How to Clean Rusty Grill Grates

January 27, 2022 3 min read

Bacon on indoor electric griddle pan

Most grill’s cooking surfaces are made of metals such as aluminum, cast iron, etc. Depending on the quality of your grill and exposure to moisture, it can easily develop some rust on the grilling grates. 

Can you restore the rusted grill grate? Yes, there are a few methods you can clean/remove rust on grill grates. Additionally, you can refurbish grill grates by coating the grill grates with a thin layer of cooking oil (oil with a high burning point). This post is a guide on how to clean/ remove rust from grill grates. It also outlines ways to prevent rust on grill grates. 

Bacon on electric griddle pan

Methods/Techniques to Clean Rusty Grill Grates 

Remove rust with a wire brush 

Using a wire brush is one of the fastest ways of removing rust from grill grates. It scrubs off the rust. 

Before scrubbing the grill grates, first, ensure you dip the wire brush in olive oil. It helps prevent the brush from damaging the grill grates exterior. Then use a clean, dry rag to wipe the residue after scrubbing. 

Additionally, use high-quality grill brushes. 

Clean rust with baking soda 

If you don’t want the hassle of brushing off the rust on grill grates until the rust is gone, consider using one of the home ingredients, i.e. baking soda. So how do you go about it anyway? 

Start by removing rust on the grate with a soft brush. Then sprinkle baking soda on the grill grate and let it gradually heat over the grill for a few minutes. Once the baking soda has finished bubbling, turn off the grill and leave it to cool. Lastly, use a brush to scrub the remaining baking soda and rust thoroughly. 

Clean rust with a salt vinegar bath 

Vinegar is another strong cleaning agent that works excellently in cleaning rusty grill grates. 

Simply make a bath containing vinegar (2 cups) and salt (1 cup). Ensure the salt completely dissolves before you put it in a spray bottle. 

Then spray the grill grates and place them in a plastic bag overnight to soak the bath. Then clean your grill grate with a towel, and all the rust residue will come out. 

Clean rust with lemon & powdered detergent 

The fourth technique/method you can use to clean rusty grill grates is to use lemon juice and powdered detergent paste. 

Squeeze some lemon juice in a bowl and add a handful of detergent to the same bowl. Then mix with a spoon until it forms a thick paste. Apply the paste on the rusted areas of the grill grate and let it work on the rust for about 18-24 hours before scrubbing it with a grill brush. 

Also, don’t forget to rinse the grill grate after brushing off the mixture on the grill. 

Use a commercial rust remover 

The other alternative you might consider for cleaning rusty grill grates is to use commercial rust removers. They are readily available in most home improvement stores and online retailers. Most importantly, ensure it’s a safe and non-toxic rust remover for cooking surfaces. 

This kind of rust removers effectively removes the rust on grill grates. 

How Can You Prevent Rust on Grill Grates? 

You can always prevent rust on grill grates. Below are a few effective ways to do it: 

Clean and season your grill after use 

Cleaning your grill after use is an effective way to prevent your grill from getting rust. Also, seasoning destroys any possible conditions for rust to develop. 

Get a waterproof cover 

Another way of preventing your grill from getting rust is to cover it if not using it. One thing that causes rust on a grill is moisture. Therefore, get a waterproof cover to save your grill grates from rusting. 

Buy grills with a non-stick coat on the cooking surface

If you want to avoid the hassle of cleaning, seasoning, and covering your grill with a waterproof cover after use, consider buying a grill with a non-stick cooking surface. The grill grates don’t get rusty, and cleaning is pretty straightforward. 

An excellent example of such grills is the Atgrills electric grill. It features a non-stick natural stone coating, and it is PTFE and PFOA-free. 


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