Grilling is one of our favorite things to do, especially in summer! This is a great occasion to enjoy both delicious grilled food and good company should you invite your friends, for example.
However, those who use their grills frequently, often face the same issue: rusted grill bottom. Of course, everyone would like to know how to fix the rusted grill bottom or grates and how to protect the grill from rust.
In this article, you will learn how to keep a grill from rusting out. Also, we will tell you what you can do in order to keep this cooking appliance rust-free longer.
Finally, we will explain how you can remove rust from your grill should it appear.
With all these tips and recommendations in mind, you will be able to easily keep your grill safe and sound and it will serve you much longer!
How to Prevent Grill From Rusting?
If you have recently bought your grill and it currently shows no signs of rust, you can relax, but still, it is important that you are aware of the simplest preventive measures that will help you keep the grill in the same rust-free state longer!
So even if your grill is currently rust-free, the following tips and life hacks will be able to keep the rust away from your cooking appliance.
Below, you can find a list of things to do and avoid in order to get the longest life out of your grill.
Don’t Leave the Grill Grates Wet
Every grill owner will tell you that it is hard to grill or smoke a great meal without getting the grill grates wet!
We are always using some sort of marinade, glaze, or sauce when we are cooking, aren’t we? Especially if it is meat that is being grilled.
But even without those sauces and marinades, even the juices from your meat will get the grill grates wet while they are cooking!
So how is it possible to not leave the grill grates wet, you may wonder? The trick is not to leave them wet when you are done cooking.
When you take the meat or whatever you cook off the grill grates, turn the burners up or open the vents all the way open. This will let the temperature rise as high as it can get for a good 10 minutes.
Why would you do that? You should wait until you see that the grates of your grill begin to dry out and turn ashy.
At this point, you can turn off the heat and scrape the grates with a good quality bristle-free brush. Then close the lid, let the grill cool down, and put the cover back on.
Act Fast Should You Notice Any Signs Of Rust!
Rust is a tricky thing that can bite through the metal easily if you don’t notice it in time.
So if you notice the smallest signs of rust, there is no time to waste. Otherwise, if you miss the moment, you might end up with the rusty grill that has to be thrown away.
If you notice any signs of rusting on your grill, you should remove the rust immediately once the grill is cool enough.
The longer you wait, the bigger the problem will be. Rust spreads a lot faster than you might think.
Oil It Up
If you want your grill to run like a well-oiled machine, guess what you need to do? That’s right, you need to oil it! Professionals always suggest that you should rub vegetable oil on your grill grates after you do the cleaning.
This is actually what you do when you first season a new grill or smoker.
Why vegetable oil, some of you may wonder? First of all, because it is completely food-safe! Also, vegetable oil is environmentally friendly, it doesn’t cost a fortune, and it does its job really well.
Vegetable oil will create a protective layer on your grill grates that will be able to keep the rust away.
And at the same time, your cooking appliance will remain a safe place to cook food.
To apply vegetable oil to the grates of your grill, do the following:
- Grab a rag
- Get some vegetable oil ready
- Apply it with an even, thin layer.
You could also use a gentle brush to work the oil into your grate. And remember that the layer of oil should be thin! There is no need to pour half a bottle onto the grates! They don’t have to be dripping oily.
Also, here is a note for you to keep in mind: do not use aerosol vegetable oil. Veggie oil that you spray from a can has an explosive and flammable mixture inside. Those can easily lead to disaster should the oil get to the hot grill!
Make Sure You Store It Covered
No matter what you do to prevent rust, it will mean nothing if you don’t properly cover and store the grill.
You need to remember one simple rule of thumb: any moisture from the environment around will cause damage to your grill and cause rust! This includes rain, snow, or even a humid day.
We know what some of you might say now: hey, there are a lot of grills out there that have a lid and that lid might be enough for protecting the appliance!
However, that’s not what we are talking about here. What we mean is that you should get a high-quality vinyl or nylon cover and make sure that it fits tightly around your grill.
If the cover you get has a cloth lining for extra strength and durability, consider you have bonus points and your grill is protected even more thoroughly.
As an additional protective measure, bring your grill into a garage or storage shed in between uses.
Of course, this can only be possible if you have a garage or a shed. You can try to store it under a deck or awning as well. Like this, you will be able to keep the grill out of direct rain and snow.
The longer you keep your grill away from the weather, the longer it will last.
Drain the Drip Tray
We all know very well that each grill has a drip tray that is used for catching greasy meat drippings underneath. But not all of us remember that this drip tray is something that should be checked regularly before and after every cook.
- When it gets way too filled with water, drain it.
- When it is overfilled with grease, drain it.
- When there is too much debris there, clean it as well.
And each time it rains, you should double-check your drip tray especially attentively! If this fills with water and sits, it will quickly start rusting your grill.
Don’t Forget to Clean It
A sure way to keep the rust away from your grill is to do routine cleanings regularly. In an ideal world, your grill should get a minor cleaning after every single use.
For cleaning, we recommend you use a gentle grill brush. It will allow you to get rid of the particles that might be stuck on your grates easily.
However, be warned – if you use a firm metal brush, it can actually scratch the grates! It may lead to faster rusting of your grill!
If you are using a charcoal grill or smoker, clean the grill grates while the coals are still hot. The best cleaning solution is very simple: just add a little bit of water to create steam, and work on the grates with your brush.
Also, remember that every 15 uses or so, your grill should undergo a deep cleaning procedure.
For this purpose, you might want to combine the following tools and products:
- A cup of dish soap
- A quarter cup of baking soda
- A cup of hot water
Take the grates off the grill and soak them in this mixture for about an hour. Afterward, use the brush to scrub the grates and wipe them down with a cloth to finish the cleaning.
Swap Out the Grates
In the majority of cases, the grates of your grill are going to start to rust before any other part of the grill. And if the rust on them gets out of hand, it can spread to other parts of the grill pretty fast.
Should this happen, you might find that it is more difficult to replace.
This is why sometimes the best solution is just to buy some new grates, especially if those you have now don’t look any better after you clean them.
Moreover, if they start to corrode and deteriorate, discarding them is the only option you have.
Before buying new grates, make sure to measure twice and buy one before you purchase new grates to make sure they will perfectly fit your grill! The best options in the industry are porcelain-coated cast-iron grates or stainless steel grates.
The Right Products to Prevent Rust
To help your grill avoid rust, it is important that you use the right products and tools for cleaning. Harsh and metal brushes, for example, can leave deep scratches on the surface of the appliance thus leading to the faster development of rust.
This is why, in order to keep your grill rust-free, make sure you have all the necessary things ready:
- Food grade grill rust remover
- Soft grill brush
- Vinegar, salt, rags, and water to remove rust
- Vegetable oil and a rag
- A good nylon or vinyl cover (preferably with a cloth lining)
- Dish soap, baking soda, and hot water
Safety Tips For Using Chemical Grill Cleaners
Since we often want to get things done quickly, especially if it’s cleaning, we prefer buying chemical cleaners. But if we are talking about the cleaning products for the grill grates, it is important to be alert!
Always read the labels very carefully to make sure that any product you are going to buy can be used on grills!
Some chemicals tend to leave invisible residues that are not stable when heated, and should also never be in contact with food surfaces.
If you apply such a product to your grates and then cook on them, the food will be dangerous to eat!
How to Get Rid Of Rust On Your Grill?
Now that you know how to prevent rust on your grill, it will be useful to learn how to get rid of the rust as well.
This will be especially useful for those grill owners who currently have rust already. If you use a safe rust-removing chemical, then it’s fine.
But if you don’t have one, then you can make a homemade solution of salt and vinegar:
- Create a mixture of 1 cup of table salt and 2 cups of white vinegar
- Put the grates from your grill in a large tray or trash bag
- Dump the mixture in the container and move it around to coat the grates
- Lay it flat on the ground and leave it overnight
- In the morning, take the grates out of the container
- Use some old rags to wipe off the excess rust that didn’t fall off
For heavy-duty rust removal, you can make a paste out of the same ingredients, vinegar, and baking soda. Rub the paste on the spots that are rusty and let it sit for half an hour before rinsing it with warm water.
Now you know what steps should be taken in order to prevent your grill grates from rusting and also, you have learned how to get rid of the rust that is already there.
Including all the tips and life hacks that we shared with you on this subject, keeping your grill shiny clean, and rust-free will be very easy for you now.
Frequently Asked Questions
⭐How often shall I clean my grill?
It’s best if you do it after each use. And also one deep cleaning after each 15-20 uses.
⭐Can I clean my grill with only water?
No, it’s hardly possible. Water (even hot) will not remove all the grease. You will need a detergent anyway.
⭐Can I clean my grill if it’s a bit warm?
It is recommended to wait until it’s fully cooled down. If you use chemical cleaners, they may react with the hot or warm surface.