It's pretty self-explanatory that the grill grate is a grated cooking surface that you put over the heat source of your grill. It's also where you place the food to be grilled and is the only part of the grill that actually touches your food.
All that could leave you with food particles and grease stains that have been hardened and charred to stick to your grated grill, where it will only get worse over time as more dirt and debris pile over it. Aside from that, it might also compromise the way your food ends up tasting, if not contaminating it with any fallout.
Here are a few things that you can do to clean your grill grates without the hassle that usually comes with it.
Before Cleaning Your Grill Grates
As eager as you are to begin thoroughly cleaning your grill grates, you have to determine what material your grill grates are made of first to know how to proceed. The material that your grill grates are made of may come with their own unique characteristics that will determine what you can and can't use during cleaning to avoid damaging them.
These grates are typically resistant to rusting as long as it has an intact finish. You can use a nylon grill brush or anything else with soft bristles to clean these grill grates, as opposed to anything rougher like wire brushes that may leave some scratches behind.
Cast Iron Grill Grates
Though not rust resistant, you can clean cast iron grill grates with rougher brushes like a stiff wire brush. But to avoid leaving any damages on the surface, you can apply some vegetable oil or canola oil after cleaning.
Stainless Steel Grill Grates
As these are the most durable among the three, stainless steel grates don't have any special requirements when it comes to thorough cleaning, but they aren't immune to rusting. To prevent rust as much as possible, it's important to let these grill grates completely dry before and after cleaning.
How to Clean Grill Grates with Baking Soda and Vinegar
It's no surprise that this popular household cleaning combo has made it onto this list as a way to clean your grill grates. A baking soda and white vinegar solution is an incredibly versatile cleaning solution that is widely used in many different household cleaning chores.
This method is great for those of you who aren't in a rush and have the time to wait it out. All you need for this method is a trash bag, two cups of white vinegar and one cup of baking soda.
Step 1: Grab Your Garbage Bag
After making sure that your grill grates are completely cool, put it in a large garbage bag and pour in your baking soda and vinegar, making sure that your grates are completely soaked. Once both ingredients have been added in, close the bag and let it sit for at least 8 hours, but you can also leave the grates overnight.
Step 2: Start Scrubbing
After the allotted hours have passed, take your grill grates out of the bag and rinse off the solution. Now, it's time to scrub to get any of the remaining grime off, but make sure to only use tools that are appropriate for the material of your grill grates.
And that's really it! While not as satisfying as being able to wipe the gunk off immediately, the baking soda and vinegar combination really softens up the gunk and makes it incredibly easy to wipe everything off.
How to Clean Grill Grates with Hot Soapy Water
This method is a two-for-one cleaning method to get grill grates clean because it cleans the grates with the soap but can also sanitize them with heat.
The ingredients needed are fairly straightforward as you'll only be needing some dish soap and hot water.
Step 1: Prepare Grill Grates
After you've let the grates cool completely, begin to gently scrub away any loosened bits that you can get off. Make sure to only use the tools that are suitable for the material of your grill grates and to not use too much force to avoid damage.
Step 2: Soak Grill Grates
After all the loosened pieces have been removed and scrubbed off, prepare enough hot soapy water to submerge your grill grates fully and leave it for an hour before rinsing everything off.
Step 3: Heat and Scrub Grill Grates
Once you've rinsed off the soapy water, put your grill grates back on your grill and close the lid before warming it up. When your grill grates are warm enough, remove it from the grill and scrub away the softened residue with the appropriate cleaning brush for your grill grates.
How to Clean Grill Grates with Aluminum Foil
While a very unconventional kitchen item to use for cleaning, aluminum foil is actually a great way to remove any leftover food stuck onto your grill grates. And as almost everyone can find some aluminum foil in their kitchen, it's also a very easy and accessible method to use.
It's pretty simple to do. After letting your grill grates completely cool down, just crumple up a ball of good quality aluminum foil and use it to scrape away the burnt food off your grill grates.
And that's all there is to it! This method is great as the malleability of the aluminum foil lets you really get into the tiniest nooks and crannies of your grill grate to really knock away the burnt food, and all without a grill brush.