How to Clean a Grill Grate

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Who doesn’t love a good barbeque, right? Good company and good food being shared in the outdoors sounds like a recipe for a fun time! The cleaning process afterward, though, isn’t as much fun, and depending on the size of your barbeque grill, it can become quite strenuous.

However, routinely cleaning your grill is not just good hygiene; it’s also good for your health. When you prepare a meal on a grill, residue from the food is left behind on the grill surface. This residue chars when the grill is heated again and will likely stick to your new food. The chars are extremely unhealthy and can even make you unwell.

The article below will give you an easy three-step method to keep your grill grates in tip-top shape and safe to use. So let’s take a look at how to clean a grill grate.

Step 1 – Burn

This doesn’t mean setting them alight as many do. You need just enough heat to melt any bits of grease leftover on the grate’s surface so that they can be easily removed. You should never squirt igniting chemicals directly onto the grates when trying to increase heat. Chemical residue can take a long time to remove, and not all are effectively removed with water.

Once your grate has been heated sufficiently but before removing it from the heat, you can give your grill grate a quick brush with your standard grill brush to eliminate the larger leftover bits and ash.

Step 2 – Soak

Be sure that your grill is cool enough to handle or that you have suitable equipment to remove the grill grates without burning yourself.

Prepare your cleaning solution of hot water and your preferred detergent in a bucket. Consider using a detergent that has grease penetrating capabilities for obvious reasons.

Add a quarter cup of baking soda to the solution and create a good lather. Baking soda is excellent at dissolving organic compounds like dirt and grease.

Pop your grates into the solution and allow them to soak for 60 to 90 minutes; the longer, the better.

If you’re using a fairly small grill, you may use a sink to clean the grates, which is a little easier and more convenient.

Step 3 – Brush

Once you have soaked your grill grate, it’s time to get those grates squeaky clean. Here’s how to do that:

  • Starting at the top of the grate, run your steel wool pad or grill brush in the direction of the wires of the grate.
  • Continue doing so until you’ve completed all the wires.
  • Flip the grate over and follow the same process on the underside of the grill.
  • Run your grates thoroughly under a tap or the hose to remove the detergent solution.
  • Set the grill aside to dry.
  • Don’t forget to clean your grill brush when complete.
man Cleaning grill with brush

Other Grill Grate Cleaning Methods

If you’re not the type to use conventional grill grates, we’ve provided a few tips on how to clean some of the other popular grate options below.

Porcelain grates – These modern grates generally have a non-stick surface that can become damaged or lose effectiveness if you scrub them with a metal scraper or wire brush. Remember that the porcelain layer is very thin and hard objects can easily chip off this layer which will damage the grate permanently.

Stainless steel – These are another popular option because of their durability; however, they can deteriorate over time. Cleaning these grates can be done using the steps explained above.

Cast iron – Similar to the porcelain grate, cast iron grates should never be scraped with a metal or wire brush. Instead, use a wooden scraper or nylon brush to ensure that you do not damage the grate surface. Once cleaned, wipe the grate’s surface with a paper towel or cloth to remove any loose rust that may still be present.

Tip: Cast iron is known to rust easily, which is normal. To slow down and manage your cast iron grate from rusting, you should apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to the grate before storing it away. Be sure to cover the entire grill with oil on both sides.


Cleaning your grill can be a drag but it is important to ensure that you can continue to prepare tasty and healthy food. The process broadly involves just three simple steps: burning, soaking, and brushing using a suitable brush or scraper, depending on the type of grate you own.

It’s important to ensure that you do not use any inorganic products or items on your grill, such as chemicals, plastic, or Styrofoam which can be toxic. Store your grill and grate in a dry place and wipe them down at least once a month to ensure they are good to go the next time you need them.

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