There are plenty of ways to keep your grill grates looking like new. But the best method is to clean them while they’re still warm and damp from cooking.

This article will show you how to clean grill grates with a few simple household items you probably already have.

How to Clean Grill Grates

Cleaning grill grates are an important part of maintaining your grill. While there are several ways to clean grill grates, the following method is our preferred way to clean them and keep them looking new.

You will need the following:

  • A wire brush
  • Soap
  • Water
  • A sponge
  1. Start by removing your grill grates from the grill. If they are particularly dirty, you may want to soak them in soapy water for a few minutes before proceeding.
  2. Use the wire brush to scrub any remaining dirt or debris. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies!
  3. Rinse the grates well with water and dry them with a clean towel.
  4. If desired, you can apply a thin layer of cooking oil to help protect the grates from rusting.

Tips for a More Effective Grill

  1. Start with a clean grill. If your grill has been used recently, clean it before starting.
  2. Preheat your grill before adding any food. This will help ensure evenly cooked food.
  3. When adding food to the grill, oil the grates first. This will help prevent sticking and make for easier cleanup.
  4. Always turn the food regularly while cooking, especially using direct heat. This helps prevent burning and ensures even cooking.
  5. Be careful not to overcook the food. Grill marks may look nice, but burnt food is not tasty!
  6. When you finish cooking, remove all of the food from the grill and turn off the heat source—allowing the grill to cool completely before cleaning makes cleanup much easier.

How to Care for Your Grill Grates

If your grill grates are starting to look a little worse for wear, it’s time to give them some TLC. Below are some tips on caring for your grill grates so they’ll last you many grilling seasons.

Keep them clean

It’s important to clean your grill grates, especially after each use. This will help prevent the build-up of food and grease, which can lead to rusting.

Use a stiff wire brush to scrape off any stuck-on bits, then wash with warm soapy water. Rinse well and dry completely before using again.

Apply oil

To keep your grill grates from rusting, it’s important to apply a light layer of oil before each use. This will create a barrier between the metal and the moisture in the air.

You can use any oil, but we prefer vegetable or olive oil since they have a high smoke point and won’t impart flavor to the food.

Store them properly

When you’re not using your grill grates, store them in a dry place out of direct sunlight. If possible, wrap them in a clean towel or store them in a zip-top bag to remove dust and dirt.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

If your grill grates are starting to look a little worse for wear, don’t worry – a simple cleaning with baking soda and vinegar can make them look new in no time! Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, remove your grill grates from the grill and place them in a large resealable bag.
  2. Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of distilled white vinegar. Pour this mixture into the bag, seal it up, and shake it until the grates are well coated.
  3. Let the grates soak in the mixture for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours if they’re really dirty.
  4. After soaking, remove the grates from the bag and scrub them with a stiff brush to loosen any remaining dirt and debris.
  5. Rinse the grates well with water and dry them completely before putting them back on your grill.

Scouring Pads and Heavy Duty Scrubbers

A few different types of scouring pads and heavy-duty scrubbers can be used to clean grill grates. The type of pad or scrubber you use will depend on the type of grill and the level of cleaning needed.

For light cleaning, a non-abrasive scouring pad or brush can be used. These will not scratch the grill’s surface and are safe for all types of grills.

For heavier cleaning, an abrasive scouring pad or brush may be necessary. These can be found at most hardware stores. Be sure to read the label to find one that is safe for your type of grill.

When using any scouring pad or brush, applying pressure evenly across the grill’s surface is important. This will help prevent scratches and other damage.

Scrub in a circular motion until all debris has been removed from the grate.

Rinse the grate with warm water to remove any residue from the scouring pad or brush. Wipe dry with a clean cloth before using the grill again.

Protecting Your Grates

If you don’t clean your grill grates, eventually, they will rust. Rust not only looks bad but can also transfer to your food. To clean your grill grates, start by removing them from the grill.

You can scrub them with a wire brush or a nylon scrubber. If they are particularly dirty, you may need to soak them in soapy water for a few minutes before scrubbing.

Once they are clean, dry them thoroughly and apply a light coat of cooking oil to prevent rusting.


Assuming you’ve followed the steps above, your grill grates should now be clean and ready for action. Please give them a final rinse with warm water and dry them off with a paper towel or clean cloth.

If you want to further protect your grates from rusting, you can apply a thin layer of cooking oil before using your grill.


1. How often should I clean my grill grates? 

Keeping your grill grates clean is important so that food doesn’t stick to them and they don’t rust. At a minimum, you should clean them before each use. If you use your grill frequently, you may need to clean them more often.

2. What is the best way to clean grill grates? 

There are a few different ways to clean grill grates, but the easiest way is to use a wire brush. First, preheat your grill to help loosen any stuck-on food.

Then, using a stiff wire brush, scrub the grates until they are clean. You can also use soapy water or a commercial cleaner to clean grill grates.

3. How can I prevent my grill grates from rusting? 

One way to prevent rust is to season your grates after cleaning them. This will create a barrier between the grate and moisture in the air that can cause rusting.

Another way to prevent rusting is to store your grill in a dry, covered area when not in use.

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