Cleaning Stainless Steel Grill Grates in Simple Ways

Updated April 16, 2020
Cleaning outdoor gas grill

Cleaning stainless steel grill racks in preparation for your summertime barbecues does not have to be a chore. If you have a little cleaning know-how, this outdoor cleaning task can be quite simple.

Best Ways to Clean Stainless Steel Grill Grates

Keeping your stainless steel barbecue grill racks in good shape requires cleaning them soon after each use. Letting the burnt-on food debris sit on the rack will only make cleaning more difficult and possibly cause dulling of the grill finish. Using a wire brush or steel wool may cause pits and scratches that will later fill up with burnt on debris and make the grill more difficult to clean. Never use an abrasive cleaner when cleaning stainless steel grill racks.

Vinegar and Foil for Cleaning

Vinegar can dissolve burnt on food while gently cleaning your grill racks. Foil can be effective in removing debris without scratching the surface.

  1. To clean with vinegar, let your barbecue grill cool off.
  2. Dilute 2 cups vinegar with 2 cups water in a spray bottle.
  3. Spray your grill with the water-vinegar solution, saturating top and bottom.
  4. Let the solution soak into the debris on the racks for approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Fold aluminum foil thickly, so it will not tear.
    • Optional: Spray the foil with more vinegar solution before you scrub the grill.
  6. Scrub the grill racks with the foil.

How to Burn Debris Off Your Grill Rack

Utilize the grill itself to clean stuck-on-food off the racks. To do so:

  1. Turn up the flames to high until the debris has been thoroughly burned.
  2. Turn the flames off.
  3. While the grill is still hot, use a soft brush to scrub off any remaining debris.
  4. Follow up after the racks have cooled with an old rag soaked in water or the vinegar solution.

Covering the rack with foil and burning off the foil is another technique for cleaning grill grates.

Man cleaning the barbecue grill

Soak Your Stainless Steel Racks Overnight

Cleaning stainless steel grill racks may require an overnight soaking.

  1. Place your grill racks into a large sturdy garbage bag.
  2. In a bowl, mix 2 cups vinegar with 1 cup baking soda.
  3. Pour the solution into the garbage sack and tie it securely shut.
  4. Lay the garbage sack with the racks in it on the ground. The vinegar and baking soda will cover the racks.
  5. Let it soak overnight.
  6. The next day, take out the racks and hose them down or use a soft cloth to wipe off the debris.
Grill cleaning after barbecue

How to Clean Stainless Steel Grill Grates Using a High Pressure Hose

A garden hose is a quick and simple tool to use in getting your grill racks clean.

  1. Remove your grill grates from your barbecue and place them against a wall.
  2. Use a high-pressure hose nozzle and spray off the burnt-on debris.
  3. Dry your grill grates off thoroughly with a towel or place it back on the grill and turn on the flames to dry it off before storing.
    Man washing off dirty barbecue grill plates using a powerful spray of water from a pressure hose

Cleaning and Rust Prevention Tips for Stainless Steel Grills

Most barbecues are used outdoors and therefore left outside all year long. Your barbecue, exposed to the elements, may oxidize and get rusty.

  • Make sure you thoroughly dry the grates before closing the grill after cleaning.
  • Microfiber towels won't leave fuzz on your grill racks or scratch them.
  • Cover your barbecue with a special cover made specifically for its shape to keep your grill dry.
  • To further protect your stainless steel grills, brush them lightly with vegetable oil after each cleaning and before you put away the barbecue in the winter.

As your grill gets used more often you will find that your stainless steel grates become discolored. While they may never regain their shiny appearance, you can prevent pits, scrapes and rust from corroding them if you maintain them properly. Here are some tips on how to clean a rusty grill.

Enjoy Your Grill for Years to Come

Cleaning your stainless steel grill racks can preserve your grill for many years of healthy and enjoyable family parties. Read the owners manner of your grill for specific care instructions.

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Cleaning Stainless Steel Grill Grates in Simple Ways