How To Clean Cast Iron Grill Grates Easily

Are your good old iron grates also getting affected by rust or food residues? Looking for the most workable way about how to clean cast iron grill grates again?

You have landed just the right place. In this thread, we will discuss the best procedures to keep your iron cast grill grates new.

Hop on, the joyride to find how to clean cast iron grill grates in the best manner.

1. Soap Water Method

The rusty or  Iron grates are known for their excellent heat retention, sturdier grilling surface, and those heavenly bbq marks. It is clear that the fundamental element of these grills is iron; they can last for near eternity. Hence, an excellent clean can help here.

Here we begin with our first most effective method to clean the grates. The method is equally effective whether you look after grilling cleaning to get rid of burnt residue or iron rust.

Stuff Required:

  • Hot Water
  • A Suit of dishwashing soap or baking soda
  • Sand Paper, Stiff Brush, or Steel Wool
  • Paper Towel
  • Cooking Oil
  • Oven
  • Permission From Your Spouse

Step#1: Soaking the Grates in Soapy Water

First, place the grill grates into the container that is spatial to accommodate them. Now fill the tub with hot water until the grates are fully sunk. Add a good quantity of dishwashing soap. 

Your grill grates might come with na advice o not using soap but using baking soda alternatively. If it’s the case, don’t worry. Your grill grates are not exceptional, except that the manufacturer has shared extra care. You can use the soap method but ensure to season the grates properly.

Now let the grates enjoy this bath for an hour. You can hope that it’ll soften all the residue of cooking and rust.

Step#2: Scrubbing & Drying

The next step is to scrub the grates’ surface. Start by scrubbing the surface of the cast-iron grates using a stiff brush or steel wool. 

Make sure that you get all sides cleared equally for the best results. The next step is washing the grates using hot soapy water. 

Use a stiff brush or steel wool to scrub the remaining rust from the surface of the iron cast grill grates while washing. After washing them thoroughly, dry them using paper towels. Dry the grates very carefully because any water content left on the surface can damage them further. 

Step#3: Seasoning

Once you’re sure that the surface of cast iron grates is absolutely dry, apply a small amount of cooking oil to the entire surface. This process is called seasoning, and it is the most crucial step in this whole procedure for preventing rust after the wash. 

Although cleaning with soap water is essential, it makes your grates even more prone to rust. It’s why we emphasize that you soul season the grates after washing.

To season the grates, apply oil gently on the whole surface, covering both sides of the grates using a paper towel.

You must’ve baked some cakes but have you ever baked some grill grates before? Well, that’s exactly what you’ve to do next. You have to set your oven to 350℃ and let the grates rest for a good one hour. It is done to evaporate any water left on the surface of the grates. 

Once they cool down, take them out of the oven and enjoy your grates once again in their prime condition.  

2. Vinegar Method

What you need

  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Water
  • A Large Container

Another simple yet effective procedure of saving your cast iron grates from rust is by soaking them in a water and vinegar mixture. Take a container large enough to place cast iron grates flat inside it. 

Step#1: Soaking Grates

In another container, mix equal parts of distilled white and water. Pour this mixture into the container holding iron cast grill grates. Ensure that the entire surface of the grates is completely soaked into the mixture.

Step#2: Checking

Let these iron gates rest in that container for almost 8 hours. During the course, keep checking on them periodically. It’s recommended because once the vinegar rips off the rust, it starts eating the iron too.

Step#3: Scrubbing

After you are sure that the rust has entirely left the surface of the grates, take them out. Now, first, scrub them gently to clean the surface. Make sure that you remove all of the unwanted stuff from the grates.

Step#4: Washing & Baking

The next step is washing the grates deeply. You can use soap if you feel like using it, and you simply have to dry it off completely and then put it in the oven after seasoning. 

Remove the excess oil from the surface of the cast-iron grates, and you are good to go. 

3. High Heat Method

What you Need

  • Self Cleaning Oven Or A Heavy Duty Grill
  • A Gas Connection Or Charcoal
  • Cooking Oil
  • Water
  • Stiff Grill Brush
  • Paper Towel

Step#1: Heating

Indeed you have rusty iron cast grill grates but do you also have a self-cleaning oven? If so, then it’s your lucky day. Simply place those rusty grill grates into an oven and start the self-cleaning cycle. 

Don’t lose heart even if you don’t have a self-cleaning oven. What we discussed earlier was a modern way of doing this centuries-old procedure. For hundreds of years, rust has been removed from iron by placing it in a very high direct heat temperature.  

To do this, you simply need a heavy-duty grill. Probably it can be your grill. Place the cast iron grates inside a grill and raise its temperature to 600° or above. Let those grates enjoy that hot bath of flames for an hour. 

Step#2: Washing & Scrubbing

The next thing you have to do is let those grates cool down. Wash them using water and a stiff grill brush immediately after. This step will remove the carbon formed on the surface of the iron cast grill during the procedure. 

Step#3: Baking and Seasoning

The last step of this procedure is also similar to the endings of the previous two methods. After drying the surfaces of the cast iron grill grates, apply some cooking oil on them gently. Bake them for around an hour after the seasoning.

This procedure is recommended for those owners who have grills with a significantly high content of rust. 

4. Baking Soda or Cosher Salt Method

celaning cast iron grill grates

What you need

  • Cosher salt or baking soda
  • Water
  • Steel wool or grill brush
  • Paper Towel

Step#1: Prepare soda or salt paste

First, make a thick paste of soda by mixing it into a small quantity of water. You can take 1- cup of baking soda so that the paste is enough to cover the grill grates. 

Using salt, instead, is also straightforward. So, you can simply replace the baking soda with cosher salt.

Step#2: Applying the paste on grill grates

Apply the paste of baking soda or cosher salt on the grates and let it rest for 3-4 hours. 

Step#3: Scrub the grates

Start scrubbing the grates with the steel wool so that all the paste is gone with the rust that had got roots. Remember, if you’re particularly dealing with rust, then using salt is better.

Step#4: Do seasoning

Having removed all the rust from your grill grates, the time is to do the seasoning. You can do this by following the simple procedure as mentioned in other methods.

5. Rust Remover Method

Stuff Required

  • Safety Glasses and Latex Gloves
  • A Large Container
  • Plastic Bags
  • Iron Rust Remover

Couldn’t you find a suitable answer to the question, “How to clean the cast iron grill grates?” Believe that the condition of your iron cast grill grates is worse? 

Well, don’t worry because we saved the ultimate solution for the end. This method will bring back life into your grill grates, even if nothing else works.

Simply go to your nearest hardware store and ask for a grill cleaner. If they don’t have it, then ask the salesman to give you an oven cleaner. 

Both are the same things with different labeling.   

Step#1: Safety First

Start by gathering the supplies. Move to a well-ventilated area once you have everything you need. Moving to an open-air area is crucial because leftover fumes of this rust remover can be harmful.

Step#2: Applying Rust Remover

The next step you have to do is spraying the rust cleaner equally on the whole surface of the cast iron grates. Put the grates in plastic bags separately after ensuring that every inch is covered with the cleaner.

Step#3: Storing Grates

Store them in a safe place and let them rest for several days. Meanwhile, the rust remover will outmaneuver the rust-like it was never there. 

Step#4: Seasoning and Baking

The last steps of every method are the same. Dry the grates and then apply some cooking oil all over its surface. The next thing is to bake it at moderate temperature for approximately 60 minutes. 

We are sure that you now know how to clean cast iron grill grates. 


Can you soak cast iron grill grates?

Yes, you can soak the cast iron grates if you want to use the soap method. Yet, remember, no matter what method you prefer for cleaning the grill grates, still, soaking is essential.

How often can I use the soap method to clean my cast iron grill grates?

You should use the soaking method after 2-3months.

But does it mean that the soaking method for cleaning grates is perfectly safe? No, frequently, soap wash can cause rust. So, don’t forget to season your grates whenever you use the dishwasher to clean the grates.

Can I use steel wool for cleaning cast iron?

If you are looking at cleaning the cast iron grates, then move along quickly! The steel wool works great. 

Yet, if you’re worried about using steel wool on certain kinds of cast iron, see the manufacturer’s specifications. You can also do a quick search for that exact product to get more specific information regarding the material.

How do you clean grill grates with lemons?

A bigger lemon makes an ideal disinfectant, too, when it’s about cleaning cast-iron grates. Put a lemon half in sea salt (kosher works good) and clean up. 

Wipe the grill grates thoroughly and replace the lemons as necessary until the whole thing is clean and dry. Be sure to wash the limes thoroughly with salt because this will help add a lot of friction to make the scrubbing easier. 

Please wait until your grate is cool before removing it to thoroughly rinse under clean, hot water. It’s only valid if all future grilling ventures taste like salted citrus.

How do you restore cast iron grill grates?

You can restore your grill grates to their ideal cooking position by simply cleaning them using any method that seems fit for you.

Why do some people advise you not to use soap but baking soda to clean the grill grate?

Not only the folks but some manufacturers also advise not to use the soap to clean the grates. The reason is that the soap washes o the entire seasoning, resulting in sticky and rust-prone gates.

To help with it, the additional step of seasoning the grates is helpful. Hence, if you carry out the procedure carefully, you can hope the soap wash will not affect your grates.

Is it okay to grill on rusty grates?

Noooo….! A big “no” is an answer to your question.

Ingesting iron oxide will not hurt people but, at least over time, will have adverse effects on your digestive system and the rest of the body. The most effective way to grill greasy parts is to grill one or sometimes two. The next time if you’re looking for an additional grill, If you’ve got an option, it’s indeed better not to have them.

How often should I clean the grill grates?

You should clean the grill grates with a brush each week if your grill is in regular usage. However, you can look forward to detailed cleanliness using any of the above-mentioned methods after 2 months. 

What is the best rust remover for cast iron grates?

WD-40 Specialist Rust Release Penetrant Spray is the best rust remover for your grates. 

What is the best method to remove rust from cast iron grates?

If you’re looking to clean the cast iron grates, don’t waste any time! Steel wool is on the top effective.

Final Verdict  

The soap water method is on the top of the list to remove rust from cast iron grates in terms of the highest quality results. The effort required in this method is equal to the effort needed in other ways, but the results are much better.

Lodge Manufacturing is one of the biggest manufacturers of cast iron cookware products globally. They shared the exact same method for removing rust from cast iron products. 

We believe that this fact is enough to prove the effectiveness of the method. 

Don’t let the rust or residue accumulate on the grates after getting rid of it one time. For this, clean them thoroughly after every cooking session, and it’ll significantly increase the life of the grates.

Hopefully, you are now aware enough to guide briefly if anyone asks, “how to clean the cast iron grill grates?” 

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