What's the best way to clean a panini press with non-removable sides?
June 7, 2009 6:56 AM   Subscribe

Best way to clean a panini press with non-removable sides? I had a grilled cheese party last night (thanks AskMefi!) and now have to clean a few panini presses. The sides are not removable and I'm not sure how to tackle this. I've tried heating them up and then scrubbing, but there is still plenty of grease inside the grooves. Any tips? Best cleaning fluid? A secret old wives tale with rubber bands and a toothpick that I'm missing?
posted by melodykramer to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: The panini press brands are Hamilton Beach, if there might be certain cleaning secrets just for those -- my George Foreman with removable bits was a cinch to clean in the sink (I'm still amused that grilled was handled by George (Foreman) Hamilton...) :P

PS: The party was amazing and I never would have had a grilled cheese party without JulietBanana posing the question in the first place. So yay! (Another helpful tip for possible grilled cheese partiers -- go to a cheesemonger in the Italian Market in Philadelphia who lets you stand in the store and eat bits of cheese for an hour. This is called "research." :P Also, you can purchase rendered bacon fat. He described it as "bacon without the meat." It was so, so good.)

(Pictures of the cheeses are here...they are labeled with "My name is" stickers for helpful id-purposes.)
posted by melodykramer at 7:19 AM on June 7, 2009

Best answer: I use a rag or an old sponge that I can cram into each individual groove and slide through with like a chop stick or something. Works and laborious.

If it is crusted, the chopstick alone might work, it will not harm the surface like a piece of metal would.

posted by silsurf at 7:38 AM on June 7, 2009

Best answer: I'm going to suggest heating it up slightly and rubbing a wet paper towel or rag over the surface. The water will certainly help "deglaze" the surface (like when you add wine or stock to a hot pan to get all the brown bits off the bottom when making a pan sauce). You could also try spraying water on the hot press and wiping it off after it sizzles. I am sure most of the electronics are sealed, but don't go crazy if you try the spray method.

I had a George Foreman grill for a while and it came with some sort of plastic fork that was meant to scrap out the grooves, maybe check the boxes if you just bought them or something?
posted by sararah at 7:53 AM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding the old rag (or facecloth). Baking soda is safe to use, it's a very mild abrasive- my best trick is rubbing the sticky bits with baking soda paste, leave until completely dry, then furiously scrub with a vinegar soaked rag. It's effective and great fun. My 1982-ish sandwich maker is still nonstick, even in the many nooks and crannies, and I've always cleaned it this way. Sounds like an awesome party, but how on earth did you get up at 7am the next morning to clean up (although Philly time that's probably 9...)?
posted by variella at 7:57 AM on June 7, 2009

Best answer: I had a little sandwich maker grill thing that I used to clean by wetting a paper towel and closing it in the grill while it was on for about a minute. After that, everything usually just wiped right out.
posted by orme at 7:57 AM on June 7, 2009

Yes - grill a sopping wet paper towel. The steam cleans the grill. But don't forget it's in there.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:17 AM on June 7, 2009

The sandwich maker I have is electric, not electronic, i.e. it's either on or off based on whether or not it's plugged in, so I've no qualms about sticking the whole thing in the sink and washing it that way, using whatever I'd normally use on dirty pots. If yours has heat control or anything programmable in it, you might not want to do that, but if it's simple enough, and you're willing to let it dry out thoroughly, just wash it in the sink.
posted by valkyryn at 11:05 AM on June 7, 2009

Response by poster: I grilled the wet paper towel after the baking soda / vinegar cocktail! It worked! Wow! Thanks so much.

(I get up early no matter what time I go to bed, but I think my questions always look like they're posted 3 hours earlier...so 10ish...) :P Mel
posted by melodykramer at 11:06 AM on June 7, 2009

I find that "veggie cleaner" helps clean the plates of my Foreman - the enzymes seem to break down the gunk.
posted by radioamy at 7:09 PM on June 7, 2009

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