How to Clean a Rusty Grill: Tips and Tricks

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If you’re an avid griller, chances are you’ve encountered a rusty grill more than once. Rust can accumulate over time if you leave your grill outside, exposed to the elements. Not only does a rusty grill look unappealing, but it can also negatively impact the taste of your food. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to clean a rusty grill and get it back to its original state.

What You’ll Need

Before diving into the cleaning process, make sure you have the following materials:

  • Wire brush
  • Steel wool or sandpaper
  • Mild detergent or grill cleaner
  • Gloves
  • Bucket of water
  • Clean cloth or paper towel

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Remove Grates

The first step is to remove the grates from your grill. Place them in a bucket of soapy water and let them soak for a few hours. This will help dislodge any caked-on debris or grease.

Step 2: Brush and Scrub the Grill

Put on your gloves and use a wire brush to scrape off any loose rust. Next, use sandpaper or steel wool to scrub the entire grill surface, removing any remaining rust or debris.

Step 3: Rinse with Water

Using a clean towel or paper towel, wipe down the grill to remove any debris. Next, rinse the grill with a bucket of clean water.

Step 4: Clean the Grates

Take the grates out of the soapy water and scrub them with the wire brush. Rinse them with clean water and dry them completely.

Step 5: Enamel Touch-Up

If your grill has an enamel coating, it may need some touch-up work after the cleaning process. Use a grill enamel touch-up kit to cover any bare spots.

Tips for Preventing Rust

Now that your grill is clean, it’s important to take steps to prevent rust from forming again. Here are a few tips to keep your grill rust-free:

  • Store your grill in a covered area when not in use.
  • Clean your grill regularly to prevent debris and grease buildup.
  • Apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the grates after each use to prevent rust.
  • Invest in a grill cover or tarp to provide additional protection from the elements.


Can I use oven cleaner on my grill?

We do not recommend using oven cleaner on your grill. Oven cleaner is too harsh and can damage the grill’s surface. Stick to mild detergents or grill cleaners specifically designed for this task.

Can I use a pressure washer to clean my grill?

Again, we do not recommend using a pressure washer on your grill. Pressure washers are too powerful and can cause damage to the grill’s surface. Stick to a wire brush, steel wool, or sandpaper for the cleaning process.

What’s the best way to clean a rusty grill?

The best way to clean a rusty grill is to use a combination of a wire brush, steel wool or sandpaper, and a mild detergent or grill cleaner. Follow the step-by-step guide above for a thorough cleaning.


Cleaning a rusty grill may seem like an overwhelming task, but with the right materials and a little elbow grease, you can restore your grill to like-new condition. Remember to always wear gloves and use the appropriate cleaning materials to avoid damaging the surface of your grill. With regular maintenance and prevention methods, you can keep your grill rust-free for many years to come.


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