How to Get Rust Off Cast Iron Grill Grates

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Do You Own a Grill With Rusted Iron?

Many people are tired of having a rusted grill. One of the main reasons is not having proper maintenance. However, just like any other form of the grill, frequent cleaning and maintenance are required to keep your outdoor cooking gear looking beautiful and running correctly.

How to Remove Rust From Cast Iron Grates

You can have a rusted iron grate for many reasons. Some of them are neglecting your grill, leaving the cover off or not cleaning properly after every use.

Even when you do not use the grill for a long time, then you can clearly see the rust on the grill. The reason is that moisture can get inside of the grates and form rust simply over the course of time.

While rust certainly isn’t good, it’s probably not the end of the world.  Unless the rust damage is catastrophic, there are a few different methods you can use to remove rust from cast iron grates.  Here are a few ways we recommend for how to remove rust from cast iron grates.

Method 1- Use Vinegar to Clean

Make a mixture of water and vinegar and put on your grates flat in the solution. If you have a large kitchen sink then it is an ideal place to do it. Another option is to do it in a heavy plastic tub if needed.

Let the grates be soaked in the mixture for a little over an hour. After that remove them from the mixture and scrub them down with a grill brush. Give special attention to any remaining rust areas.

Be sure to do one final rinse with water to make sure all vinegar is removed from your grates. Last, make sure the grates are completely dry so that moisture doesn’t begin the rusting process again.

Method 2- Use Warm Soapy Water

Remember that this method will actually strip down any seasoning you’ve built up over time on your grates.  It’s a necessary evil though, as this process will also strip away all of the rust that’s built up.

Bring the grates inside and put them in your sink. Turn on the warm water, add a light soap and also use the steel wool alongside the warm soapy mixture to scrape all of the rusty areas off of your grates. After your grates have been cleaned, rinse them one last time with water.

Here it is essential to dry the grates completely. Keep in mind that moisture can be a big issue when it comes to rust, and we’ve just scraped off any protective layers that might be on your grates.

Therefore dry the grates immediately by placing them in an oven set to a low temperature. Leave them in there for 30 minutes or so, or until all moisture has evaporated from your grates and their pores.

Before your next use, it would be a good idea to apply a thin film of oil and bake your grates to season them, and restart the process of building up a protective coat.

Method 3- Use High Heat

The third option to clean the rust off your cast iron grates is to use high heat for a long period of time. If your grill has the capability then heat it up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit or even slightly higher. Place your grates inside the grill (if they weren’t already before) and leave them in there for about an hour and fifteen minutes.

The other way you can do this is to place your grates in an oven that has a self-cleaning cycle.  Simply put your grates in, turn the self-clean cycle on, and this process will achieve similar results.

The extreme heat will burn off and deep clean your grates.  From there, let the grates cool and check for any excess rust or food particles that didn’t get burnt off.  Scrape any stragglers away with soapy water and steel wool or a firm brush.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Why is my cast iron grill rusting?

Ans: Cast iron grills are well known for their durability and if they are cared for properly, they can outlive many other sturdy appliances you own. If a cast iron grate is not properly cleaned and stored with moisture inside, it will rust. So, the best way to avoid the forming of rust is to prevent it.

Q2: How do you keep a grill from rusting?

Ans: The easiest way to make sure that your grill grates do not rust is to clean the grease and food particles away after every cook! Remember to put a light coat of oil on your cooking grids after cleaning to prevent them from rusting, and keep them seasoned.

 Q3: What is the best way to season cast iron grill grates?

Ans: Do not use soap, instead of it use a paper towel and apply vegetable oil on your iron grill grates. Put the grates into your oven (which should be off, to begin with) and then bring the temperature up to 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit slowly for 40 minutes. After that, just let it cool and you will be good to go

Q4: Can we oil our grill grates?

Ans: Oiling your grill grate helps prevent food from sticking when cooking. To do this, dip a wadded paper towel in a little oil and, using tongs, wipe the oil evenly over the grate. Be careful not to use too much oil, because that’s a sure-fire way to start a good flare-up—a little goes a long way here.

To wrap it up

After you’ve removed the rust from your cast iron grill, season it by wiping it with a thin layer of vegetable oil. It’s also critical to maintain your barbecue grates seasoned by oiling them after each cleaning.

To avoid rust buildup, repeat the seasoning step on a regular basis. If you follow these guidelines for cleaning and maintaining a cast-iron grill, you can expect many years of use from this affordable outdoor cooking gear.


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