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Leave your old cast iron grill grates in the past with How To Clean Rusty Cast Iron Grill Grates. The surface of your expensive cookware is protected; it doesn’t take to much effort, and the instructions are easy to understand. Stop searching “How To Grind Dirty Cast Iron Grill Grates?” No need for expensive kits containing wire brushes or heavy-duty scrapers. Keep your valuable items like cast iron in mint condition with this simple DIY cleaning tutorial.

How to Clean Rusty Cast Iron Grill Grates
How to clean rusty cast iron grill grates?

For those who love cooking outside and grilling, the cast iron grill grate is a necessary tool to have. However, with time and neglect these can turn into rusty unusable pieces of metal that no longer function as they should.

It’s time to clean your grill grates. If you’re like me, the sight of rusty cast iron grate will make you cringe and want to put off cleaning them for as long as possible.  This is a mistake because if left untreated, this rust can spread and ruin your grill grates altogether. But fear not! Cleaning rust from cast iron isn’t difficult. After reading our tips on how to get rid of rust on cast iron grill grates, we hope you’ll be inspired to tackle this task sooner rather than later…and with less fear! Read on for more information on how to get rid of that pesky rusted metal taste in your food too.

What Is Cast Iron Grill Grates?

Cast Iron Grill Grates are the best grates for your outdoor cooking. Cast Iron resists rusting better than other metals, so they can be used in more harsh environments; like on an outside grill or smoker. They will not burn through like many other metals that are often paired with lower-quality meats like hamburger patties and hotdogs.

Cast Iron Grill Grates are made of one solid piece of metal, without any holes like many steel wire grates. The lack of holes in the material allows your meats to sear properly, locking in the flavors and juices. This is what makes Cast Iron Grill Grates superior to all other grill grates; whether its on an outdoor grill or smoker.

Cast Iron Grill Grates are the most popular grill grates for these reasons:

– Cast Iron can withstand high temperatures and still retain its shape. – They do not rust like other metals, so they can be left outside without worry of ruining them. – Long lasting and highly durable; your grates will last a lifetime with proper care. – Cast Iron Grill Grates are superior at searing your meat, locking in its flavor and juices; this gives your cooking a unique taste where grill marks can’t compare to the quality of cooking done on Cast Iron Grill Grates.

– They improve the cooking environment of whatever you cook on, allowing for more even heat distribution and a better tasting meal.

– Cast Iron Grill Grates are the best grates for anything you want to cook, from burgers or dogs to steak or baked potatoes – they will all taste incredible!

The proper care of your new Cast Iron Grill Grates is important in order to ensure they last a lifetime in your backyard.

Benefits of Cast Iron Grill Grates?

– Why Cast Iron Grill Grates?

Cast iron grill grates are the latest trend in outdoor cooking. These sturdy, rust-proof grates offer a sleek black finish and superior heat retention for a delicious sear on your steak or vegetables. Plus, they’re super easy to clean! Though you may only use it once a year, there is no better tool than cast iron to achieve that tasty grill flavor we all love.

Most things that get put on the grill (except for vegetables and some other foods) get stuck to the grates. Cast iron grill grates allow you to move your food around freely, without fear of losing anything.

Cast iron has many other benefits as well:

– It retains heat very efficiently and evenly

– Easily cooked over a flame or an open fire (natural gas or propane), it makes for a great means of cooking in any instance.  It may also be used with electric coiled elements/ceramic cooktops.  While cast irons don’t conduct heat nearly as fast as other materials such as aluminum or copper, they retain their heat so well that its almost not noticeable.  

– Can be used for cooking just about anything: meats, vegetables, eggs, seafood (especially shellfish), breads and pastries such as pizza or calzones.  Due to the physical properties of cast iron allowing it to retain heat so well, certain dishes can even be put in a preheated oven after searing on the grill.

– While some other cooking surfaces such as stainless steel and copper may react with acidic foods and impart off flavors into them (such as tomatoes or vinegar), cast irons don’t react nearly as much and will not cause any noticeable changes.  There are VERY FEW exceptions where this happens; usually only fish that is high in oil content (like salmon) may have a slightly cast iron-y taste, but it’s really not much.

– Cast Iron is very cheap compared to other materials used to make grills.  You can pick up a set for about the same price as a cheap stainless steel or aluminum grill – or even less!  Grates are also pretty cheap too, costing only around $20-$30 for a good set that will last years.

– Food cooked on cast iron has its own unique flavor thanks to the cast iron itself searing the food and imparting some of its own flavors into the food.  This usually adds to the original flavors of the dish being cooked, especially with meat dishes where fats rendering down may enhance flavor even more.

While there are other materials that work well as a cooking surface, none of them retain heat quite as well as cast iron.  This makes for a very efficient and effective way to cook delicious food.

So whether you’re cooking burgers or steaks, fish or chicken, vegetables or breads, cast iron is an excellent option for cooking on your grill!

How To Clean Rusty Cast Iron Grill Grates?

My home is mostly furnished with second hand or antique items. I do my best to restore these treasures and love the idea of keeping them in their original condition for as long as possible by keeping them clean and rust free.

I started this quest after noticing that my once beautiful rusty cast iron grill grates were starting to look pretty darn ugly. You see, if neglected, they can turn into a nasty looking, rusty mess but more often than not, they just need some TLC and some elbow grease and you will be on your way down memory lane while cooking up your favorite foods on your restored piece of vintage cookware!

How to clean rusty cast iron grill grates? Here are a few tips for cleaning rusted cast iron grill grates:

Rust removal may seem impossible at first, but after some trial and error, you too can make rusty cast iron grill grates look new again.

– Remove the grate from your barbecue grill or smoker. This is typically done by simply lifting it out of the burner area of the unit. Make sure you have a pan underneath to catch any droplets of rust that may fall off while cleaning it.

– Using coarse salt and paper towels, scrub the entire surface of each individual grate until all rust has been removed and only bare metal is visible. You can use more than one paper towel if necessary to get up all of the residue from the salt so as not to scratch the metal below it. Some people prefer wetting their paper towels water or vinegar for this step.

– Rinse the grate in warm water, being careful not to let any drops of water get inside of your grill unit. Allow the grate to dry completely before putting it back on or in your barbecue or smoker.

– If there are stubborn rust spots that won’t come off by using salt and paper towels, try aspirin tablets . Crush 8-10 aspirin tablets into a fine powder and add them to ½ cup of warm water in a small bowl or container large enough for you to be able to submerge each individual grate into it with ease. Soak the rusty grates overnight then scrub away the rust with salt and paper towels as indicated above (Step 2).

If you don’t have any old aspirin sitting around, you can also use a powdered lemonade mix such as Kool-Aid. Aspirin and other similar products contain acids that help to break down rust. While effective, some people prefer not to use such harsh chemicals around food as they may leach into it and be ingested.

– Finally, oil the grate with vegetable or olive oil on paper towels and place them back onto your grill unit. This will help prevent future rust buildup and protect your grates’ seasoned finish so they look new again for years to come!

I learned all of this from trial and error by finding out what worked best through my own experiments. I hope this information helps you do the same! Be patient; I’m sure you’ll find an amazing solution that works for you!

How to clean rusty cast iron grill grates? One last note: If your cast iron grates are completely rusted out by now, perhaps it’s time to consider buying replacement ones.

How To Prevent Rust From Cast Iron Grill Grates?

Prevention is the best way to keep your grill grates from rusting. After each use, clean and dry your cast iron grates. Place them in the oven or back of a hot grill until they heat up, wiping dry with paper towel if necessary to remove any debris stuck on the surface. When the grate has heated enough that it starts to smoke and is just short of glowing red, take it out and spray it liberally with cooking oil (flax seed oil works great) using an aerosol can or brush. Let both sides get misted/painted evenly then carefully place them back on the grill or in oven for one hour at 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 Celsius). At the end of this time, take them out and wipe dry with a paper towel. Your cast iron grill grates are now ready for storage without rusting. Remove them from the oven or grill and let cool then immediately spray with cooking oil, set aside until you’re ready to use them again.

There is one drawback to this method of preventing rust from cast iron grill grates. It makes it more difficult to clean your grate when you’re done cooking because most of the debris will have been removed when setting up for preventive care so they’ll need a longer soak in warm water before using a brush on them. I prefer a better solution which will be discussed next but if prevention is your aim here’s what works best…

Crisco shortening does not prevent rust from cast iron grill grates. It certainly prevents rust from occurring on your grate but doesn’t prevent it from already existing…not even close. The degree of prevention is pretty much non-existent and shortening has a terrible flavor when heated like most cooking oils (a bit better than the aforementioned flax seed oil which does not stand up to high temperatures well at all).

Oil, seasonings and debris will slowly wear down your cast iron grates over time, leaving them with an uneven surface that can cause sticking or worse yet, ruin the grate entirely by breaking off chunks if you try to remove stuck food. Some will argue that seasoning the grate develops a patina similar to what’s found on carbon steel knives which stops this degradation from happening as quickly. I feel the same way about carbon steel knives as I do cast iron grates…it can be done but why bother?

How to clean rusty cast iron grill grates? The best solution for preventing rust from cast iron grill grates is to use an oven/grill cleaner such as Dawn Power Dissolver or Bon Ami. You can find both at most grocery stores and they’re worth their weight in gold when it comes time to clean up. Simply spray on, wait a few minutes then scrape off with a brass wire brush that you don’t care about using only on the grate, let dry then place in oven or back of hot grill until smoking hot, take out and wipe down with paper towel. They will smoke when removing them so have your vent hood turned on before opening the oven door or you might find yourself in the emergency room with a nasty burn. To see pictures of this process, read my article on cast iron grill grates at

I was skeptical when I first heard that Dawn Power Dissolver works great for preventing rust from cast iron grill grates because it’s not made specifically for this purpose like Bon Ami, plus there were no pictures of the process to go by only descriptions…it looked too good to be true but I decided to try it anyway and gave it a shot after seasoning my brand new grate before using it for the first time. It worked great without any of the drawbacks mentioned above so I’ve used the method ever since.

Is It Safe To Grill On A Rusty Cast Iron Grill Grates?

We want to grill some burgers on the BBQ for Saturday night. The grill grate is rusted and we are concerned that this may be bad for our health if it disturbs the food while cooking. Is it safe to use this grill? How to clean rusty cast iron grill grates?

Answer: There are three things that can happen when you cook with a rusty grate; the rust will not burn off, the rust will burn off but leave behind carcinogens that get into your food or the rust burns off completely leaving behind iron in its place.

#1. Rust doesn’t burn of  – This happens when there is no heat on the grill at all. If you don’t have enough heat than nothing will burn up so including any contaminants on or in your grates. Even on new grates you want to make sure that the fire is hot enough to burn anything off.

#2. The Rust Burns Off but Leaves Behind Carcinogens  – When high heat is used than usually most contaminants can be burned away. One contaminant of note is lead, which often gets into food when pans are preheated with high heat on new, unlined cast iron cookware. Like most contaminants even this one is normally destroyed by the high temps so it doesn’t need to concern you too much unless it happens over and over again. This only becomes a real issue if the same grate is heavily contaminated for years.

#3. Rust burns completely off leaving behind just iron – We don’t know what cancer causing compounds are created when grates are heavily rusted or if they can even be burned off by very high heat. We do know that the iron will leach into your food. Ferric iron can be carcinogenic and it is found in higher rates in those who have consumed well water. This compound has been known to cause cancer and at one time was thought to be a major factor involved in colon cancer, but we now think this only happens when consuming large quantities of ferrous sulfide over a long period of time (1). The other types of iron that may be found after rusting such as non-ferrous forms will not likely pose such a problem as the body needs small amounts of it for healthy development.

Besides these three possibilities the rust itself may just taste bad. I have heard stories about how it tastes metallic in some situations but this has never happened to me, so to be on the safe side I’d recommend that you opt for a new grate.

Why does cast iron grill grates rust?

There are several reasons why cast iron grill grates rust. The first reason is that you are coating the cast iron with oil to keep it from rusting. If you were to look up “seasoning” on wikipedia, this is what it would say about seasoning cast iron:

Seasoning is the process of treating the surface of a cooking vessel with a stick-resistant coating formed from polymerized fat and oil . It is also known as “fondant enamel ” or simply fondant, though these terms have fallen out of favor due to their ambiguity. Seasoning is typically achieved by rubbing fat or oil into the porous surface using a paper towel or cloth until an even, matte finish appears. This treatment coats the pores of carbon steel and cast iron cookware with a blend of polymerized fat or oil, which helps prevent food from sticking during cooking.

The second reason why cast iron grill grates rust is that over time the seasoning will wear away . If you do not properly clean your cast iron after each use, seasoning can rub off leaving the metal exposed to moisture and air. This exposure causes condensation inside the pores of the metal (where it will rust) and results in pitting and flaking of the metal’s surface. Eventually, enough coating may flake off so that holes form through which heat escapes, causing hotspots on your food.

Here is a good way to avoid this problem: every time you use your grill, brush it clean while it is still warm. Once it has cooled down, apply a light film of vegetable oil or shortening to prevent rust from forming. For cast iron grill grates that have been completely stripped of seasoning, you will need to start the process over again by coating the grate thoroughly with cooking oil and heating for about an hour in a 350F oven. After this initial baking period, you should turn your oven off and let the grate cool inside before removing it for use on your grill.

>> How to clean rusty cast iron grill grates – See more: Cast Iron Steak Recipe


Cast iron grill grates are a great way to add flavor and texture to any meal. But if you don’t take care of them, they can quickly become rusty. How to clean rusty cast iron grill grates? How do you clean your cast iron grates? We’ll show you the easy steps for cleaning rust from cast-iron grill grates so that they last as long as possible! 

Cleaning your grill grates is a fairly simple job that most people don’t know how to do. After all, it is one of those tasks that you just wait until the next time you need them for cooking before doing anything about them. The problem with this approach, though, is that when there are bits of food stuck in the grooves and crevices between the bars, they start to rust. This can lead to bigger problems down the road if left unchecked because not only will it make cleaning more difficult but eventually these rusty pieces will break off into smaller chunks which could end up getting stuck inside whatever meat or vegetable you put on top.

See more:

How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Grates? Grill Cleaning Tips