Your favorite ingredients will taste even better when you prepare them on clean and well-maintained grill grates. If you’ve recently purchased a gas or charcoal grill, or if you want to get your old grill ready for the season, you’ll love these simple cleaning steps.
Grill grates are exposed to high temperatures and can develop a carbon buildup over time. Food and debris can also become a problem after just a single session.
Learning how to clean your grill grates will prevent rust and lasting damage, and you’ll be better prepared for your next family meal or dinner party with friends and family.
The cleaning process is different depending on what your grill grates are made from. We’ve covered tips and steps for every scenario.
Cleaning Stainless Steel Grill Grates
Stainless steel is the most resilient material used in modern grills. In addition to resisting corrosion, stainless steel will also resist food debris buildups.
Of course, like any material, cleaning is still necessary. You can keep your stainless steel grates looking and performing their best with the following steps.
- Wait until the cooking grates cool down before removing them.
- Clean the grates with a nylon brush to remove all debris and buildup. It’s easiest if you do this over a trash can or bag.
- For stubborn buildup, you can use a grill-friendly cleaner or soapy water with a nylon brush. Be sure to fully dry the grates before putting them back in your grill.
Note that stainless steel grates will take on a darker color over time. This is a natural reaction to the heat inside the grill. Cleaning is complete when all debris and grease is gone.
Cleaning Cast Iron Grill Grates
Cast iron is a versatile material for cooking appliances, and it is used extensively for grills of all sizes and types. With the right care, cast-iron cooking grates can last a lifetime. Follow these steps to get the best return on your investment.
- You can use any metal or nylon brush to clean off debris from the cooking grates. Make sure the grill cools before you start cleaning.
- Stubborn debris can be loosened with detergent and water. Because iron can rust easily, you’ll need to completely dry and season the grates after cleaning.
- Once the grates are fully cleaned and dried, apply vegetable oil, canola oil, or any high smoke point oil with a basting brush or paper towels. The oil should coat every surface and crevice of the cooking grate.
- Put the grates back on the grill and fire it up at high temperature for 30 minutes. This will season the oiled cooking grates and protect against rust while the grill is stored or not in use.
Season your cast iron grates after every cleaning and you’ll enjoy a non-stick surface that’s free of rust.
Cleaning Porcelain Enamel Grill Grates
Porcelain enamel is increasingly popular in modern grills. This glass-like coating is applied to cast iron to create a protective non-stick barrier.
It’s easier to clean and your grates won’t need seasoning, however, you’ll need to avoid harsh wire brushes and metal scrapers to avoid damage.
Aside from this, the cleaning process is similar to stainless steel.
- Wait for the cooking grates to cool down if you’ve just finished cooking.
- Clean with a nylon brush or a specialized metal brush without sharp bristles. Make sure the brush is intended for porcelain surfaces.
- You can use any normal cooking grate cleaner on porcelain enamel, as long as it’s non-abrasive. Citrus based cleaners work well, and they’re usually food-safe. You can also use kitchen detergent and warm water to help loosen any stubborn buildup.
- Porcelain enamel grates can be put right back onto your grill once they have dried.
Porcelain enamel has all of the amazing properties of standard cast iron (great heat retention and durability), without the rust downside. Follow our cleaning steps and you’ll enjoy your grill for many years to come.
Helpful Products to Clean Your Grill Grates
Get the right cleaning products and you’ll find it much easier to keep your grill clean. We’ve made the following suggestions based on our own evaluation, strong customer feedback, and suitability for different grilling surfaces.
- This Citrusafe BBQ Grill Cleaner is a spray product that is suited to all grill grates. It can be used in place of detergent to help remove stubborn food and debris buildups.
- Designed by Char-Broil, one of the top names in grilling, this Nylon Bristle Grill Brush is perfect for all grate surfaces, including porcelain enamel. The metal scrapers cal be used for cleaning grill interiors, so it’s a great versatile option.
- Suitable for all surface types, this Kona Caribbean stainless steel brush is another option to consider. Its unique design makes it easy to work into the spaces between cooking grates.
Keep your cooking grates clean and you’ll be rewarded with a long-lasting grill that provides effortless cooking and memorable meals throughout the year.