How to Clean a Cast Iron Grill or a Grill Pan – Useful Tips

Jeremy Bivens
Jeremy Bivens
Research Writer
Jeremy Bivens is a passionate writer and grilling enthusiast. He's been working as a freelance journalist for over 15 years now and has a particular interest in food writing read more
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Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams
Expert Consultant
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous read more
Last updated: August 10, 2023
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Steak, cheese, or pork tastes yummier when prepared in a cast iron grill or a grill pan rather than a stainless steel skillet or an oven. Whether you’ve inherited a cast iron grill or purchased one, it’s essential to clean it promptly to ensure it’s in the best shape possible.

It will distribute heat evenly across the cast metal, and your meals will be well cooked. Remember, water is also prone to cause metals to rust. But, in this guide, we will show you how to clean a cast iron grill and a grill pan to ensure it’s sturdy and doesn’t rust.

How often should you clean your cast iron grill?

The exact number depends on how often you use the grill. You should spot clean it after every use and do a thorough cleaning twice per year if you use it frequently. Scrub the grates, remove dirt, and use some Windex to wipe the exterior parts. It will last longer.

How to clean a cast-iron BBQ grill

How to Clean a Cast Iron Grill or a Grill Pan - Useful Tips

Your primary concern when cleaning BBQ grill is to prevent its parts from rusting. Iron is durable, and rarely scratches. Notably, several grills in the market come with instructions that will walk you through the right care and maintenance practices.

However, most of the guides miss out on steps to aid you in ensuring your BBQ grill does not rust.

In this section, we will look at the steps to clean your BBQ grill like setting up a working station, warming the grates, rinsing, and removing bits of food in the grill, among others.

1. Set up a cleaning station

Gather tools you will use like water, vinegar, gloves before setting up your cleaning station. Create a checklist to make the process easy and faster. Identify an area you will work on, whether it’s your backyard or garden.

Place newspapers on the ground and lay down your grill. You will manage the mess that comes with cleaning the dust and dirt in the grills.

2. Warm the grates and brush off excess foods

Grill grates clean best if they are warm. The first step to clean a grate is to preheat it for 2-3 minutes and leave it to cool. Switch off the grill. Wear gloves and use a brush to scrub it gently.

3. Scrape off excess food

Several tiny pieces of food remain in grills after use. Some of the pieces embed themselves on the grill until they seem to be permanent. A wire brush or a paint scraper comes in handy in such scenarios. Scrub off the excess food gently while focusing on removing huge amounts of debris. Remove the dirt on the sides of the grill.

4. Scrub the grates off with a brush and water

How to Clean a Cast Iron Grill or a Grill Pan - Useful Tips

Apply warm soapy water on the grates, get a sponge or scrub brush, and clean it thoroughly. Focus on the layers of dirt and search for materials you might have left out during the previous cleaning session.

5. Rinse your grates

Sponges are ideal for rinsing grills. Get a bucket, add water, and a cup of vinegar then mix. Dip the sponge in the mixture then rinse it until the machine becomes clean. Don’t leave any soap residue on the cast iron grill.

6. Remove any bits of food inside the grill

Examine all sections of your grill for traces of food before cleaning the inside parts. Focus on the bottom parts. You can turn the grill upside down so that the pieces fall first. Wear a glove and pick up visible chunks of food inside the grill.

7. Clean the exterior with warm, soapy water

Survey the exterior parts of your grill first. Check if there is a mild or heavy build-up of materials that require special tools like terry cloth or a glass cleaner.

You need basic materials like water, soap, and gloves to clean the exterior parts.

Mix the water and soap, wear your gloves then dip your sponge. Wipe its exterior parts while targeting dirt, dust, or bird droppings. Leave your grill to dry.

8. Remove grease from the top of the lid

Grease builds up on the interior parts of grills. It’s a black substance you will easily notice while cleaning. Try peeling it off with your hands. Next, take a stainless-steel brush and scrub the remnants you can’t remove by hand.

9. Sift out excess charcoal

The charcoal you use will be deposited in the form of ashes in the bottom parts of the grill. You will find an opening to the region they are deposited. Sift out the charcoal and small chunks of ash into a container. Discard it and repeat the process until no amounts are left inside it.

10. Clean the inside bowl

Get a brush and scrub the interior parts of the bowl. Look for materials you might have left out before. Get a sponge again, dip it in the water mixed with soap then wipe your grill. Move your hand in circular motions and clear the grease and dirt build-up. Rinse the bowl with clean water and leave it to dry.

Removing rust from a cast iron grill

The materials that suit cleaning a rusted cast iron grill grease include vinegar, salt paste, and baking soda paste. Apply the material you have and leave it to rest on the surface for 3 to 4 minutes. Get steel wool or a wire brush and attack the rust on the surfaces.

How to clean a cast iron grill pan

How to Clean a Cast Iron Grill or a Grill Pan - Useful Tips

You don’t have to wait for signs your grill pan is wearing out to start searching for tips on how to maintain it.

There are steps on how to clean a grill pan to ensure it does not rust. Cleaning it regularly will aid you in avoiding inconveniences like disposing it or borrowing from friends.

The care practices of grill pans are quite different from regular pans. This is due to their features like the ridges at the bottom. However, you will handle the process like a pro if you do master the steps below.

Step 1

Use a nylon brush and scrub the food pieces on your pan. Most users don’t recommend using soap to clean this tool.

Step 2

Boil water and add it in your pan. This will loosen any remaining pieces of food.

Step 3

Prepare a small amount of vegetable oil and kosher salt and add a tablespoon each in the pan. Focus on parts like the ridges. Leave it to rest for a while. Use your nylon brush and scrub gently to remove more pieces of food.

Step 4

Dry the pan with a terry cloth, linen dishcloth, or absorbent cotton.

Step 5

Use a paper towel or soft cotton cloth to smear little amounts of oil in the pan while it’s still hot.

How to season a cast iron grill pan

You will need an oven, aluminum foil or cookie sheet to season your pan. Preheat your oven from 350 to 400 degrees. Scrub the interior of your pan with a nylon brush and warm water only.

Rinse well and dry it. Next, sprinkle vegetable oil in the inside and outside parts of the pan. Place the aluminum foil above the rack in your oven to trap drippings. Insert the pan upside down in the oven. Bake it for an hour then leave it to cool.

In conclusion

How to Clean a Cast Iron Grill or a Grill Pan - Useful Tips

Your cast iron grill deserves the care you give to the other equipment in your home. It’s your duty to ensure the parts like grates are in great condition to save you the expense of doing replacements and searching for other great models.

We have highlighted all the steps and the solutions you should use to ensure your grill is in the best condition. Create a cleaning routine and abide by it so that your grills can last longer.

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