of it (Texas Chili, anyone?). Flat top grills are perfect for cooking large meals since the heating elements run lengthwise, heating the entire surface, maximizing your cooking space. But like all good things, flat top grills require some love and attention once in a while, namely, they have to be cleaned. To find out how to clean a flat top grill we went to Nicole Akers, owner of Two Maids and a Mop with locations in Auburn, AL; Augusta, GA; Peachtree City, GA; and Dallas, TX. (Editor's note: As always, leave yourself plenty of time to be extra careful when performing these cleanings. Consult an expert if you have any questions before cleaning.)

How to Perform a Routine Clean of Your Flat Top Grill

It's important to do a routine cleaning of your grill after each use to prevent grime and food from building up and baking into the surface. Akers says, "By regularly keeping up with cleaning, you'll extend the life of your grill and won't have to conduct major time-consuming cleans as often."

What you'll need:

  1. Use a griddle scraper to remove any leftover food particles or grease before your grill cools so they don't have a chance to dry and harden.
  2. Wait for the surface to completely cool. Then, spray with water and gently wipe with a cleaning cloth.
  3. If visible messes still remain, grab a cleaning cloth and some dish soap and scrub away the lingering residue.
Flat top grill
Credit: Getty Images

How to Deep Clean Your Flat Top Grill

Despite routine cleanings, your flat top grill will still need a deep cleaning periodically. There is no set timeframe for this since it really depends on how often you use it and even what foods you cook. Signs your flat top grill is due for a deep cleaning include food particles and grime sticking to the surface, areas of discoloration, uneven cooking of food on the grill, and flavors or aromas from previous meals transferring to your food.

What you'll need:

  1. Turn the heat up to about 300 degrees and using a griddle scraper, scrape the surface of the grill to remove food particles and debris.
  2. Carefully pour some warm water on the surface to help boil off grease. Make sure the water is warm to avoid thermal shock. Keep your distance from the hot steam that arises to avoid burning yourself.
  3. When the water has cooled, use a griddle pad and screen to scrub the entire surface.
  4. Rinse the surface of the grill with water and wipe it clean.
  5. Wet a cleaning cloth with some stainless steel cleaner and clean the surface, followed by a clean cleaning cloth to dry the surface.
  6. Be sure to re-season your grill before the next use to maintain the non-stick surface.