How To Remove Rust From Cast Iron Grates (5 Step Guide)

Are you trying to find to remove rust from your cast iron grates?

You’re definitely in the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to prevent rust from your grates
  • Supplies you’ll need to remove rust
  • 5 Step Guide To Removing Rust From Cast Iron Gates
  • And much more!

All the ingredients are prepared—the meat skewered, the side dishes prepped, and the desserts baked and ready to go. 

We spend hours and hours of preparation, and everyone is waiting for the main event, the barbecue.

And when it’s time to get up and grillin’, we stop only to find out that our cast iron grates are full of rust. 

Removing rust from our grates can be really annoying, especially when we’re eager to get grilling!

As it happens, we know just the way to solve this dilemma in no time. 

Keep reading to know how we can properly care for our cast iron grates, how to prevent rust from forming, and most importantly, how to remove rust right now!

Read More: Top 5 Best Grill Brushes For Cast Iron Grill Grates

What We Need to Know About Cast Iron Grates

Cast iron grills are known for their durability, and when properly cared for, they can even outlive most of the other sturdy appliances we have.

When used continually, they can become non-stick like our cast iron pans.

They leave beautiful grill marks on our meat, and they can retain high heat.

Unlike stainless steel, cast iron grates are very resilient.

We can brush, scrape, and also use different chemical substances, and it won’t even budge.

However, they require regular cleaning, oiling, and general maintenance so that they can retain their quality.

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.

Read More: Best Flat Top Grills (2022 Review)

How To Prevent Rust From Cast Iron Gates?

It is important that we clean the grates after use. How are we cleaning your cast iron grill grates?

To clean rust off the grates after use:

  • Simply allow the heat left inside the grill to burn off the excess food and sauces that are stuck in the grate

After that, 

Use The Secret Weapon

  • Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil or cooking oil.

If the grill is still hot after cleaning, drop some vegetable oil on a clean cloth and wipe the grill with it—not too heavy, just enough to thinly coat it.

If the grill is already cooled-off after cleaning, turn it on and run it until the temperature reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

It needs to reach high heat for the oil to polymerize into the cast iron.

Applying vegetable oil to the grill is called ‘seasoning’. It is a process where the oil is used to bake the pores of the cast iron, therefore preventing it from rusting.

So, now that we have learned that prevention is better than the cure, let’s get back to our main problem: how to remove the rust from our cast iron grates.

Removing Rust From Cast Iron Grates Facts

Read More: How To Grill Frozen Burgers (3 Quick Steps)

Supplies You’ll Need To Remove Rust From Iron Grates

It’s quite easy to clean the rust forming in our grates. However, it will take some time.

In this process, we will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Soapy Water
  • Steel Brush, Scraper, Steel Wool, or Crumpled Aluminum Foil
  • Oven Cleaner (Optional)
  • Trash Bag (Optional)
  • Vegetable Oil

Now that’s everything prepared, let’s start getting rid of the rust!

Read More: How To Clean A Flat Top Grill (4 Easy Steps)

How to Remove Rust From Cast Iron Grates: (A 5-Step Guide)

1. Wash the grates in warm, soapy water.
2. Soak the grates in a vinegar and baking soda solution.
3. Use an oven cleaner.
4. Put it into an oven to dry.
5. Re-seasoning the grates.

This step-by-step guide on removing rust from cast iron depends on how much rust has formed on the cast iron grates.

If the rust has already formed its way into the cast iron, we can always use an oven cleaner, which we will also discuss later on.

Step 1: Wash the grates in warm, soapy water.

Washing them before soaking them in a solution helps remove excess food and dirt from the grates, therefore making the vinegar/baking soda solution more effective.

Use a steel brush to remove dirt that is stuck in between grates, or we can also use crumpled aluminum foil if we don’t have a steel brush.

Step 2: Soak the grates in a vinegar and baking soda solution.

Prepare the solution by combining a bottle of vinegar and a cup of baking soda and letting the grates soak there for an hour or overnight, depending on the rust formation.

It may even take days if the rust is very bad.

This process allows the solution to penetrate and soften up the rust.

After soaking, the rust should now easily come off when we use a steel brush or steel wool.

Related >> Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel Grill: Which is the Best for Your BBQ?

Step 3: Use an oven cleaner.

When the rust formation on our cast-iron grates is at its worst and none of the processes above worked, we can always opt to use an oven cleaner.

It is a chemical that will provide the deepest clean for our grates.

However, since it’s a chemical, we must use precautionary measures when handling it.

Here’s how to use an oven cleaner effectively:

  • In a well-ventilated area, spray a sufficient amount of oven cleaner on the grates. Make sure that everything is well-coated.
  • Put the grates inside a trash bag, seal them properly.
  • Put them in a container or safe area.
  • Make sure that they are not exposed to high heat.
  • Put it away from children and pets.
  • After a few days (or according to the oven cleaner’s instructions), take it out and rinse with soapy warm water.

Step 4: Put it into an oven to dry.

It is very important not to leave any moisture on the cast-iron grates to prevent the building of rust, so we have to make sure that they are dry before we store them again.

The most effective way of drying them is by putting them inside an oven on low heat.

Step 5: Re-seasoning the grates.

Now that our grates are back to their clean state, reseasoning them again will be the last step.

To do this, we must get our grills working and heated to 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Apply vegetable oil thinly in the grates using a cloth; then put them inside the grill.

After every 20-30 minutes, take them out, re-apply the oil, and continue the steps until the cast-iron grates are black and shiny again.

Read More: Best Wood For Smoking Chicken (2022 Review)

Photo of author

Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I love this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

Leave a Comment