How To Clean Grill Grates: A Barbeque Master Guide

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You’re getting ready for that Sunday barbeque when you realize, you forgot to clean your grill grates. You don’t mind but your wife does – what will people say when they see that greasy, unkept grill in your backyard? How To Clean Grill Grates the right way? The process of cleaning does not have to be hard or boring, but depending on what type of grill grates you are using, you need to be careful when cleaning them.

How To Clean Grill Grates: Before You Start

Please make sure whether your grill grates are made of cast iron, stainless steel, or porcelain. 

The cleaning method and products that you will use for cleaning depend on what material the grates are made of. 

If you are having porcelain grates: 

Porcelain grates are rust-resistant as long as the finish is intact. To make it clean, use a nylon brush, or a soft-bristled brush, or wire brushes.

If cast-iron is the material your grates are made of:

Take wire brushes, they will help you handle cast-iron’s stiff. Anyway, they do rust easily, so we recommend you rubbing the grates down either with vegetable or canola oil after cleaning.

Stainless Steel grates:

Stainless steel grates are durable and don’t require as much special care as porcelain or cast-iron grates. 

But, that does not mean that they are safe from rusting. 

To prevent rust, be sure to fully dry the grates before cleaning.

How To Clean Grill Grates: Choose The Right Tool

Many people do not know how dangerous wire grill brushes can be, enjoying the traditional grill brush. 

Wire bristles are infamous for breaking off and falling into your food. Many people have accidentally ingested these bristles without even realizing it.

Many ended up in the hospital. Bad, right?

It’s time for you to start cleaning with a safer tool and we’ve got plenty of other cleaning ideas you can start using even right now.

Clean up with Aluminium Foil

Grab a handful of aluminum foil, ball it up and use grill tongs to hold it while you scrub the surface away. You can even re-use the same aluminum foil, being a better friend to the environment.

Snag a Nylon Scouring Pad: 

Get a scouring pad from your kitchen and take it to the grill for better and quicker cleanup.

Try using a Grill Stone:

Gently rub the pumice-like grill stone all across the surface of your grill grates. Then finish it off by wiping the area with a soft cloth or water. That was pretty easy, huh?

Use a Leftover Onion: It might seem a little funny or strange, but you can reuse a half onion to clean your grill. Just spear the onion on a barbecue fork, and start brushing with the onion. 

How To Clean Grill Grates - Using a grill stone

The acidic enzymes will break down grease by being overly grinding. And if you are cooking with charcoal, the onion can simply be thrown into the coals.

How To Clean Grill Grates: Easy ways

Cleaning your grill grates may sound a bit tiring but, in a few moments, you will have them sparkling.

By Burnoff

This is the fastest and easiest method for cleaning grill grates. 

After you are done with the grilling process, blast your burners on high with the lid off (or shuffle the coals around if you are using a charcoal grill), to remove any leftover food or grease.

After around 20 minutes, use your grill brush or another tool that you have to brush the grates clean. That’s it!

How To Clean Grill Grates - fastest and easiest way

Clean with Hot, Soapy Water

If you don’t enjoy the burnoff method, we recommend scrubbing your grill grates down with hot, soapy water every 30 days. 

Cleaning your grates this way can ensure that there isn’t any lingering buildup on them.

Plus using this method you are saving a lot of time having two jobs done in the time of one.

Cleaned grates that are also disinfected by the heat.

  1. Lightly scrub your grates.
  2. Soak in soapy water for an hour and rinse.
  3. Return the grates to your grill, close the lid and warm it up.
  4. After it’s warmed, use your grill brush to scrub any additional residue off the grates.

Using Vinegar or a Grill Spray

While cleaning your grill grates with soapy water is our preferred method, some people prefer using vinegar or special grill spray. 

These tips and tricks might get the job done, too:

  1. Mix two cups of water with two cups of vinegar in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray your grill grates with the mixture. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. After the 10 minutes is up, brush your grates clean with a grill brush—no rinsing required.

If you are using grill spray, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions listed on the bottle.

How To Clean Grill Grates: Steam-Clean

How To Clean Grill Grates - Steam cleaning

Another great option for cleaning your grill is steam-cleaning. All you need is water and a sponge for this method:

  1. Heat your grill to 600 degrees, then turn off the heat.
  2. Place a tin, like a large vegetable can or a small coffee can, of water onto the grates.
  3. Close the lid and let it steam for 30 minutes.
  4. Scrub with a silicone sponge to loosen the build-up.

You will still need to give your grill a thorough cleaning before and after each usage of the barbecue, you can make clean-up work easier by oiling your grill grates. 

Using just a paper towel to rub oil on the grill gates in advance to prevent sticking and leftovers.

How To Clean Grill Grates: Soaking method

Before you get started on this cleaning task, make sure the grill is already cool. 

This means two things, you haven’t used it for cooking in at least one hour and it hasn’t been left open in the hot sun. 

How To Clean Grill Grates - Soaking method

If not, you are sure to burn yourself. Once you are ready, use the following procedure:

  1. Fill a large bucket (one big enough to accommodate the grates) with hot water and one-quarter cup of the dish soap you use to wash dishes in the sink.
  2. Stir in a quarter cup of baking soda until you have a good lather in your bucket.
  3. Drop the grates in the bucket and let them soak for an hour.
  4. Scrub them with a steel wool pad to remove any remaining debris.
  5. Rinse the grates with your garden hose.

You can also soak your grates in the kitchen sink if they are small enough to fit. This will make rinsing and cleaning up a little bit easier.

An alternative soaking method to use is pouring a cup of ammonia on the grates. 

Let them set in a plastic garbage bag for 12 hours. If you use this one, you must rinse very well, since the ammonia flavor could be part of your food. 

How To Clean Grill Grates: Brushing Method

The brushing method is a quick fix that you should do like a routine, after every time you use your grill. 

It’s best to do so when the grill is still hot. Just be careful not to touch the grates with your hands.

How To Clean Grill Grates - Brushing method

  1. Stand in front of your grill and place the head of the grill brush on top of it.
  2. Starting at the top of the left side, move the brush in the direction of the wires on the grates.
  3. Continue brushing in this manner until you have cleaned the entire grill.
  4. Shake the brush over a garbage bag to remove any debris from it.

Debris that fell into the grill should burn off the next time you use it.

How To Clean The Rest Of Your Grill

Using all the methods from our site, your work is not just finished yet. Don’t forget to routinely clean the rest of your grill and your grill accessories and tools. 

They are just as important to be as clean as possible. 


A clean grill grate lasts longer, cooks better, and prevents harmful deposits from transferring to your food.

One thing to always remember is that the more you clean, the easier each clean will be. 

We are sure that by using our tips on cleaning your grill grates you will be healthier and you will save a lot of time every time using your grill. What’s better than preparing barbeque this Sunday on a clean grill?

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