how to remove rust from grill grates

It is never a good idea to let rust remain your grill grates, as it interferes with the operational function and aesthetic appeal of your grill, not to mention the health concerns present with ingesting rust. So, removing rust from your grill grates as soon as you notice it and taking measures to prevent further rusting is the way to go, if you want to enhance the longevity of your grill and keeping is looking and operating as good as the day you unwrapped it from the delivery box.

Grill grates are made from different materials, with the most common being steel and cast iron because of their perceived durability. However, like most metals they are not exactly resistant to mother nature’s elements, which is to say that if they’re not properly cared for, they will be negatively affected by moisture thus making them very prone to rusting. Scroll along so you can get some useful tips on how to effectively remove rust from your steel or cast iron grill grates and how to prevent future rusting.

Removing Rust From Steel Grill Grates

Step 1

In a bucket, combine 2 gallons of hot water with ¼ cup of mild dish washing soap. Start scrubbing the entire grill using a sponge and the prepared hot soapy water mixture. Once done, rinse the grill grate with hot water. Let it dry for an hour or two.

Step 2

Now that the steel grill grates are clean, mix ½ tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Using a toothbrush, rub the baking soda mixture to rusted areas. Since baking soda is non abrasive, expect that rust will be lifted gently thus keeping the grains of the steel undamaged. Wipe it off with a paper towel.

Step 3

To bring back the shine of the steel, wipe it down with distilled white vinegar.

Removing Rust From Cast Iron Grill Grates

Cast iron grill grates are highly resilient, reliable and sturdy. This type of material can endure extreme heat that can possibly damage steel. Although this material is known to be one of the toughest types available around, this should not make you too confident as it it’s still prone to rust.

The good news is, there are many ways you can remove rust from cast iron grill grates:


Acetic acid is known to dissolve rust from metal, and that ingredient is highly present to vinegar. Rub the vinegar, preferably plain white vinegar which has 6% acetic acid, using a cloth soaked on it. Let it settle for few minutes then scratch the rust away using a steel wool or wire brush.

Salt Paste

Stir in kosher salt with water in a bowl. Keep stirring until it forms a paste. Apply it over the rusted areas of the cast iron grill grates. Rub all the rust away using either a steel wool or steel brush. The abrasiveness of kosher salt will let the rust fall off. Repeating the process is required for tougher rusted areas.

Baking Soda Paste

The process is almost the same as with the kosher salt paste. The only difference is for baking soda, you need to let it settle from the grill grates before scrubbing, making the process longer.

There are agents that dissolve or removers available in the market that you can use for both steel and cast iron grill grates.

Preventing Rust From Grill Grates

Prevention is always better than cure, so once you put your grill grates back to its original condition, you need to maintain it right to prevent rusting. Below are few tips you can do to avoid rusting:

  • Clean it after use. Before you even store it, make sure that you clean it completely using a mild dish washing soap. Wipe all excess water and make sure that it is all dried up.
  • Cover your grill. Once it is cooled down cover your grill. Covering it can protect it from the weather elements.
  • Although unavoidable at times, try to minimize pouring sauces to your meat while grilling. Instead, marinate or coat the meat hours before cooking. Separate the marinade on a different dish then place it on meat after grilling.

Like we’ve said, these ways are effective in removing rusting from your grill grates but proper care and maintenance is the best way to ensure a long life span of your grill.