How To Clean Cast-Iron Grill Grates

How To Clean Cast-Iron Grill Grates

If you have a new cast-iron grill and wonder how to clean cast-iron grill grates then this post should be THE ONE.

Cast-iron grill grates are very durable and are commonly used in Kamado-style grills. They are much more durable than stainless steel grill grates. 

They can endure high heat and even retain it evenly so you can have good sear marks on your food.

They mostly outlive the barbecue grill itself if they are taken care of properly and hence it is a very important thing to clean rusty grill grates

They are heavy-duty and can even withstand thermal shock so they really are the top choice for grill grates.

There is also a proper way to season a cast-iron grill grate. If done the right way, the cast-iron grill grate will eventually acquire non-stick qualities for better cooking performance and never need to restore the cast-iron grill grates.


However, contrary to common belief, cast-iron grill grates are not totally rust-proof. They might also acquire surface rust and corrosion qualities if not cleaned and seasoned properly.

They also get a little more fragile when they have not been stored the right way or if they are left under exposure to elements and are not used for a very long period of time.

That is why this post seeks to help you know the routine for the proper maintenance of your cast-iron grill grates. 

This way, you can prolong the life of the grill grates or cooking surface and have a better cooking experience.

This will also help you remove the fear of investing in other cookware made of cast iron. Caring for your cast-iron grill grates is very much like with other cast-iron cookware, so you can do this routine for them too.

Clean After Every Use

Getting into the details, I suggest doing some light cleaning after every use. This will prevent you from cleaning a rusty cast-iron grill grate the next time.

This is a pretty obvious reminder but we will still put it here so you will not forget it. Clean your cast-iron grill grates after every use to keep it rust-free and durable.

Cleaning the cast-iron grill grates will also prevent leftover food residues from building up in between the grates. This, therefore, will result in a cleaner, more durable, and better grill grate.

Make sure to prepare a large garbage bag or trash bag as well as a pair of latex gloves to protect you from bacteria and rusty cast iron grill grates.

Get The Grill Nice And Hot

Ever heard about pyrolysis? This is the cleaning process that you will know all about that.

Once you are done cooking, please do not turn the grill off instead, let it heat up once more to its highest temperature.

You can also do this with a slightly lower temperature if you want to budget your fuel usage.

500 degrees Fahrenheit will do, so heat up the grill once again after use.

If you are using a wood-fired or a charcoal grill, open all the vents to let the grill heat up, or turn the grill to the highest temperature if you are using a gas grill and then close the lid.

This process will burn all the excess food residuals inside the grill.

So keep the cast-iron grill grates in the grill and then let it heat up so you can burn off the food residuals on it.

This process will take only a few minutes. Turn off the grill once you are done, and then let it cool down until the heat is bearable for you to put your hands in it and start cleaning.

Heating the grill grates a little is also essential when trying to restore the cast-iron grill grates. When you restore the cast-iron grill grates, you need heat to remove any dirt first.

Scrape While Still Warm

Do not let the grill grates completely cool down. Start the cleaning when the cast-iron grill grates are still warm to the touch by brushing it or scraping the food particles off it.

This is one of the crucial yet simple steps on cleaning iron grill grates, and you have to scrape the grates while they are warm. This is also applicable when cleaning any cast iron cookware.

If you have always wondered how to properly clean cast iron grill grates, then you have to clean them when they are warm with a brush.

Use a good grill brush to make sure that you do not leave any residuals on the grates. Scraping is also effective, and it will not damage the durable cast iron so get as thorough as you can.

There is no need to wash the cast-iron grill grates with water after every use. This will allow you to season the cast-iron grill grates more beautifully and not absorb too much moisture.

So after you have brushed the cast-iron grill grates and let them dry, get a clean towel, pour some peanut oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil and rub the grates with a thin coat of vegetable oil.

Removing Rust From Cast-iron Grill Grates

This guide on how to properly clean cast iron grill grates cannot be complete without addressing how to remove rust from cast iron grill grates.

There are times where you will accidentally leave the grill grates for a long time which will leave them with rusts all over the grates.

As said before, cast-iron grill grates are not totally rust-resistant and can gather rust if neglected. 

For a thorough cleaning one has to know how to properly clean rusty cast iron grill grates otherwise the rust can permanently damage the grill grates.

This usually happens during winter months and you leave the grill outside the house with the cast-iron grill grates in it. This is risky but there is a solution to this so do not worry too much.

When left unused, the grill might gather moisture inside and the cast-iron grill grates, when exposed to water for a long time, will most likely end up with rust.

If there are loose rusts on the grates, it is better to restore the cast-iron grill grates than just clean them. When you restore cast-iron grill grates, it might include deep cleaning the cast-iron grill grates.

Soapy Water

Washing your cast-iron grill grates or other cast-iron cookware with water and dish soap is not advised. This is because you will be potentially removing the first seasoning of the grates.

So unless you are planning to re-season the cast-iron grill grates, do not wash them with soap and water. 

Cast-iron grill grates also do not have a very smooth surface which means it absorbs moisture. That is also why it is not advisable to use any harsh chemicals when cleaning them.

If you want to re-season your cast iron grill grates then if you want to properly clean cast iron grill grates, you can wash it with hot soapy water.

Although if you want to do it right make sure you understand how to properly clean cast iron grill grates using soap water.

When washed with water and soap, make sure that you rinse it properly. If not, the grill grates will also absorb the soap and the aroma will mix with the food that you will cook on them.

But in circumstances where the cast-iron grill grates really need to be stripped down and cleaned from rusts, you need a mixture of soap and warm water in a small bucket.


There are so many who wonder which is the best brush to clean cast iron grill grates and my answer is make sure it is not a harsh metallic brush and you are good.

There are so many options on amazon and you can choose the best brush to clean cast iron grill grates according to your needs.

Whether it is just a regular cleaning or you need to deep clean the cast-iron grill grates, you need a brush to do it.

According to me a wooden bristle brush is the best brush to clean cast iron grill grates. The bristles are not harsh like the metal ones making it the best brush to clean cast iron grill grates.

We advise that you do this process outdoors and not in the sink so that the rusts that are removed from the grates will not mix with nearby utensils or clog the sink.

Get the soapy water and a ball of steel wool to clean the grill grates. Scrub the cast-iron grill grates thoroughly until you see the rust coming off and all that is left is the steel.

This will inevitably remove all the proper seasoning that you put in the grill grates but it will also remove the rust. You might remove some coating but that is okay as long as the rust has been removed.

Make sure that you rinse the grill grates thoroughly with water. Continue brushing the grates while pouring water to rinse it so that the soap is totally removed.

Wipe off the excess oil and water with a towel and leave the grate in a dry place. Making sure that it dries off properly is necessary because even the smallest amount of moisture left in the grate will let rust return the following day.

So put it in the oven and let it sit there for a few minutes at a low temperature. This will make sure that the pores of the cast iron grill grates will be dried properly just in case the towel did not reach them.

Other Techniques

These are the few techniques I use and if you wonder how do i clean cast iron grill grates then I mostly use these techniques.

It is not always all these cleaning methods that I incorporate to clean the cast iron grill grates but I use a combination of them.

This is mostly how I clean cast iron grill grates of my Kamado grill.


If the grill grates are extremely rusty, you might need something more than just soap and water. Like the process done with the food residuals, you need to pyrolyze the rust off of the grill grates.

Get your grill fired up until it reached a high temperature of over 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the cast-iron grill grates sit in the grill for over an hour to get rid of the rusts.

Pyrolyzing needs a hot grill to remove the stubborn food residues from the grill grates. This can also be done with your hot oven to remove pizza particles and other food left in it.

After that, you will still need to wash and scrub it with soap and water but it will be an easier job. This is only recommended for extreme cases where the cast-iron grill grates are covered with rusts.

Pyrolyzing is a great way to start deep cleaning your cast-iron grill grates as they remove any doof residuals from the cast-iron grill grates.

Vinegar Method

If you thought if one can clean cast iron grill grates with vinegar and baking soda, then you should know that you can.

If you have never done it then below is more on how you can clean cast iron grill grates with vinegar and baking soda and actually it does a way better job.

I usually prefer to clean cast iron grill grates with vinegar as it does a way better job in cleaning everything.

So, here is more on cleaning grill grates with vinegar.

You can also use chemistry when cleaning a cast-iron grill grate.

Get a large basin where the grill grates can lie flat and mix vinegar, baking soda, and water.

Make a 50-50 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar in the basin until the grill grates are soaked. Leave them there for 1 to 2 hours to dissolve the rusts on the grill grates.

Use a scrubber and start removing the excess rust from the grates. Once you are done scrubbing, wash them again with soap and water and then let the grates dry.

Cleaning cast-iron grill grates with vinegar and baking soda are effective as the vinegar’s acidity removes the rust while the baking soda counters the acidity when time comes that you need to wash it out.


Cast-iron is one of the toughest, most durable materials that can be used in most cookware. 

This guide is all about how I clean cast iron grill grates and probably one of the best guide on how to properly clean cast iron grill grates without doing any damage to your grill.

Cleaning a grill is important and cleaning rusty grill grates is extremely important.

This step-by-step guide works on any grill so you can clean the cast iron grill grates of the weber grill too.

But that goes without saying that they are not indestructible and can still be damaged if not taken care of properly.

That is why grill grates made out of a cast-iron need to be looked after.

They will last a lifetime if you use and maintain them properly, so ensure you get the best care for them.

Cleaning a cast-iron grill grate will depend on the dirt that you are trying to remove.

If it is only food residuals, there is no need to involve water, pyrolyze it, and brush the residuals off.

When rusts are involved, wash them thoroughly with soap and water and then scrub them with steel wool. This will, most of the time, remove the rust on the grill grates.

One thing that you should do after cleaning, any cleaning, is to season the cast-iron grill grates.

Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or olive oil using a clean dry cloth or paper towels and then let them heat up in the grill.

This will make the cast-iron grill grate stronger and eventually develop non-stick qualities so you can cook your delicious meals without any threat from dirt or rust in your next use.

 So take care of your cast-iron grill grates and pass them on from one generation to the other.

If you found this post helpful then do let me know what you think in the comments below!

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