How to Clean Grill Grates

Cleaning your grill grates will help reduce rust buildup and ensure tasty food when you grill. You want to scrape your grates after each use, but you should also do a deep cleanse at least once a year.

Cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore, but depending on what type of grill grates you’re using, you want to be careful how you clean them.

Clean Porcelain Grates

Porcelain grill grates hold heat well and are rust-resistant, but you want to keep them cleaned and cared for. Any chips or scrapes in the porcelain will expose the metal underneath and allow water to seep in, which can create rust to form. So, when cooking with metal tools, be careful not to scrape or nick the grates.

When cleaning porcelain grill grates, don’t use metal or wire brushes. Use a soft bristle or a nylon grill brush when cleaning the grates. Let the grates cool before scrubbing them with the nylon cleaning brush.

Clean Cast Iron Grates

Cast iron grill grates are very durable, tolerate high temperatures and create an even cooking surface. They are tough and can withstand just about anything except water - iron is prone to rusting.

When cleaning cast iron grates, you can use hard bristle brushes, but the new nylon cleaning brushes work great, too. If you use a hard wire cleaning brush, cook the grates for about 5 to 10 minutes on high to burn off leftover food; scrub or scrape the ash and leftovers off the grates. If you use a nylon brush, clean the grates when they are cool.

After cleaning the grates, dry them. Then saturate the grates with vegetable oil to prevent rust from forming.

Clean Stainless Steel Grates

Stainless steel grill grates tolerate intense heat and are fairly rust-resistant. You don’t have to season stainless steel grates, and it typically only takes a quick brush to keep them clean.

When cleaning stainless steel grates, many grillers cover the top of the grates with tough aluminum foil, and cook the grates on high for 10 to 15 minutes. The aluminum foil will concentrate the heat on the grates to burn off the leftover food.

If you’re using a wire brush, turn off the heat and scrape the grill grates while they’re still hot. Otherwise, if you’re using a nylon brush, let the grates cool before scraping them.

Deep Cleanse for Stuck on Food

Whether you have food that won’t come off with a grill brush or you’re doing your annual deep cleanse, soak the grates in a mix of vinegar and baking soda. The vinegar and baking soda will work together to break apart burnt-on food.

  • Mix 2 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda in a garbage bag.
  • Seal the grates in the garbage bag with a rubber band.
  • Soak the grates overnight.
  • Remove the grates and rinse them off with water. The food that was originally stuck on the grates should fall off, but if there’s anything still stuck-on, you should be able to easily scrub off the rest.