Proven Ways to Clean Commercial Griddle Rust Quickly & Easily

We hope you love the products we recommend. SeriouslySmoked.com may earn a commission on qualifying purchases from Amazon Associates or other vendors. Read more here.

Last Updated on June 3, 2021
Doug Stephen

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research, he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.

how to clean rust off a commercial griddle

A commercial griddle is a mainstay in many restaurants, eateries, steakhouses, coffee shops, and other food establishments. If you need a cooking device that can handle food orders for a crowd, a commercial griddle is certainly your go-to option

This essential piece of kitchen equipment comes in handy when grilling delicious bites like burgers and sandwiches. Its flat cooking surface makes it best suited for quick meals such as pancakes, bacon, eggs, hash browns, and French toast.

As much as a commercial griddle is a useful cooking tool, it requires proper care and maintenance to guarantee optimum performance. Griddles are somewhat delicate, and they require regular cleaning and seasoning to get rid of yucky bacteria and prevent corrosion. 

If left uncleaned and exposed to moisture, your commercial griddle will develop rust and become unsafe to use. Besides, a rusty griddle can cause serious health problems to diners.

In this post, we explore ways you can clean rust off a commercial griddle and how to prevent it in the future.

1. What Makes a Commercial Griddle to Rust?

griddle cleaning

Many commercial griddles are made out of heavy-gauge steel, meaning they are less likely to corrode. However, the flat top that forms the cooking surface is usually made out of different materials such as carbon steel, stainless steel, or cast iron. 

These metal alloys are preferred because they are good heat conductors. Besides, cast iron, stainless steel, and carbon steel retain and distribute heat evenly to ensure your food cooks to perfection.

But as you know, any metal alloy that contains iron does not withstand oxidation very well. While your griddle may come with an additional non-stick layer on the cooking surface, this does not exempt it from rust and corrosion.

Rust appears naturally when iron, water, and oxygen combine through a process called thermodynamics. When you expose your griddle to moisture, it will react with oxygen in the air and form a rusty coating over time.

After grilling your tasty burgers and delicious bites, you should always clean and wipe the cooking surface dry. Leaving your griddle wet and unprotected for long periods will eventually cause it to rust.

2. Is It Safe to Use a Rusty Commercial Griddle?

No one in his or her right senses would dare cook meals on a rusty commercial griddle. This is particularly important if you are operating a restaurant or an eatery. Your clients may not notice the rust on their foods, but the taste of their meals will certainly be conspicuous.

Rust is unsafe as far as food preparation is concerned. While ingesting food (cooked on a rusty surface) from one meal may not pose significant health issues, continuous consumption can cause several health problems that affect the intestinal tract and digestive system. 

The rusty surface may also harbor bacteria and other disease-causing pathogens that cause food poisoning and diarrhea.

With this in mind, you should strive to clean your griddle regularly after cooking to keep rust at bay. You should also re-season your griddle every few weeks to give it an extra layer of protection and to replace any worn-out non-stick properties.

3. Step-by-Step Guide to Clean Rust Off a Commercial Griddle

dirty griddle

Without proper care and maintenance, your griddle will inevitably develop some rust. Cleaning rust off the griddle might turn out to be a huge challenge, especially if you don’t know where to start. 

Fortunately, we are here to help. Below is a step by step guide to help you find your way out of this mess.

STEP 1. Heat the Griddle Up

Start by heating the griddle for about 20 minutes. This will help break the bond of the rust and loosen it up, making it easier to remove. The heat will also melt any grease buildup and debris from previous cooking sessions. 

STEP 2. Scrub the Surface of the Griddle

Allow the griddle to cool for a few minutes and then scrub it thoroughly using a metal scraper. Continue scrubbing the flat top surface and any other corroded surfaces until you see no more rust remaining.

STEP 3. Apply Drops of Oil to the Surface 

Apply a few drops (2-4 teaspoons) of oil to the griddle’s surface and then scrub using a scrubbing pad, sandpaper, or a grill stone. Work the oil around the griddle’s surface for a few minutes to remove any remaining rust and residue. This step will also help polish and treat the surface of the griddle in preparation for the next stage.

STEP 4. Wipe Off the Surface

Inspect the griddle’s surface for any remaining rust or debris before proceeding. If the surface is rust-free, wipe off the oil using paper towels, an old rag, or a piece of cloth. Make sure you remove as much oil as possible.

STEP 5. Apply Drops of Oil Again

The first 4 steps might not deliver desirable results in a single cycle. For this reason, you should repeat the above steps a few more times to ensure your griddle is rust-free. Scrub the dry surface once again using your metal scraper and then apply 2-4 teaspoons of oil. Work the oil around the griddle’s surface again and wipe off the oil using paper towels until there’s no sign of corrosion.

STEP 6. Season the Griddle’s Surface 

Once your griddle is corrosion-free, you need to season it to prevent rust from forming in the future. Seasoning is the process of treating a cooking device like a pan or a griddle with heat and oil to create a non-stick, corrosion-resistant surface. 

To season your griddle, apply a few drops of extra virgin olive oil to the surface and heat it for about 30 minutes until it turns black. Let the griddle cool and repeat this step 3-4 times to ensure the surface is seasoned evenly.

STEP 7. Apply More Oil for Extra Protection

Finally, apply a few more drops of oil to the griddle’s surface to create an extra layer of protection and prevent the formation of rust.