How to Clean Grill Grates – Complete Guide

Prepping your grill for the outdoor smoking and barbecue events is the first thing to welcome summers. But how to clean grill grates covered in stringent food, sauces and grease? Although it may look impossible to scrap away, let us assure you that with some effort, this seemingly impossible task can turn into an absolute reality. 

So, read out the article and follow the step-by-step guide we have formulated to make the cleaning process simpler for you:              

Determine Your Type of Grill 

In general, three types of materials are used in grill grates. There are some cleaning products that are suitable for one type and unsuitable for the other. Have a look at what precautions you should take for your type of grill:       

Cast-iron grates: Since they are tough, you can use rough wire brushes to clean the dirt. But do remember that iron corrodes easily. Therefore, apply some oil (vegetable or canola) after brushing.    

Porcelain grates: There is no need to worry about rusting with a porcelain grate if the finish is intact. But to avoid scratching the finish, use soft-bristled brushes while cleaning. 

Stainless-steel grates: Out of all three, stainless steel grates are the most durable ones. No such care is required to wipe away the remnants of last year’s BBQ party. However, we suggest keeping the grate dry to leave no chance for rusting.     

Gather the Right Tools 

As mentioned earlier, your grate may require a different type of cleaning material. You can find plenty of them in the market but we do not recommend buying any product you see. Avoid using the toxic chemical as they may ease up the cleaning task but will affect the taste of food later. 

The following 10 things are all you need to collect:    

  1. Grease-cutting dish soap 
  2. White vinegar 
  3. Baking soda 
  4. Grill brush
  5. Putty knife
  6. Scouring pads 
  7. Large water bucket 
  8. Wire-bottle brush
  9. Long-cuffed rubber gloves  
  10. Cotton rags 

How to Clean Grill Grates – 5 Simple Steps to Follow

Step 1: Start by Burning 

If you have a gas grill, light it up with the hood off and let the heat rise to the maximum temperature. Wait for around 20-30 minutes or until all the stuck-on grease and food is charred. Now, dip the grill brush in soapy water and rub it on the grates to remove carbon. Turn off the fire, disconnect the gas tank and leave it for cooling.   

Use a similar method to clean charcoal grills. The only difference is that you will need to dump the burnt charcoal briquettes and scrap off the charcoal debris using a putty knife.

Caution: The briquettes you are disposing of should be absolutely cold and dead. If you are not sure, toss them in a water bucket before dumping.     

Step 2: Soak the Grills in Soapy Water 

After the grill cools down, try removing as many things on it as you can. Some of them are burner-control knobs, trays, racks or the burner tubes installed in gas grills. This will make the cleaning step more efficient. 

Next, prepare a warm diluted mixture of detergent in a large water bucket. Submerge the grill and other dirty parts in it. Leave for at least 30 minutes and start doing the next step.   

Step 3: Clean the Firebox 

While the grill grates are submerged in the water, the firebox is exposed and can be deep cleaned to completely renew your grill. Put a bucket below the firebox to collect the debris and soapy water. Start by scrapping the caked-on grease from the firebox. 

Now, bring your vacuum cleaner to collect the loose debris from every nook and cranny. There is no limitation on the type of vacuums to use. Whether you have wet/dry, the full-sized or portable vacuum, all will work well for the cleaning task.       

Finish the firebox cleaning by rinsing it with water. 

Step 4: Scrub the Grates and Panels  

As you finish the firebox cleaning step, the grilling grate and other parts are ready to take out of the soapy water. Remove them and start scrubbing with a wire or soft-bristled brush. If there’s still some stringent gunk sticking to the grill, apply a thick paste of baking soda and vinegar on it. 

Wait, rinse and dry out the grate. The cast-iron grills require complete drying. Whereas if you detect any chips on the porcelain grill, repair it using a porcelain touch-up.         

Corrosion or anything else can block the fire-emitting holes. Now is the time to clean the inside of all burner tubes by using a wire bottle brush.    

Step 5: Wash and Dry 

Drain the dirty water, refill the bucket again and add some dish soap. Scrub the grill’s outer side for one last time. Avoid using rough scouring sponges for the finished grill. Wash the grill thoroughly and wipe it using a microfiber towel. 

Extra Tips 

  • Use a stainless-steel cleaner or undiluted vinegar to give a final touch to your grill. 
  • Reconnect everything along with the burner tube. 
  • Fire the grill for 15 minutes with the lid off to burn away the cleaning residue, if any. Also, it will let you detect any assembling error. 
  • Keep all inorganic materials away from the grill.

The Way Forward 

Though tedious, following this guide will help you clean every bit of your BBQ grill. To save yourself from repeating the same procedure in the near future, try keeping the grate clean and wiping it every time after cooking. 

As for now, do what’s shared and enjoy smoking some mouthwatering hams and shrimps on your primed grill.