Cleaning Guides

Cast Iron Grill Cleaning and Maintenance

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Unlike its stainless steel counterpart, the cast iron grill has the advantage of being very tough and resilient. It doesn’t get scratched easily or discoloured when you use abrasive cleaning products on it. However, it has one disadvantage and that is rusting. You see, cast iron grill maintenance is really important because if it’s not done regularly you might be left with an unpleasant rusty grill. Yet, fret not, as cleaning a cast iron charcoal grill isn’t as hard as it might seem. In this guide, we will take you through the whole process, step by step. 

Table of Contents:

Cleaning cast iron grill grates

The easiest way to keep your cast-iron grill grates clean is to give them a good cleaning after every use. When you are finished with the cooking, open all the vents, if your grill runs on charcoal, or turn it up to high if it’s on gas. Then, close the lid and give it some time to get hot. This will help burn off most of the food and sauce that are stuck to the grates.

Once the food has been burned off, turn down the heat and let the grates cool off. Wait for the temperature of the cast-iron grill grates to get to the point where it’s comfortable to put your hand on then. Then, while the grill is still warm, use a grill brush with a scraper to remove whatever is left on the grates.

After cleaning the cast iron bbq grates, make sure to dry them well. Then, apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to their surface to prevent them from rusting. This is best done by using a cloth lightly dabbed in oil.

Cleaning porcelain-coated cast iron grill grates

These grates usually consist of a steel or cast iron body, coated in porcelain. Therefore, what you’re left with, are non-stick low maintenance grill grates. Most of these don’t even need to be seasoned, however, it’s always good to refer to your manufacturer’s instructions, just in case.

The downside of these grill grates is that over time, the porcelain enamel coating might fall off, exposing the cast iron body. This is why it’s so important to clean your porcelain cast iron grill grates lightly as to avoid scratching them. Don’t use metal scrapers and be careful not to drop the grates as that can chip the coating.

Cleaning rusty cast iron grill grates

Cleaning rust off of cast iron grills can be a bit of a tricky task. Sometimes, the rust can eat through the iron and no amount of cleaning will ever save it. However, if the build-up of rust on the grill is not that big, cleaning it shouldn’t be too hard. There are several different ways of cleaning rust off bbq grill grates.

  • Use a thick paste consisting of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the rusted area and let it sit for a few hours. Then, scrub the paste away along with the rust by using a steel wool or wire brush. With just a little bit of elbow grease and patience, your rusty grill grates will look better than ever.
  • Another paste you can use is a salt-based one. Making it is quite straightforward. Mix kosher salt and water to form a good thick paste. Apply the salt paste on the rusted area and then thoroughly scrub the area with a wire brush. Repeat this process until you get the desired results.

Cleaning cast-iron grates with ammonia

Let’s be honest, a crusty grill can be a frustrating thing to clean. It takes a lot of patience to get the results you want and not everyone has time for that. But, what if we told you that you don’t need to invest any hard work when cleaning your iron grill grates yet, still get them to sparkle like new? All you need are a few commonly found household supplies.

The materials you will need for this method are as follows: 

  • 750 ml of ammonia
  • 750 ml white vinegar
  • 250 ml baking soda
  • One plastic garbage bag 
  1. Start off by placing your dirty grill in the plastic garbage bag and place it somewhere outside, for example in your garden or on your balcony. 
  2. Mix the ammonia with the vinegar. Add baking soda to the mixture and then pour the concoction into the bag. Seal it, then shake it a bit to get the liquid all over the grates.
  3. Let the bag sit in direct sunlight for around a full day. Once the time has passed, remove the grate from the bag, rinse it thoroughly with a hose and voila, you’re left with a brand new looking grill grate.

Cleaning a cast iron grill after cooking

Giving your grill a good wipe after each bbq session is essential. It’s quick and reduces the hassle of cleaning any built-up grease from your cast iron grill. Begin the process by scraping off any excess food and grease from the grates, using a scrub brush. Heat up the grill and give it a second scrubbing. Once you’ve removed most of the burn on gunk, crank the heat up to high. 

This will help with the cleaning quite a bit as it will burn whatever’s left of the grease and grime. After letting the grill run for around 15 minutes, turn it off and wait for it to cool down. When the temperature is good enough to touch with your hand, use special grill cleaning wipes to go through the whole thing. Make sure to remove any leftover debris from the lid, grates and lastly, the interior.

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Cleaning the interior of cast iron grill

When cleaning our cast iron grills we often clean the just grates and disregard the rest. It’s a mistake a lot of us do, however it’s good to note that there are other parts that get dirty as well. This holds especially true for charcoal models, as the interior easily develops a layer of carbon, creosote and other foul chemicals that can be quite dangerous for your health.

Although a thin coating of carbon is no big deal, once it gets thick enough it can start posing a problem. As small pieces can chip off and become a part of the food you’re grilling. Avoiding this is fairly straight forward, however. Use a putty knife to scrape the built-up layer of residue off and then vacuum it all up. Empty the contents of the vacuum into your trash and that’s it for cleaning the interior of the cast iron grill.

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Cleaning the exterior of cast iron grill

Cleaning the exterior of your cast iron grill, won’t really affect your cooking, however, it’s just as important as the interior. This is mainly due to the fact that regular maintenance of the exterior will extend the life of the grill, while also giving it a nice shiny look. Cleaning it is quite simple. Wait until the grill has cooled down, then dip your grill brush in some soapy water and scrub the whole exterior. Once all the dirt and grease has come off, wipe the grill down with a clean moist rag. After that, all that’s left is to wait for the exterior of the cast iron grill to dry off.

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How to season a cast iron grill?

Seasoning your grates is crucial when owning a cast iron grill as it will prevent rust from building up on them. The seasoning of the cast iron grill grates is quite simple. After each cleaning of the grill, coat the grates with a thin layer of vegetable oil. This will extend the life of your grill and keep it looking fresh for years to come.

As is the case with most cooking appliances, the cast iron grill needs regular maintenance in order to perform at its best. However, thanks to its resilient iron body, it’s less likely to take damage when being thoroughly scrubbed. This means that whichever cleaning method you decide to go with, you will get optimal results without having to worry about damaging your lovely grill


  • A cast iron grill’s greatest weakness is its susceptibility to rust.
  • Charcoal grills should be seasoned after every cleaning.
  • Charcoal grills require regular maintenance in order to function longer and better.


We hope you found this article a helpful, interesting and fun read! Be sure to comment if you have any alternatives to the methods mentioned above! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog’s newsletter to get the best cleaning and home improvement tips!

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