Cast-iron grates are one of the most popular materials for grilling. They can distribute heat evenly, are super strong and can even retain warmth for a long period of time. In short, there is nothing stronger and better than cast iron for grilling grates.
However, with these great grates come an even greater responsibility. Cast-iron grates are extremely susceptible to water, its natural enemy and one which can cause it to quickly deteriorate and become rusted. If not taken care of properly, they are likely to lose their clean finish and rust super quickly.
1. Burn the food leftovers
Before you get started with the actual cleaning, you need to get rid of all the food particles which are stuck on the grill grates. To do this, ignite your grill to the highest possible temperature. If you are using charcoals as an energy source, make sure to keep all the vents open. Keep it this way until everything unnecessary is completely burned off.
2. Lay the grates out
Detach the grates from the grill and lie them on an even surface for convenience. While they are still warm, use a hard-wire brush, stainless steel for example, and use it to scrape off anything that may have remained. If you find it difficult, use a solution of water and apple cider vinegar (organic) with a ratio of 4:1 and dip the brush in and try again. This will also sanitize the grates and ensure all bacteria is gone.
3. Use the correct soap
Having completed the sanitation process, make a solution of water with mild soap (pH 5.5-7) and gently remove all the excess grease wherever you find it on the grates. Once done, use warm water for rinsing and let the grates dry for some minutes.
4. Coat the grates
Use any kind of oil, olive or vegetable, and dab all the grates with the oil, ensuring every part is covered. Make sure you don't bathe the grill in oil, just apply a thin coating. This will prevent the process of rusting.
5. Use them or store them
The cleaning process is now complete. You can either go ahead and use your grates or store them somewhere. If you happen to choose the latter, make sure the grates are stored in a dry place. You can also oil them up again as it will prevent any kind of moisture from reaching the surface of the grates.
What to use?
You can use two different methods to get rid of the rust.
Use a hard-wired steel brush with soapy water and rub off the rust.
Sink your grates in a solution of white vinegar and water at the ratio of 1:1. This cleaning solution
will take some time to fully clear out your grates so let them remain there for a day or so.
Oiling is essential
Applying oil on your grates does not mean you are doing it just to make them shine. It is very important that whenever you have finished a grilling session, take off the grates and coat them with oil. Oiling
is a tried and tested way to make cookware last longer, no matter how old your product is.
What this basically does is form a protective layer around the surface of the grates and prevent any kind of rust from developing. As long as the coating is not washed away, your grates will be completely safe.
If you are not sure what oil to use, just utilize any kind of cooking oil.
Grates maintenance after use
The best way to maintain your grills is to immediately clean them right after usage. This will not only save your time later but also make the cleaning process much more effective as there won't be any old grease or rust which would need clearing.
In addition, try not to experiment with chemical products. Everything mentioned in our guide is entirely natural and very effective. Therefore, their quality or efficiency does not depend on a certain brand or cost, but rather on the chemical properties that nature has given them.
Keeping your cast iron grill clean and sanitized is the best possible way of ensuring that whatever you cook is healthy and clean. We hope that our guide has helped you in understanding how cast iron gets affected by water and what you can do to keep your grill clean and new.