Summer is right around the corner and you know what that means? BARBECUE PARTIES! Hold your excitement for a moment and answer the following question: Is your grill actually ready for such an event?

If your response is on the negative side, don’t worry, we got you.

In this article, we are going to cover the topic of how to clean bbq grill grates correctly, because, believe us, there is a wrong way to do it.

So, if you:

  • Have abandoned your greasy barbecue in the garage
  • Wonder how often should you clean the thing
  • Ask yourself when exactly you should wash the bbq – before or after use.

… look no further. You can find everything you need here.

Why should you clean the grill grates?

Let’s get one thing straight – well-seasoned grill grates can make your steak taste amazing. We can’t say the same thing, though, if you prepare it on a device that is still dirty and greasy. You see, if you don’t clean your grill, the food you cook on it will start to taste, well, just bad. Also, leaving your barbecue in a poor condition can affect its performance.

There are two ways to clean your grill grates: The fast and easy way and the “Why, oh, why didn’t I clean my barbecue when I had a chance to do it after the season last year?” way.

The first situation calls for the straightforward method of turning on your grill and heating it up to 120 °C for about 10-15 minutes. Then, you get a special brush that won’t scratch the grates’ surface and clean the appliance with it. This sort of maintenance is done after every use of the barbecue.

The second scenario involves some hard work, elbow grease and patience. You’ll need to follow the steps from the regular maintenance process we’ve described above and use some additionals detergents and warm water.

If you don’t feel like scrubbing your arms away, make sure to clean the grill grates after every use of the barbecue. By doing this, you prevent dirt build-up, while keeping the appliance in a good condition.

Types of grill grates and how to clean them

Before you attack the grease stains, you need to know the proper way to do it. The cleaning method highly depends on the type of grill you own. The most popular grill grate materials are stainless steel, cast iron, and porcelain. So, here are the respective cleaning techniques:

How to clean a cast iron grill

Cast iron is one of the best materials for grilling. It heats up evenly and retains the temperature for a good period of time. Cast iron is very durable but has one big weakness – water damage. If you expose the material to any sort of moisture, you are condemning it to rust.

Scrape the grill

Get a brush made from wire and gently remove all leftover food bits from the grate. Mix four parts of water with a single part of white vinegar into a spray bottle and moisten the grill with the solution to sanitise it. After you are done with that, get a paper towel and wipe the grates. Repeat until you can’t see any food particles left.

Wash away the grease

With a sponge and some mild soap, remove the grease from grill grates. Make sure to remove all soap residue from the barbecue with warm water.

Dry the grates

Like we said earlier, cast iron hates water. Therefore, don’t forget to dry the grates. If you skip this step, you’ll have a rusty grill that’ll put an end to all of your barbecue party plans.

How to clean a stainless steel grill

Similar to cast iron, stainless steel also handles well higher temperatures but has one bonus quality: it doesn’t rust. Simillar to how you clean oven racks, it’s quite simple:

  • Start by mixing together 2 parts of white vinegar with 1 part of baking soda into a plain rubbish bag.
  • Put the grill grates into the bag and secure with a rubber band.
  • Leave the grill grates inside the plastic for a night.
  • Get the grates out in the morning and clean them with water. If you see any food bits still stuck, carefully scrub them away with a brush.
  • Rinse the grates with cool water and dry them out with a towel.
  • Dab a piece of cloth into some vegetable oil and rub it on the barbecue. This way, you prevent rust from forming and damaging your grill.

How to clean a porcelain grill

Porcelain grills come with a number of benefits, like the fact that they don’t need oil seasoning and hold heat pretty well. However, when it comes to maintenance, this type of grill grates are quite capricious.

  • Warm up the grill grates to make the cleaning process easier. Burn the leftover food bits, turn off the grill and let it cool before proceeding to the next cleaning step.
  • Clean the grates with a plastic soft bristle brush. Anything made from metal or wire can and will chip the porcelain, exposing the metal underneath. Move the brush diagonally to remove as much of the burnt food pieces as possible. Don’t scrub too hard.
  • Get a toothbrush to clean the hard-to-reach areas in between the grates.
  • Flip the grill grates with an oven mitt, so you can clean the other side.
  • That’s it, you are done.

How to season grill grates

Every passionate cook out there knows that cast iron grates perform best if seasoned regularly with oil. You’ve probably noticed yourself that with every use of the grill, the food tends to stick less and less to it. By all means, we aren’t saying you should never clean your barbecue again. As we’ve talked about in the previous cleaning tips, after you wash your cast iron or stainless steel grill, smear a small amount of plant-based oil on the grates to protect them from rust.

If you tend to neglect this maintenance measure and your grill has started to rust, just follow these steps:

  • Clean the grill grates with one of the above-described methods
  • Apply a bit of oil to the grates with some paper towel
  • Heat up the appliance and let the oil burn away
  • Repeat the process (without the cleaning part)
  • Voilà! You’ve revived your grill.

Does every grill type require seasoning?

The answer is no. If you have a porcelain grill, you don’t need to season it with oil. The same rule applies for porcelain-enamelled cast iron and stainless steel grill grate. The layer of porcelain protects the grates from rust, which eliminates the need for oil. When you use any of the described grill models, just heat up the appliance 15 minutes before you start cooking and apply some oil to your food.

Hire a professional

Cleaning your grill requires quite a lot of elbow grease, literally. It’s messy, it’s sticky, time-consuming and overall just not a pleasant way to spend your day. So, why not call someone to clean the thing for you?

We, at Fantastic Services, offer barbecue and grill cleaning services. No matter if you own a charcoal grill, hooded grill, smoker, or spit roasters – we can take care of the greasy situation. The experts, we work with, can thoroughly inspect your appliance, wash all of its removable parts in a special dip tank, filled with an effective cleaning solution, and put your appliance back together in zero time.

Don’t spend your free time dealing with nasty tasks like cleaning your grill. Make your service appointment with Fantastic Services here!


  • Make sure to clean your grill after every use to keep it in good shape;
  • Always dry out cast iron grill grates after washing them with water. If you don’t, they will form rust;
  • Apply vegetable oil to stainless steel and cast iron grills to protect them;
  • Be careful when cleaning porcelain grates. You can damage them by scratching their surface;
  • Porcelain grate grills don’t require oil seasoning like other types of barbecues. Same goes for porcelain-enamelled cast iron grates and porcelain-enameled steel cooking grates.

We hope you found our article on how to clean grill grates informative and helpful. If you have experience with barbecue maintenance or just some other sneaky cleaning tips, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

  • Last update: January 21, 2020

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