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How To Clean Grill Grates

How To Clean Grill Grates

Ah, the joy of grilling up a nice juicy Denver steak, but oh, the sorrow of cleaning up the mess left behind by food on your grill’s grates.

Although it can be tedious, cleaning your grill’s grates is necessary because it decreases rust accumulation and guarantees you will have a delicious Ranch steak.

Even though you can scrape any remaining food debris from your grill’s cooking grates, you need to deep clean your grill grates at least once a year.

Luckily cleaning your grill’s grates doesn’t have to be one of those dreaded chores.

According to the type of grill you have, you may need to pay special attention to how you clean them.

Before Cleaning Grill the Grates

The method you use to clean your grill’s grates, as well as the products you use, depends on the kind of grate. You will also need a grill brush.

If you do not have a grill brush, check out our review of the top 5 grill brushes.

You must figure out what material your grill grates are constructed from. Porcelain, stainless steel, and porcelain grill grates are all different. 

For example, porcelain gates are designed to be rust-resistant. However, this is only if the finish remains undamaged.

You will need to clean the grills grates with nylon or soft-bristled brush instead of metal or wire brushes.

In contrast, cast-iron grates are durable, which means they can withstand a rough wire brush. However, like a cast-iron skillet, cast-iron cooking grates are prone to rust.

This means they have to be seasoned with canola or vegetable oil after they have been cleaned.

Check out our in-depth guide if you want to know how to season a cast-iron skillet.

On the other hand, stainless steel grates are durable, so they do not need as much consideration as porcelain or cast-iron grates.

Nevertheless, this does not mean they are rust-resistant. They must be dried thoroughly before cleaning them to prevent rust from developing.


Some grillers are hardcore grill brush enthusiasts. However, there is danger associated with wire brushes. 

The wire bristles are known for becoming detached from the brush and ending up in food. 

Many people have consumed these bristles without knowing it, so it is understandable if you want to use a safer tool. Luckily you have multiple options to help you clean your grill.

Aluminum foil is an excellent tool for cleaning grill grates.

Next, crumple up a sheet of foil into a ball and use grilling tongs to hold it while you scrub a dub dub your grill’s grates.

Alternatively, you can also re-use the foil you used to make foil packet recipes.

Most people already have a nylon scouring pad in their kitchen. Nylon scouring pads are perfect for cleaning grill grates. With this tool, you can clean your grill grates in no time.

Furthermore, there are also grill stones.

Grill stones have a pumice-like appearance that can be carefully rubbed in a back-and-forth motion against the grills grates.

Next, wipe the grill’s cooking grates with a soft cloth or water, and you’re all done.

This next method is a little strange, but do not knock the onion method until you try it. Believe it or not, you can use half of an onion to clean your grill’s grates.

Onions contain acidic enzymes that can break down grease without scratching the grills grates.

Simply place the onion onto a BBQ fork and use it as a grill brush to clean the grills grates.

How To Clean Grill Grates

The thought of cleaning the grills grates can be unnerving. However, it doesn’t take all day to restore your grill grates to their former glory.

In fact, there are four different methods you can use to clean your grill’s grates.

Burn Off

The burn off method is the easiest and fastest method to clean grill grates.

Once you are done grilling your BBQ shrimp, turn the grills burners too high and leave the lid off to burn off any additional food residue.

After 15 minutes have passed, clean your grill with a grill brush or another tool to get the grates clean and clean them with hot soapy water. 

If you are using the burn off method, it is best to scrub your grill grates with hot soapy water each month. 

Scrubbing the grates every so often with hot soapy water will make sure there is nothing accumulating on the grates.

Furthermore, you will clean and sanitize grill grates as the hot water sanitizes the grates.

Reverse Method

As the name implies, this method is the reverse of the previously mentioned technique. Gently scrub your grill’s grates, then soak them in hot soapy water for 1 hour and rinse them.

Next, place the grill grates back onto your grill, place the lid on the grill, and heat it up.

Once your grill is hot, use a grill brush or another tool to scrub any remaining residue from your grill’s grates, and you’re all done.

Vinegar or Grill Spray

Even though hot soapy water is the ideal solution for cleaning grill grates, vinegar or grill spray is also an excellent way to clean grill grates.

Combine 2 cups of water and 2 cups of vinegar in a spray bottle, spray it on your grill’s grates and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Next, brush your grates with a clean grill brush, and you’re all ready to grill up your next BBQ feast.

In contrast, if you are using a grill spray, read and follow the manufactures instructions to clean your grill’s grates.


Lastly, you can also steam clean your grill grates. All that’s needed to steam clean your grill is is water and a sponge.

Heat your grill until it achieves a temperature of 600°F, then turn off the grill. Place a container such as a coffee tin of water onto the grill’s grates.

Close the grills lid and let it steam for 30 minutes. Scrub your grill’s grates clean with a silicone sponge to loosen any remaining debris.

Even though using the steam cleaning method will clean your grates, you still need to clean your grill before and after each use.

However, you can make the cleaning process easier by oiling your grill grates right after you clean them.

Simply dab a bit of oil onto a sheet of paper towel and rub it on the grills.

Final Thoughts

Grills make our lives easier by handling the hard job of cooking the meat. They help us keep our kitchens cool and achieve our grilling desires.

However, if you use your grill a lot, it can become dirty easily. For this reason, you must know how to clean your grill’s grates.

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