How to Clean Rusty Cast Iron Grill

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Are you interested in learning how to clean a cast-iron grill? One of the most fantastic reasons to purchase a cast iron grill is its durability. However, just like any other type of grill, you’ll need to clean and maintain your outdoor cooking equipment regularly to keep it looking good and working correctly. Therefore, keep reading to learn how to clean a rusty cast iron grill.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Grill

Cast iron grills are incredibly durable and resilient, unlike stainless steel grills, which may be easily damaged and discolored if an abrasive cleaning solution or surface is used on them. The biggest challenge with caring for a cast iron grill is avoiding rust rather than avoiding scratches.

When purchasing a new cast iron grill, be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for seasoning it. The first step in getting rid of rust on your cast iron grill, like with cast iron pots and pans, is to season it thoroughly before using it.

If you acquired your grill, you could tell if it was well-maintained by the previous owner just by looking at it. If the grill has a lot of rust on it, it’s likely that it wasn’t adequately seasoned before usage or that it wasn’t properly cared for regularly. It is, however, not difficult to bring a rusty cast iron grill back to life.

Removing Rust from A Cast Iron Grill

You must be able to remove the rust as long as it hasn’t eaten through the iron and the grill’s useable life hasn’t been shortened. There are various ways to take out rust from cast iron.

It is better to start with an abrasive cleaning device to remove rust from any metal. Wire brushes and steel wool can be used to clean cast iron. You can use an abrasive surface and your own muscular power to remove the rust, or you can use a cleaning solution to assist you in your grill cleaning efforts.

If the idea of using a cleaning solution appeals to you, consider one of the following:


After wiping the rusted surface with full-strength white vinegar, let it sit for a few minutes. Continue scrubbing the rusted area with a wire brush or steel wool once the vinegar has started to remove the rust. Rep until the rust is no longer visible.

Baking Soda Paste

Instead of vinegar, a thick paste made of baking soda and water can be used to remove rust off cast iron grills and other metal surfaces. Let the paste sit for a few hours on the rust build-up. Scrape away the paste with an abrasive surface, repeating as needed.

Paste of salt

Make a thick combination of kosher salt and water if you need anything more effective than vinegar or baking soda to remove the rust off your cast iron grill. Apply it to the corroded area, then use steel wool or a wire brush to scrub it away. As required, repeat the process. You may require to start your cleaning efforts with a salt paste if the rust is very stubborn, but once the first few layers of rust have been removed, you may switch to the less abrasive baking soda paste.

How to Clean Rusty Cast Iron Grill: Step by Step

Step 1: Wash the Grates

The first step in this whole procedure is to wash the rusty grates before. For this, take some warm soapy water and wash the grill grates thoroughly. This will remove the extra layer of rust or dirt sitting on the grates. Here, you can also use a brush to get better results.

Step 2: Soak the Grill Grates

Once you clean the grates with water, soak them in any of your preferred solutions mentioned above. You can even combine all baking soda, vinegar and soak the grates in the mixture for a good amount of time. This will help rust come off from the grates. 

Step 3: Give Enough Time to Dry

Here it is important not to leave the grill grates wet outside. Because if you do so, rust will reappear on them. Therefore, always ensure after cleaning that the grill grates are completely dry and there is no moisture on them. You can dry the grates with a cloth or oven-dry them.

Step 4: Season the Grates Again      

After cleaning, you need to season the grill grates gain. To do this step, heat the grills at 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. At this moment, you need to apply oil on the grill grates and place them inside the oven. Repeat this step after half an hour or so until you see black grill grates once again.

Taking Care Of Cast Iron Grates

It’s vital to clean and season the grates of your cast iron grill after each use. While the grill grates are still heated, wipe them clean with a paper towel or a dishtowel after the fire has been completely extinguished.

Scrape any trapped food particles off the grill grates using a wire brush or a nylon sponge, then wipe the grates clean and free of food accumulation. Make a cleaning paste by mixing salt or baking soda with water if the cooked-on food is stubborn and won’t come off readily while scraping the grates.

Apply the paste with a sponge and clean the area until it is free of any stubborn residue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hygienic or safe to cook on the rusty grill?

Well, grilling on rusty cast iron grill grates is not harmful to some extent. However, if you continue grilling on rusty grills, then it may become a problem for you and your family since rust contains iron oxide, which, if consumed in greater amounts, is harmful to everyone. 

Why is rust reappearing on my grill?

Reappearing rust on the grill grates indicates that it is not seasoned correctly. Therefore, if you see this happening follow the cleaning steps and season the grill grates properly.


After removing the rust from the cast iron grill, wipe it off with a light layer of vegetable oil to season it. It’s also important to keep your barbeque grates seasoned by oiling them after each use.

Repeat the seasoning process on a regular basis to avoid rust development. If you follow these cleaning and maintenance instructions for a cast-iron grill, you can expect years of service from this inexpensive outdoor cooking equipment. 



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