A 3-Step Method for Cleaning Grill Grates When They Really Need It


Grilling is awesome, but cleaning grill grates isn’t one of the most fun aspects. But dirty grill grates are a real bummer. They can impart unpleasant flavors into your food, cause food to stick more stubbornly, and even release carcinogens.

If you’re diligent about cleaning the grates before and after each use, they should stay pretty clean. Whether you have stainless steel, cast iron, or porcelain grill grates, invest in an appropriate grill brush for the material. And get in the habit of using it.

But if you’re not diligent, residue and grease will build up, becoming increasingly difficult to remove. If yours are further gone than you’d like, we have an easy, effective process for cleaning grill grates that should fix things for you.

A Great Way of Cleaning Grill Grates

Step 1: Crank the heat up full blast and let it run for 10 to 15 minutes with the grill lid open to burn off lots of gunk.

Step 2: Kill the heat and let the grill grates cool down. When they’re still slightly warm, crumple up a wad of aluminum foil, mold it snugly around one of the grates, and scrape it back and forth. Repeat on all the grates. This will remove stuff down along the sides and on the bottom of the grates, as well as the top.

Step 3: The above steps get a lot of gunk off the grates, but they won’t do much for grease stains. That’s what this third step for cleaning grill grates is for. Sure, you can use a store-bought degreaser and plenty of elbow grease, but there’s an easier, more effective, cheaper alternative.

In a bowl, make a paste by mixing baking soda and Dawn dish detergent. Apply the paste to cool grill grates and leave it on for 30 minutes. When time’s almost up, mix ½ cup baking soda into a bucket of warm water. Use this to wash and scrub the grates, then rinse them off with clean water.

Just keep in mind that if you have cast iron grill grates, they’re highly susceptible to rusting. So, promptly dry them with a towel, then turn the grill on for a few minutes to heat-dry them. When they cool down, apply a coating of vegetable oil.

This will get your grill grates looking respectable again! And now, remember to be proactive about cleaning them before and after each use, and you shouldn’t have to go through this process again for a long time to come.