How to Clean Grill Grates (Cast Iron, Stainless Steel, Porcelain)

We must admit that the most not fun part after having a backyard BBQ party is tidy up the equipment and cleaning the grills.

For sure, you want to make sure your BBQ grill is on the spic-and-span and clean condition before you store it so that it will not leave the spots, which can be a good place for bacterias.

Another effect of dirty grill grates is that it gets rusty over time and can create cracks on your grills. This practice can shorten the time you can use your grill, which means spending on a new one. Thus, it is essential always to clean your grill every time you use it.

So how to properly clean grill grates? This article will guide you step-by-step on the ways and tips to clean grill grates, no matter of types of your grill grates, whether it is cast iron grates, stainless steel grates, or porcelain grates.

Clean Cast Iron Grates

clean cast iron grates

Cast iron grates are durable, resilient, and can withstand high temperatures. It cooks food evenly and is also an excellent option for those who are seeking lasting grilling equipment. A cast iron grate should be well-cared for because its number one adversary is water. Water creates rust, thus deteriorating the quality of your cast iron grate.

The most important note to take care of your cast iron grates is to clean them right after use. It is easier to remove any leftover food bits while it is still warm so that there will be no build-up when you use it the next time. But if you ought to to do it another time, then the following steps and tips will be helpful:

  1. Burn your grill. Grilling involves your favorite sauce to baste on your barbecue or ribs, and this can leave old baked-on-food. The first step involves burning your grill, which is an excellent start in cleaning the grates. You have to turn up your propane gas grill to “high” level or add fuel to your charcoal grill. The ideal temperature is to get it up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. While the grill is warm, brush off remaining debris with a soft grill brush. Then, you can let the grates cool and scrub them with a nylon brush. To follow up, clean the grill grates with a rag soaked in a vinegar solution. The vinegar solution is simply two cups of vinegar and two cups of water. Another cleaning solution you can use is to mix four cups of water to one cup of apple cider vinegar.
  3. Cast iron can get along fine with stainless steel bristles. It is recommended to brush in vertical strokes gently. Also, if you are using a wire brush, be extra careful. It can stick to grills and may end up with the food you are grilling. As an additional tip, cast-iron grates should be completely dry out before scrubbing.
  4. After this, wash the grill with mild soap and water. Put a little soap on a sponge then gently clean the grates. Then, rinse thoroughly with warm or hot water. Make sure that all soap will thoroughly wash out. If there are still stubborn food bits that is attached in the grill grate, you can choose to soak your portable grills.
  5. Pat dry your grill. The final step is to wash down everything that still sticks to your grill grate. Using a high-pressure hose, remove excess bits of food, soaking solution, or paste that still is present on your grates. Thoroughly wash it off to avoid different or inedible taste and smell from it during grill cleaning. A coat of olive oil or vinegar can help reduce the effects of any cleaning agent stuck on your grill. Heat the grill with oil before storing it or reusing it.

Clean Stainless Steel Grates

cleaning stainless steel grills

Stainless steel grates are also durable and last longer than a cast iron. It is preferred because they are less likely to rust and tarnish than cast iron grates. In essence, you must clean a stainless steel grate every time you use it. Here are the steps and extra tips for cleaning your stainless steel grates:

  1. After you remove the grates, the first tip is to wrap them with aluminium foil. Then, turn the heat up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. The gunk and food bits will be burnt off and get brittle. Hence, this technique can help you to scrub everything from the grill.
  2. Using a scraper or a nylon grill brush, scrub the stainless steel grates. Avoid using corrosive materials if you are cleaning stainless steel grates. This is primarily because harsh materials can get it discolored. Another option you can use is a block of wood or a crumpled ball of aluminum foil as a cleanser. Using these materials will make it easier to clean your grill grates.
  3. Lastly, wash or rinse your stainless steel grill grates with water. You can use the hose to remove excess debris. But if you do see that there are still stuck-on food in the grill grate, you can decide on soaking it. To soak the grill grates, you can use baking soda and vinegar solution. Just make sure to remove excess paste or water that may create rust.

Clean Porcelain Grates

brush porcelain grill grates

Porcelain grill grates hold heat well and are rust-resistant. You have to clean them properly because it easily chips. It can also expose the metal underneath which, over time, can start to rust.

When grilling with porcelain grates, be careful with using metal tools because it can nick the grates. Therefore, one tip is to use a soft bristle or nylon brushes in cleaning porcelain grates. Apart from that, below are the quick tips and steps in cleaning porcelain grill grates:

  1. Prepare the tools you need. The essential materials in successfully removing dirt and thick smoke from your porcelain grill grate are as follows:
    • A soft bristle brush
    • A scouring pad
    • A cup of vinegar
    • Baking soda
    • A professional grill cleaner
  2. Burn off any food bits that are stuck in the grill. This technique helps to quickly burn off any stubborn food or grease leftover on the grates. Warm the grill for 10-15 minutes and let it cool for a while until the grill’s heat is tolerable to get close to.
  3. Next, clean the grill grates by gently scrubbing off the stuck grime and food bits. The porcelain grill grate is best scrubbed with a nylon brush and should be carefully brushed in gentle diagonal strokes. Use the scouring pad or a medium soft bristle brush to clean hard to reach areas. Do not scrub too hard because it can damage the surface of the grill. Flip over the other side to clean them also.
  4. Lastly, apply a small amount of Canola oil to finish it off while the grill grates are still warm. Although porcelain grill grates have a nice surface even without using oil, this tip allows you to keep your porcelain grill grates to its best condition every time you use them.

Can You Soak Grill Grates?

Soaking cooled grill grates is highly encouraged for that much needed deep clean. Soaking your grill for overnight gets you maximum benefit for this method.

There are various types of soak solution you can use. The first one is to soak them overnight in a vinegar solution. For this, you will need the following:

    • 237 g or one cup of vinegar
    • 474 g or two cups of baking soda
    • A large plastic bag
  1. Mix the vinegar and baking soda. The solution will create a froth that will facilitate the breakdown of stubborn gunk or grime still stuck on your grill grates. When doing this procedure, protect your eyes from the vinegar solution because it can irritate them.
  2. Then, put the grill grates inside the large plastic bag. Seal the bag with a rubber band or create a tight knot on the top of the bag. Place the bag in a safe place, safely put it somewhere the pets or people can easily walk by.
  3. In the morning or the next day, you want to hose them down thoroughly before putting it back on the grill.

The good thing about soaking the dirty grill grate in a vinegar solution is that it aids to soften chippy food build up. This method is better than just scrubbing vinegar solution alone to the grill grates. Also, soaking the grill grates overnight can save you a lot of time and energy when you scrub as it peels off the stuck-on food easily.

Additionally, there is another solution that you can use if you do not have baking soda available. This soaking solution requires the following:

    • Large basin or a large plastic storage container (30-gallon container works best)
    • Warm water
    • 2 tsp or one-quarter cup of liquid dishwashing soap
    • Soft bristle scrubber
    • A rag or towel
    • Vegetable oil
    • Tongs
  1. To apply this method, you must fill a basin with warm water. Then, add two teaspoons or one-quarter cup of liquid dishwashing soap.
  2. Using the tongs carefully place the grates into the basin. Then, soak the grill grates for up to an hour. Similar to the first method, this technique easily peels off extra stubborn dirt from your grill grates.

The food bits and built-up grease present in your grills can seriously be dangerous to your health. Hence, paying attention to the right flavoring of your barbecue is equally vital as cleaning your grill grates well. Remember to apply our tips on your next barbecue day!

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