Grill Brush Advice

How to Clean BBQ Grill Grates Rust: Four Practical Ways

How to Clean BBQ Grill Grates Rust: Four Practical WaysLet’s face it, we all love a beautifully grilled steak, fish fillet, or skewer, but when it comes to keeping our grill clean, no one wants to do it. If you’ve ever used a grill, you’d know that it’s not uncommon to only use it during key times during the year, which allows the grates to build up rust over time.

Allowing rust to build can keep your grates from working and even cause food to taste like minerals. To avoid this, we’ve cooked up a few different methods to help keep your grill grates rust-free.

We’ll show you some simple, practical, and effective techniques on how to clean BBQ grill grates rust.

Ways to Clean BBQ Grill Grate Rust

1. Grill Scrubbers

Grill scrubbers are one of the most effective methods for removing a considerable amount of rust from your grates. They have a rough texture and are often useful in scrubbing off large particles of visible rust.

Most grates only have rust that goes surface deep, which means you’ll be able to soak the grill in winter and then use a grill scrubber to clean off the rusty surface. This method is quite easy but does require the use of other materials.

Materials Needed:

  • Abrasive grill scrubber
  • Warm water
  • Bucket
  • Mild detergent
  • Drying towel

What You Need to Do:

Mix a few drops of mild detergent into a bowl or bucket of warm water, taking care to mix well. Always use a mild detergent and never use one mixed with bleach. This could ultimately damage your grill and cause discoloration.

Next, take the grill and place the grates into the substance, allowing it to soak for a few minutes. You’ll need a bucket big enough to fit the grates. We recommend going down to your local department store and picking up some plastic storage bins.

Take your abrasive scrubber and begin to scrub off the excess rust. If your grates have been soaking for a while, you’ll notice that it’s easier to get off the excess rust.

After scrubbing the grates down, rinse thoroughly with warm water and then allow the grates to dry before placing them back onto the grill.

2. Vinegar and Baking Soda Mixture

One of the best ways to do spot cleaning and to remove rust is using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. This method is the most natural and eco-friendliest. When vinegar and baking soda are mixed, they reach a pH level that is acidic enough to remove stubborn rust from the grates, ultimately cleaning your grill.

Materials Needed:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Towel
  • Sponge
  • Grill scrub

What You Need to Do:

Take one cup of baking soda and slowly mix vinegar into a bowl until it forms a paste.
Take this paste and using a sponge, apply the mixture directly onto the grill and any problem areas.
Allow the mixture to sit for up to 30 minutes before scrubbing it with a grill brush.
Rinse and remove any remaining mixture with warm water.
Repeat if necessary.

3. Lemon Juice and Detergent

Another method is by simply mixing lemon juice with detergent to remove rust. The lemon creates a more acidic profile and can help loosen up any rust on the outside of the grate. On the other hand, the detergent is good for removing debris, food particles, and grease which may contribute to the rust.

Materials Needed:

  • A lemon
  • Mild detergent
  • Bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Grill scrub
  • Warm water

What You Need to Do:

  1. Take one lemon and squeeze its juice into a bowel.
  2. Mix in a few drops of detergent until it creates a thick texture.
  3. Take the mixture and apply it to your grills until it’s completely covering any problem areas.
  4. Use the plastic wrap and put it over the grill so that the mixture doesn’t evaporate.
  5. Let the mixture sit on the grill for at least 24 hours, checking on it to see if more of the mixture needs to be applied.
  6. Remove the plastic and then use a grill scrubber to remove the rest of the rust.
  7. Rinse with water and your grill should look spotless.

4. Coca-Cola

The last method is using Coke to remove any remaining rust that may be lingering on the surface of your grill. Luckily, Coke is an excellent alternative for those who want to stay on a budget, as it doesn’t cost much to buy a whole two-liter soda. However, one must keep in mind that coke contains sugar, which will attract bugs and animals, so make sure to have a designated area that’s safe for the grills to sit.

Materials Needed:

  • Coke
  • Tub or bucket
  • Grill scrub
  • Warm water

What You Need to Do:

  1. Take a tub or bucket that is big enough to fit the grates of the grill and pour a few liters of soda into it.
  2. Place the grates into the tub and allow it to sit for up to 12 hours.
  3. Scrub the remaining rust by using a grill scrub, scouring pad, or brush.
  4. Rinse the grates with warm water and make sure that all of the sticky residues are removed.
  5. If necessary, repeat the process until it’s to your liking.


As you can see, it’s easier than you think when it comes to removing rust from your grill. Many people put off cleaning and maintaining their grill until the day they need it, but it’s always better to do the routine cleaning before a problem occurs. We hope this article has helped you learn how to clean BBQ grill grates rust.


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