how to cleann stainless steel grill grates

Have you got your dream grill with stainless steel grates? And, your worry is, “how to clean  stainless steel grill grates?”

Well, your happy grill grates are just 7 mins read away. We’ve gathered the best methods to clean the stainless steel grill grates. 

Among these, you can pick the one that your grates need the most. Here we come.

Why Regular Cleanliness of Stainless Steel Grill Grates is Essential? 

how to clean stainless steel grill grates

No doubt stainless steel grill grates offer several advantages that we don’t get from cast iron or any other grates. 

First of all, there’s no chance of corrosion or rust, as is the case with cast iron grates. Secondly, stainless steel has a high melting point, making it able to withstand high heat intensities. 

Thirdly, stainless steel grates don’t have any coating that can leach into your food and thus contaminate it. Last but not least, stainless steel grill grates are easy to use and clean.

However, note that stainless steel grill grates also require regular cleaning. If you don’t clean them for a long time, it leads to carbonization of the food particles on the grates. 

Little by little, these particles can change their chemistry and serve as potential contaminants for whatever you grill on the grates. If your stainless steel grill grates need cleaning and you don’t know how to do it, this brief guide can help you in this regard. Let’s jump headfirst into our topic.

Remember before you Proceed!

It’s generally best practice to gently clean your grill grates after each grilling event. If you fail to do so, at least a few and far between, you’ll eventually end up accumulating burnt-on debris on your grill grates. 

This debris will keep on compounding and become hard to clean. While most stainless steel grates lack a surface coating, some do contain fine polish. 

  • Using a wire brush or steel wool on the grate surface can lead to the formation and development of pits and scratches. These pits and scratches are a sweet spot for debris.
  • Another thing to remember is not to use a bleach cleaner. Sodium hypochlorite is the active or sometimes sole ingredient of bleaches that can damage stainless steel. In addition, it doesn’t appear to have good degreasing properties.
  • Another material to avoid while cleaning stainless steel grill grates is sodium hydroxide, sometimes referred to as caustic soda or lye. It’s a strong base that is also toxic for humans. It can also pit the stainless steel surface.

Best Ways for Cleaning Stainless Steel Grill Grates

Based on the severity of the problem, there are various methods and techniques to clean stainless steel grill grates. Whether your grill grates need mild cleaning or harsh treatment, we’ve got you covered.

In the following, we’ve discussed the safest techniques to clean your stainless steel grill grates.

1st Method – Burn and Rinse

clean stainless steel grill grates

Materials:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Stiff nylon brush

Procedure:

This method is the safest and most convenient method to clean stainless steel grates. To clean your grill grates using this method, follow these simple steps:

  1. Wrap the grates with aluminum foil.
  2. Fire the grill burners.
  3. Set the burners to maximum heat.
  4. Close the lid.
  5. Wait for at least 10 minutes.
  6. Open the lid and aluminum foil.
  7. Rinse the grates using a stiff nylon brush.
  • Pros of this Method

This method is suitable for removing any carbonized food on stainless steel grates. Some people, alternatively, remove the grates and put them in the oven to burn the carbonized food on them. 

  • Cons of this Method

Remember that this practice has potential safety risks. 

First of all, it leads to excessive smoke. Secondly, griddle grease and food residues can cause a fire in the oven. Both conditions can be the cause of potential mishaps. In addition, putting grill grates in the oven is a terrible idea that can ruin the oven.

2nd Method  – Soak, Scrub, and Rinse

Materials:

  • Plastic tub
  • Hot water
  • Dishwasher liquid detergent
  • Baking soda (sodium hydroxide)
  • Synthetic rubber pad

Procedure:

First of all, this method requires a plastic tub to host stainless steel grill grates in water. You can remove excess oil, dirt, and carbon from the grates through the following steps:

  1. Source a plastic tub that’s large enough to accommodate the grill grates.
  2. Pour some hot water into the tub. Keep the water shallow, don’t fill the tub as doing so will require more detergent to remove the grease.
  3. Put the grates in the tub. Make sure you completely submerge the grates in the water.
  4. Put about a cup of dishwasher liquid detergent into the water. Stir well until it starts to bubble.
  5. Put half a cup of baking soda into the water and stir until it forms plenty of foam.
  6. Drop the stainless steel grill grates into the tub and leave them there for at least two hours.
  7. Scrub the grates with a synthetic scrub pad. Avoid using metal scrapers as they can pit the grates.
  8. Remove the grates from the tub and clean them with fresh water. Now you’re done.

There’s an alternative method that involves soaking, scrubbing, and rinsing off the grates. In this method, instead of using dishwasher liquid detergent, you can use vinegar and baking soda. You can mix the two cleaning agents at once and wait for the foam to form.

  • Pros of this Method

This method is useful for cleaning large, defiant food materials and grease on gas grill grates. It’s particularly suitable for clearing fat residues because baking soda and detergents can dissolve and remove oils.

  • Cons of this Method

There are no safety concerns when you choose to use this method. Yet, it can take a lot of time. Perhaps you might need to spare time from your weekend, or delay a grilling session!

How to Clean Stainless Steel Grill Grates after Cooking?

Cleaning stainless steel grates right after you’ve finished grilling is the easiest thing to do. It’s because food particles are easy to remove from a hot surface. When the grates cool down, residual food hardens and sticks to the surface.

To clean stainless steel grates after grilling, you don’t need to take them out of the grill. After you’ve finished cooking, just take the food out and scrub the grates with your favorite grill brush.

For defiant residue and deep stains, pour some vinegar onto the side of a towel and scrub the grate surface using the towel. Vinegar is also an excellent disinfectant, meaning that it’ll clear any germs or bacteria feeding on carbonized food.

Remember that some bacteria can withstand high temperatures. Hence,  moderate grilling can’t kill their colonies.

The bottom surface of the grates is hard to reach, so you can use a U-shaped stainless steel scraper to clean it also.

After you’ve finished cleaning the grates, close the lid and let the grill cool down.

Caution:

Using this method, refrain from using a synthetic or nylon brush to clean hot stainless steel grates. Brush hair or bristles can melt due to heat radiating from the grates. Consequently, you’ll end up making your grates worse than before rather than cleaning.

FAQs

Q: Why is it essential to use a high-quality, stiff brush?

Using a high-quality, stiff nylon brush is essential to avoid the bristles from falling off. If the bristles fall out from the brush during cleaning, they can fall inside the burners or on the grease tray. Either way, when you fire the grill after cleaning to cook something, these fallen off bristles can lead to unavoidable and unnecessary flare-ups. Furthermore, since you’re using a synthetic brush made of petrochemical substances, these fallen-off bristles give rise to pollution and toxic smoke.

In the case of a metal brush, if it’s not of good quality, its bristles can also break off. These metal bristles can also contaminate the food when they burn. Sometimes, when heat is high, these bristles can melt, boil, and go upward to contaminate the food. Nobody wants to eat food that is contaminated, especially by some hazardous metal particles. Would you?

For this reason, you should always use a stiff nylon brush to clean your stainless steel grill grates. A stainless steel BBQ scraper is also a better option.

Q: Do stainless steel grill grates require seasoning?

Yes, they do, but not as often as cast iron grill grates. 

However, since stainless steel grates have no corrosion or rust-resistant coating, you need to keep them away from humidity and moisture. For this reason, it’s best to close the lid right after the grilling session.

Also, make sure to place stainless steel grate grills away from humid or moist places. Some people propose that oiling the stainless steel grates is good to keep them clean. We think that this idea has no logical or practical basis.

First of all, oiling the grates can lead to the accumulation of food particles on pits and rough surfaces of the grates. Even if it doesn’t happen, the oil applied on the stainless steel grates is more likely to evaporate as soon as the grates heat.

It’s a better idea to oil the food you want to grill instead of oiling stainless steel grill grates. Oiling the food instead of stainless steel grill grates keeps the food from sticking to the grates. In addition, this results in low oil consumption.

Q: Is it safe to use steel wool to clean stainless steel grill grates?

Generally not. Using steel wool to clean stainless steel grates is a terrible idea that can ruin the finish of the stainless steel grates. It can scratch the grate surface that can lead to the formation of pits and crevices on grates. 

Since food particles can stick to those crevices and accumulate there, the grates eventually become hard to clean.

Final Thoughts

Good BBQ food begins with a cleaned grill. From this guide on “how to clean stainless steel grill grates,” you can use the most fitting way to help your grill not only support your food over the flames with no care for contamination but also get those crunchy, flavorful searing marks on your burgers, chicken breast, juicy steaks, and cheese.

BTW, which method do you intend to use first? Let us know by commenting in the comment section.

 

By Saba Akbar

Saba Akbar is a freelance content writer with a deep interest in cooking and using kitchen gadgets. It's why she infuses her cooking expertise and research in the articles to satisfy her audiences' search intent. She also uses advanced SEO skills to help maximum audiences seeking the best advice across the internet.