Exchange Bar and Grill is reader-supported. When you buy through a link on this page, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Grates

Cast-iron grates are hard and durable, which is why you can use a wire or nylon brush to remove food remains from them ( preferably a nylon one ).

Remember that regular cleaning of cast-iron grates and maintenance effectively prevent rust from appearing and keep your grill grates in a great condition.

If you’ve just bought a grill with cast-iron grates, you should definitely read the manufacturer’s instructions, where you’ll find info on how to season cast-iron grates.

Maintenance of cast-iron grates has to be performed once in a while, obligatorily if you find any traces of rust.

How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Grates

First use

When it comes to the first use, the key initial step is to properly season cast-iron grates before you use them. An exception is porcelain coated cast-iron grates, which don’t have to be seasoned thanks to their porcelain coating.

How to do it? You should definitely read the user’s manual, where you will surely find info on what to do during the first use of the grates and the entire grill.

If you rarely cook on the grill or your grates are very dirty, you should perform all the below steps.

You should especially focus on seasoning cast-iron grates, it prevents rust from appearing and creates a layer that prevents food from sticking excessively.

Deep Cleaning Cast Iron Grill Grates

  • Step 1 – Clean right after use. After you’re done cooking, allow the grates to cool down a little, so that they’re warm ( not hot ! ). It is much easier to remove food remains out of the grates when they are warm, which is why it’s the best to do right after finishing cooking. You may do it another day, but make sure to warm up the grill before cleaning so that the grates are warm.
  • Step 2 – Use a wire or nylon brush to scrub food remains from the grates. Cast-iron grates are hard, so you can use any type of brush you want.
  • Step 3 – Then put a soap on a sponge and clean the grates in order to get rid of a large amount of grease ( use as little soap as possible ). Rinse the grates thoroughly using warm water to get the soap out completely.
  • Step 4 – Wipe the grates with a dry cloth and make sure that they really aren’t wet. Water makes cast iron rust, which is not something we want.
  • Step 5 - Season the Grates. Coat the entire surface of the grates with oil (olive oil , vegetable oil or vegetable shortening ). Preferably soak a clean cloth or paper towel with oil and spread it thoroughly over the entire area. You may also use a special spray that
  • Step 6 - Warm up the grill in order to finish the grates maintenance process and effectively protect them from rust and food sticking. To accomplish that, leave the grates on a warmed-up grill for at least 10 minutes.

Regular Use

In the event that you’re already through with full cleaning of the grates together with the maintenance, the situation is much simpler. The more often and longer you use a product made of cast iron, the easier it is to keep it clean.

Why ? Because you don’t have to perform a full cleaning too often, all you need is simple actions after each cooking to keep the grates in a good shape.

  • Step 1 – First warm up your grill over 10-15 minutes, it will allow the remains of the previous cooking to burn away. Then make sure that the grates are warm ( not hot ! ) and move on to the next step.
  • Step 2 – Clean the grates from the food remains. Use a brush, a wire or nylon one will do, cast iron is durable and requires regular maintenance so you don’t have to worry too much about scratches.
  • Step 3 – Coat the grates with oil. You may spread the oil over the entire surface of the grill grates using a paper towel or a regular cloth.

That’s it, as you can see, regular use of cast-iron grates significantly lowers the amount of chores you have to do to keep it clean.


If you know that you won’t be using your cast-iron grates for a long time, remember to coat the grates with oil. Try to spread the oil over the entire surface, and then hide the grates in a dry place.

Such procedure will protect the grates from corrosion.

How to Clean Rust off Cast Iron Grill Grates

If you see a little rust on your grates don’t panic, it means that the grates need to be cleaned and thoroughly preserved.

No matter if there’s a little or a lot of rust, you have to thoroughly clean it off the grates so that you can then perform the maintenance. A properly performed maintenance prevents rust from appearing in the future.

Of course I do understand that one can forget about the grates out of the season which may result in a large amount of rust on poorly stored cast-iron grates.

If there’s not much of rust, all you have to do is thoroughly clean the grates using one of the method described in this article.