A vintage waffle iron adds a touch of retro chic to standard kitchen decor. Whether it's a traditional cast-iron waffle maker or a '60s-style electric model, odds are good that after years of reliable service, the item needs a thorough cleaning. Even if you have no intention of using it, removing the dust, dirt and debris can transform an old hand-me-down into a visually arresting display piece. This can be easily accomplished with a few everyday items. But, as with all other vintage items, care must be taken.
Brush the interior and exterior surfaces with an old toothbrush. This will remove any loose crumbs or bits of old batter.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Dip the bristles of the toothbrush into the hot water. Use the wet brush to gently scrub any stubborn debris. Wipe the iron with a soft towel to dry.
Pour 1/4 tsp. of vegetable oil directly over any remaining residue. Wait five minutes, allowing the oil to soften the material. Wipe the excess oil away with a paper towel. To clean the cracks and crevices, wrap the tip of a pencil in a paper towel. Drag the pencil through the grooves of the waffle iron.
Sponge the exterior surface with a warm water. To remove sticky residue, make a paste from borax and water. Use an old toothbrush to spread the paste over any affected areas, and scrub gently. Wipe the residue away with a damp cloth. Repeat if necessary.
Pour ¼ cup household ammonia into a small bowl. Add 1 cup warm water, and stir until the two are thoroughly blended. Wipe the waffle iron down with a soft cloth that has been dipped in this solution, completely coating both the interior and the exterior.
Slide the iron into a plastic trash bag. Seal the bag and set it aside for 24 hours. This will allow the fumes from the ammonia to loosen any stubborn residue. Remove the waffle iron, and wipe away any remaining dirt or oil. Rinse with warm water and towel dry. Alternatively, paper towels can be soaked in the ammonia solution and draped over the waffle iron or placed between the plates and left in place for up to 24 hours.