How To Clean Grill Grates?

With summer already here, we’re all looking forward to outdoor or backyard cookouts with family and friends. More often than not, we don’t clean our grill grates. Some people say the leftover grime adds flavor when you cook again. But it’s just lazy people talk.

Not cleaning your grill grates leads to the building up of grease and oil. Instead of adding flavor to your food, it becomes rancid and makes your food taste bad. You just need to know the proper steps on how to clean grill grates.

Different Approaches to Cleaning Different Types of Grates

There are different methods for different materials of grates. Now, let’s go into the details of every technique you need to know to clean grill grates.

Related reading: How to Clean Mold Off Grill?

How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Grates?

This may seem self-evident, yet it cannot be exaggerated. Cleaning your grill right after each use is the best method to keep it fresh and rust-free.

  1. After you’re done cooking and collected your food, release all vents if you’re using charcoal, turn up the heat on your grill to a high temperature if you’re using gas, and shut the lid to enable the grill to heat up.
  2. You can burn off a lot of the barbecue sauce and stuck-on food this way. Once your food has been burned off, you could either cover your valves to extinguish the charcoal, which you can reuse later, or switch off the gas to let the grill cool off to the degree where you can safely clean it.
  3. Scrape your grates using a good grill brush while your grill is still hot. A brush with even a scraper is ideal since it allows you to remove any residual food from the grates effortlessly.
  4. After cleaning and drying your grates, add a thin coat of vegetable oil to prevent rust from developing. It only takes a quick clean with a kitchen towel, or cloth gently dipped in oil.

Cast iron grill grates can take a lot of heat retention. They often come with an enamel or porcelain coating on them. While cast iron is quite durable, make sure not to scrub off the coating.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Grill Grates

Stainless steel grill grates will last a long time if you take care of them properly. It includes cleaning them after every use.

  1. Use a bristle-free or stainless steel grill brush to scrub your grates. If you do this while your grates remain hot, you might not have to clean your grates the next time you use your grill.
  2. If you forgot to keep your grates hot, preheat the grill grates to more than 500°F for 10-15 minutes before you start grilling.
  3. Use the brush to clean away any dirt from your previous cooking session after the grill gets nice and warm.
  4. To remove stains from your grate, raise the temperature of your grill up to 500° F, and place a sheet of aluminum foil over the problematic region, shiny side down, to loosen the issue.
  5. Brush the unwanted debris away with the grill brush once the grill is heated.
  6. If that method doesn’t work, then try to soak your unclean stainless steel grates in hot water for a few minutes before carefully washing them clean.

Remember that you are removing the seasoning that has accumulated, and the grates would need to be seasoned again.

Stainless steel grill grates can resist corrosion but have less heat retention than cast iron grill grates. They’re lightweight and easier to carry. But if you don’t clean them properly, the grates will degrade over time.

How to Clean Porcelain Grill Grates?

Porcelain grill grates are hefty porcelain-coated metal racks. Steel or iron makes up the metal core, with iron as the favored material.

Iron warms up quicker and warmer than steel when covered with porcelain, making it an ideal grilling surface. Steel is frequently used in less-priced barbecues. A thick coating of porcelain is applied to both alloys. This results in an excellent grill grate that is both simple to heat and clean.

On the other hand, Porcelain grill grates require regular cleaning after an extended usage period.

  1. First, you have to make a mixture of soap and warm water.
  2. Dip a brush into the water and scrub the grill grate.
  3. Soak it up overnight and clean it again in the morning.

Porcelain grill grates have the most heat retention than the other two metals. But scrapers should never be used on a porcelain grill’s surface, regardless of how baked the food and oil are. A scraper can scratch the surface, creating splits, fissures, and chipping that enable moisture to seep in and harm the grill grate’s metal core.

What Do You Need to Clean Grill Grates?

Plenty of grill-cleaning equipment and gadgets are available online or at your nearby hardware shop. These are the materials that you’d need:

  • A long metal wire brush
  • Long-handed rubber gloves
  • A 5-gallon bucket
  • Wire bottle brush
  • Some elbow grease
  • Hot water
  • Dish soap
  • Disposable scrubbing sponges
  • Some cotton rags
  • A poultice composed of baking soda and white vinegar

Keep in mind that toxic chemicals should not be used to clean the grates since they might give your meal an unpleasant flavor.

Wait for a cloudy day to clean stainless steel. The summer sun might make removing smears from stainless steel surfaces difficult. It’s also more comfortable to work in cold weather.

How to Clean Grill Grates without Brush?

While cooking on a grill, you might not always have a brush handy. That is where these alternatives come in.

Follow one of these alternate methods when you don’t have a brush.

How to Clean Grill Grates with Aluminum Foil?

Aluminum foil has a lot of uses other than wrapping food with it. You can even clean your grill grates with aluminum foil.

  1. Once you finish cooking that last meal, simply wrap up a piece of foil into a circle large enough just to handle with a set of tongs.
  2. With the tongs, hold the aluminum ball and scrape the leftovers away. Remember that aluminum foil might leave little bits and chunks behind. So, let the grates cool before wiping away the grime with a damp cloth.
  3. After you’ve finished cooking, wipe the grates well before any residue can harden and stick.
  4. If you haven’t cleaned the grill after your previous BBQ and there’s still some burnt food on them.
  5. There’s a simple technique to clean them before you cook again. Place a layer of aluminum foil right over the grill grates and turn it on. Close the cover of the grill.
  6. Allow the grill to heat up for some time, or at least until the residue begins to loosen.
  7. Using a ball of aluminum foil, clean the grates after removing the foil. The foil covers assist in concentrating the heat all over the grate, allowing it to burn and loosen any remaining food.

How to Clean Grill Grates by Soaking?

If you don’t want to use any other metal to clean your grill grates, you can simply do it through soaking. Let’s go through the detailed process.

  1. Ensure the grates are completely cool before beginning this cleaning process. You will burn yourself if you don’t do so.
  2. Fill a big bucket halfway with heated water as well as a quarter cup of a dishwashing liquid you use in the sink to wash dishes.
  3. Add baking soda to a quarter cup, stirring until the bucket has a nice foam. Now insert the grates in the bucket for an hour and let them soak.
  4. To eliminate residual dirt, scrape them with a pad made of steel wool.
  5. Using your yard hose, rinse those grates. If your grates can fit in the kitchen sink, you may simply just soak them there. Rinsing and cleaning will be a little simpler as a result of this.
  6. Pour a cup of ammonia over the grates and let it sit in a plastic trash bag for twelve hours is an alternate soaking technique.
  7. Make sure to rinse well because the ammonia odor may infiltrate your meal if you try this method.

How to Clean Grill Grates by Burning?

Cleaning grates by burning them is not the same as igniting them. It simply entails heating them at a high enough temperature to cook off any residual food or waste. You have two options for accomplishing this.

One option is to wrap aluminum foil across the top of your grates, set a high temperature on the grill, and then just shut the lid. Allow 15 minutes for it to work. Then open up and use a steel wool pad to remove the accumulated white ash.

The second option is to place your grill grates on a self-cleaning kiln and let them clean themselves. This one should be handled with caution because there’s a chance it might stain your grates. It’s a straightforward approach if you don’t care about what color your grates are.

How to Clean Grill Grates with a Vacuum?

Using a vacuum is also a helpful way to clean your grill grates. It might seem unusual, but quite helpful.

  1. Remove the grates from your grill, and the firebox will become exposed. It will make the inside of the firebox easy to clean.
  2. Now, put a bucket right under the firebox, just under the opening of the grease tray. Then, it would be easy to catch flushed out wastes.
  3. Scrape out all the caked-on muck from within the firebox with a silicone putty knife.
  4. Next, gather any residual loose material with a wet/dry vacuum, either a full-size or a portable hand vacuum. You shouldn’t feel terrible about using a wet/dry vacuum to suck away the crud accumulated in your grates, as wet/dry vacuums are usually workshop equipment.
  5. Rinse the firebox with a water hose after it’s clean.

How to Clean Grill Grates without Cleaning Chemicals?

In this section, let’s discuss how you can clean grill grates without using any cleaning chemicals.

How to Clean Grill Grates with Vinegar?

When it comes to cleaning a grill, nothing beats the ability of white vinegar.

  1. Fill a plastic container with vinegar and water and place your grills inside.
  2. Allow 5 minutes before scrubbing the residual caked-on grate with a lemon. You may use almost any sour vegetable or fruit, such as an onion or a lemon.

This approach is very effective for quickly cleaning severely greased-up grates, especially if you haven’t cleaned your barbecue in a long time!

This approach is not only chemical-free and safe, but it also prevents your metal from being damaged by scraping instruments. The vinegar and water mixture left behind may easily be drained without harming the environment.

How to Clean Grill Grates with Ammonia?

This might just be the easiest process out there. All you need is ammonia, a plastic bag, and a scrub.

Remember that ammonia has a powerful odor. So, it will be wise to cover your nose when pouring ammonia.

  1. Take the grates off the grill and place them inside the plastic bag.
  2. Now, fill up one-fourth of the bag with ammonia. You can even try spraying the ammonia inside, but pouring it in is suggested, as spraying might spread it around.
  3. Once you’re done, keep the bag in a place where there is no chance of any leak occurring and lay it there for the night. The next day, you’ll see the leftovers come off very easily with a scrub rub.

How to Clean Grill Grates with Baking Soda?

This is the perfect method to use if you own porcelain or enamel grill grates. Using a scrub instead of aluminum foil or a wire brush might damage the surface of the coated grates.

  1. Place the grates on a leveled surface after removing them from the grill.
  2. Using water, moisten the grates.
  3. Wait 10 minutes after gently sprinkling Baking Soda over the grill grates.
  4. After that, gently scrub the grates with a moist scrub, moving up and down every wire.

How to Clean Grill Grates with Onion?

You can also clean your grill grates with onion. It has ingredients that boost the cleaning process.

  1. Cut an onion in half and place it on a fork. The onion contains acids that dissolve fat, while the onion’s water acts as a steam cleaner.
  2. After frying and scraping the grates, rub them down while they’re still warm. To improve traction and scrubbing strength, sprinkle some salt on the onion’s scrubbing side.
  3. The onion could also be cut thinner to access space between the grates. To extract anything stuck beneath the edges of the grate, slant the fork under its edges. You won’t have to peel the skin onion. Simply slice it while the skin is still on. And then, give it a good squirt with a vinegar-water mixture to get rid of the onion fluids.

How to Clean Grill Grates with Coffee?

For this method, you’ll need a cup of strong coffee to clean the caked-on grates.

  1. Make a batch of strong coffee and submerge your grates in water.
  2. Pour your coffee over the grates and cover it completely. Allow the coffee’s natural acids to dissolve the lipids and hardened leftovers.
  3. This might take up to 3 hours to soak. After that, use any pot cleaner or scrub to clean the grates.

This procedure works well for washing both surfaces of the grates and should be used at least once every season. What coffee you use makes no difference, but the stronger it is, the better.

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Different types of grill grates may need different types of cleaning methods. But you know that by now, after reading about how to clean grill grates. Don’t make any mistake by using the method of one grate on another. You might be damaging your grates this way.

All those different types of cleaning methods will surely come in handy one way or the other. Use whichever fits your grill grate. And try to use as few chemicals as possible. These nature-friendly methods will be cost-friendly, and at the same time, they will be good for the environment.