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How to clean a commercial kitchen flat top

Updated February 21, 2017

Cleaning and maintaining a well-used commercial kitchen flat top grill takes daily attention to detail. A properly cleaned commercial flat top has the surface area to safely prepare food for a large crowd. Get the most out of your large flat top griddle by keeping it clean and regularly removing the grease build-up.

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  1. Start by shutting off the grill's heat source and scraping the debris on the surface into the collection bin. High-heat cleaners will work while the grill is on, but reducing the heat on the surface helps to prevent accidental burns.

  2. Remove the grease trap and debris collection bin and wash them in a commercial dish washing unit. Check the flue and grease drain area for burnt debris and clogs and remove them as well.

  3. Read the directions on your high-temperature grill cleaner product and apply it properly to the commercial flat top. Pure lemon juice or vinegar also work well at high heat to break up grease and are food safe. Multiple applications typically work better than using more of the cleaner than directed for the first use.

  4. Use a brush or grill brick to work the cleaner into the surface of the grill in a circular motion. Choose a grill brush that can withstand the high heat or a grill scouring brick that won't cause damage to your specific commercial flat top's surface.

  5. Squeegee the surface of the griddle to remove the dissolved grease and cleaner, then wipe down the entire grill with a dust-free kitchen towel. Grill squeegees are made of heat resistant neoprene and have longer handles to reach to the back of the griddle.

  6. Return your grease and debris traps once they come out of the dishwasher, and raise the heat gauge on your flat top to begin cooking again. A full clean like this is usually done between shifts or once a day depending on how busy the food service establishment is.

  7. Tip

    Regular grill scraping throughout the day will keep the surface relatively clean if you are cooking at the right temperature. Griddles that run too hot will have burnt-on food and grease, which is too hard to scrape, accumulate quickly. Cover your commercial flat top grill's surface with a clean towel when it is not in use to reduce dust and grease build-up from other kitchen activities.


    Cleaners with ingredients that are not food safe may need to be rinsed or washed off with clean water. Avoid using cleaners that are not intended for food or high-heat use. Some commercial flat tops have sensitive surfaces that require particular care instructions. Read the manual of your steel, chrome or non-stick griddle surface to determine what cleaning methods will not cause damage and functionality.

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Things You'll Need

  • Griddle scraper
  • Commercial dishwasher
  • High-temperature grill cleaner, pure lemon juice or vinegar
  • Grill brush or grill brick
  • Grill squeegee
  • Kitchen towel

About the Author

Jeffrey Brian Airman is a writer, musician and food blogger. A 15-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Airman has used his experience to cover food, restaurants, cooking and do-it-yourself projects. Airman also studied nursing at San Diego State University.

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