how to clean grill grates

How to Clean Grill Grates – Stainless Steel, Cast Iron & Porcelain Grill Grates

Cleaning grill grates is important after a smoking session as rust and grease buildup can affect the taste and smoking quality of your food. Most people don’t know how to clean grill grates properly and thus end up buying new ones. There are no magical tips for grill grates cleaning.  All you need to know is the type of grill grates your electric smoker or gas grill has, and then find the easy and effective cleaning remedy for them. Here are some quick, easy, and effective methods to clean smoker grill grates at home.

cooking grill grates

Different Types of Grill Grates

There are three main types of grill grates used in smokers.

  1. Cast iron grill grates
  2. Stainless steel grill grates
  3. Porcelain grill grates

Cast Iron Grill Grates

These types of grill grates are durable, high heat resistant, and last for a long time if maintained properly. It is recommended to clean them regularly. Here are some easy and effective ways to clean smoker cast iron grill grates.

How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Grates

There is no better way to keep cast iron grill grates clean than giving them a good cleaning after every smoking session.

  • Remove the food and turn on your smoker to allow the grills to get hot. You can quickly burn off the stuck food and barbecue sauce inside the cooking chamber.
  • Turn off the smoker and scrape the cast iron grill grates using a good grill brush. It is recommended to choose a brush with a scraper to get rid of the remaining burnt food and sauces.
  • When you are done with cleaning, allow grates to dry properly.
  • Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil coating to prevent rust formation.
  • Wipe with a clean cloth or kitchen towel lightly dabbed in vegetable oil. Don’t coat the grill grates heavily.

How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Grates

Cleaning Cast Iron Grill Grates with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Sometimes, the stubborn stuck food won’t come off with the grill brush, and you have to apply a deep cleaning process. Vinegar and baking soda are the two best cleaning agents.

Create a homemade cast iron grill cleaning solution by mixing baking soda and vinegar.


  • Mix one cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar in a garbage bag.
  • Take a rubber band and seat the grates in the garbage bag.
  • Soak the cast iron grill grates overnight.
  • Remove them and rinse the grates off with mild water.
  • The stuck food particles on the smoke grates will fall off easily.
  • However, if there is still anything, you can use the brush to scrub them off.
  • Rinse with water and allow them to dry properly

Stainless steel grill grates

Stainless steel grates are used in high-quality smokers and grills. They are well known for durability and high heat resistance. However, remaining food particles can seriously affect their cooking performance. Therefore, it is essential to clean them properly for ideal smoky flavors.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Grill Grates

Here are two simple but effective cleaning remedies for cleaning stainless steel grates.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Grates with High Heat

This is one effortless way to remove food particles and sauces from your stainless steel grates.

  • Take a heavy-duty aluminum foil and wrap the grates.
  • Close the lid and set the temperature to 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15 minutes.
  • The grease and food sticking on the stainless steel grates will burn off and become brittle.
  • Take a scraper or grill brush and remove the remaining carbon with it.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Grates with High Heat

Cleaning Stainless Steel Grill Grates with Dish Soap and Baking Soda

  • Soaking grill grates is another excellent way to loosen the burnt grease and carbon.
  • Take a large container or plastic tub that can handle grill grates.
  • Pour in ½ cup of liquid dish soap and fill the plastic tub with hot water so that you can soak the grates easily.
  • Stir in ¼ cup of baking soda in the water.
  • Drop the grill grates and soak for two hours.
  • You can also leave them overnight for the best cleaning results.
  • Take a heavy synthetic scrub pad and scrub grates with it.
  • Don’t use steel scrub pads as they can damage the grates.
  • Rinse the grill grates with a hose and allow them to dry before grilling.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Grill Grates with Vinegar and Baking Soda

  • Put your grates in a plastic bag or tub.
  • Mix one cup of baking soda and white vinegar and pour the solution directly over them.
  • Soak grates from an hour to overnight.
  • Scrub with a synthetic scrub pad and rinse with a hose.

Porcelain grill grates

Best known for creating a wide variety of flavors, porcelain grill grates also need proper maintenance and cleaning for best results.

How to Clean Porcelain Grill Grates

Don’t use metal or wire brushes to clean porcelain grill grates, as they can scratch the surface of the grill.

  • Take a bucket and fill it with warm water.
  • Now add dishwashing liquid to it.
  • Remove cast iron grill grates from the grill and hose it off with clean water.
  • Lay it on either a thick folded cloth or a piece of plywood to protect the surface.
  • Dip the rag into the warm soapy water and gently scrub the grill surface.
  • Make sure to get into all the cracks.
  • You can use an old soft toothbrush or soft bristle brush to remove hard materials.
  • Rinse with water and allow to air dry before placing them on the grill.

Final words

Always clean your grill grates when you are done with a grill session. I know this is one challenging task when everyone is leaving, and you don’t have enough energy to clean them. However, spending a few minutes on cleaning can prevent lots of hassle like rust buildup and bad odors. Don’t use stiff brushes or commercial cleaners with harsh materials as you will be preparing food in the near future in your electric smoker and grill.


Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.