How to Clean Rusty Grill Grates?

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 24, 2023
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Whether you are using the best charcoal grills or gas ones, it is vital to provide them with the adequate care they require. You might have woken up one day with the envy of grilling food or meat on your grates. Opening the grill, you found out that the grates were rusty? So much for your envy of eating barbecued food. Fortunately, learning how to clean rusty grill grates is not a big deal. While many people think that this tool’s cleaning is limited to scraping it with a scraper (which is true but incomplete as it does not work for badly rusty grates), other methods can be used to achieve more excellent results. Also, we do not recommend you cooking on a rusty grill grate surface. Not only will rust alter your food’s taste, but it can also cause food intoxication or other health conditions. That is why we have come up with this walkthrough to help you remove rust from your grates!

Removing rust with salt and vinegar

So you have left your barbecue outside, and it has not withstood the harsh weather conditions, and now you want to know  how to get the rust off grill grates Trusted Source 4 Easy Ways to Clean Rusted Grill Grates - wikiHow Rust formation on a grill can be very frustrating, especially when you’re eager to get cooking. Luckily, it’s easy to use products you probably already have at home to remove it, such as baking soda, vinegar, salt or lemon juice…. . The best method depends on the material used in manufacturing the particular model. However, one of those methods using household ingredients is salt and vinegar.

It is possible to remove rust off your grates using these ingredients that are present in your kitchen. Plus, they are non-toxic substances that are edible. This means that they don’t represent a risk for your health. Also, using them is easy.

What you will need

This process is pretty straightforward and requires items that everyone has at hand.

  • A heavy-duty garbage sack
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • A bowl
  • A rag or a cloth

Cleaning process

Once you have all your tools with you, you can now proceed to remove the rust.

  1. Mixing salt and vinegar in a bowl

The first step of cleaning and removing rust from grill grates is by having the right mixture. Using salt and vinegar, you must add a cup of salt into two cups of vinegar, and stir the mixture in a bowl. Mixing both ingredients helps to perfectly bring out their features: acidity for the vinegar and abrasion for salt. This way, they are more efficient. You don’t have to worry, however, because they will not cause more damage to your grill grates or their material.

  1. Putting the grill grates into the garbage sack

The next step is putting your rusty grill grates into a garbage sack. We recommend you using a solid and sturdy one. Indeed, you will have to soak the grill grates into the salt and vinegar mixture for the whole night, and you want to make sure that the bag containing them is solid enough to avoid any breakage or leakage. Do not hesitate to use two bags if necessary.

  1. Add the mixture into the sack

You can put the bag flat on the ground and add the salt and vinegar and tie it tight to avoid any leakage. The grill grates must soak into the mixture for the night.

  1. Remove the grates and next morning and clean with rag or cloth

The next morning, remove them in the garbage sack and use an old rag to wipe off or rub the remaining rust. Your tool is clean and ready to be used again.

What else to use to get rid of rust?

When it comes to how to remove rust from the grill, you can also use other methods that work well.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is very efficient when it comes to cleaning rust off grates. You will love its mild-abrasive feature that helps absorb grime and grease, as well as scrub dirt away. How to remove rust from the grill using this method? In a bucket, add baking soda, dish detergent, and hot water.

The next step is using a grill brush to brush away loose debris on your grill grates. Then, put the grates inside the bucket and let it soak for at least one hour. After the required time, use your grill brush again, to scrub the remaining rust.

You can then remove the grill grates from the solution and clean it away with a garden hose to remove the last residues. Finally, use a cloth to dry clean it, and put it back on your grill.

How to Clean Rusty Grill Grates?


You can also use sandpaper to remove rust off your grill grates. The procedure is quite easy. What you have to do is to rub it up and down firmly on your rusted grates. The rubbing movements effectively contribute to getting rid of the rust. However, this method requires excessive care and caution, as the rubbing scratches the grates’ surface.

Lemon juice

You can also clean and remove rust from your gas grill by using a solution of lemon juice and other ingredients. Lemon juice is known to be mildly acidic. This acidity is helpful as you can use it to get rid of rust easily. Adding dish detergent to lemon enhances the cleaning and protects the metal surface.

Mix the juice of one lemon plus liquid dish detergent, apply the mixture on your grill grates, and let it sit for a couple of hours. You can use a brush to scrape the grime and rust and then a garden hose to rinse the surface thoroughly. Finally, use a dry cloth to dry the grates and put them back in your grill. They are clean and ready to be used again.

Dish soap and sponge

You can use dish soap and sponge to remove rust, only if the rust is located on the surface of your grates or if the grates are not badly affected. The only thing you need to do is mix the dish soap into a bucket of hot water. Then use a soft sponge to scrub away the grime.

This method is advantageous and safe. We recommend it to the initial stages of rust as it does not cause damage to your grates. It does not scrub your grill grates’ material or leave residue on it.

Using a commercial remover

Apart from that, you can also use specialized solutions, such as the Evaporust Super Safe Water-Based Rust Remover. Our experts recommend it because it doesn’t contain toxic chemicals while also being biodegradable and reusable.

How to make your grill grates last longer?

The best way to make your grill grates last longer is by preventing rust from attacking them. As you know, the best offense is the defense, and you have to make sure that you apply preventive measures that will help you keep your tool for a longer time.

Cover your grill properly

One of the best ways to prevent rust from attacking your grates is to properly cover your barbecue with an adequate fitting cover. This helps prevent all kinds of moisture and grime from attacking your grill.

Always clean your grates when you are done using them

How to Clean Rusty Grill Grates?

You must clean your grill grates regularly. Preferably, it is recommended that you do that after every use. This keeps your grates clean and prevents rust from attacking them. You might not know, but food residues left on the metal easily and quickly cause rust.

Season your grates

To make your grill grates last longer, you must season them. This simply means that you must use vegetable oil to coat your grates. It protects the material and prevents food from sticking on it and rust from attacking.

Always store your kitchen tools inside

Whether your grates are made with strong material or not, you must keep and store them inside, away from harsh temperature conditions. This will prevent them from rusting, especially if they are not anti-corrosive.

Check your grates after using

Finally, always check your grill grates to discover rust. If you find it, take the appropriate measures right away to get rid of it before it gets worse.

Final thoughts

You can apply various cleaning methods, and most of them are cost-effective. Plus, they are practical and efficient, and they help you get the best out of your grates by removing the grime, grease, and rust that wants to destroy them. You must, however, know how to clean rusty grill grates to prevent that. We recommend you keep and protect your appliance as much as possible. Always make sure that you clean it after you have used it. This way, it prevents grease and other residues from sticking to it, thereby causing rust. Also, make sure that you don’t leave it under extreme weather conditions, especially if the materials used in its conception aren’t anti-corrosion. If none of the abovementioned methods work, you might want to get new grill grates. For example, you can purchase the Weber 7639 Stainless Steel Cooking Grates for Spirit 300 that will last for years.


4 Easy Ways to Clean Rusted Grill Grates - wikiHow
Rust formation on a grill can be very frustrating, especially when you’re eager to get cooking. Luckily, it’s easy to use products you probably already have at home to remove it, such as baking soda, vinegar, salt or lemon juice….

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