How to Clean a Rusty BBQ Grill

How to Clean a Rusty BBQ Grill

As most BBQs are stored outside it hopefully won’t be surprising to know that a BBQ grill is one of the most common cooking devices that is prone to rust.

Rust forms on a BBQ grill due to food spills and moisture. While rusting is a naturally occurring phenomenon in metal, you shouldn’t leave the rust on your BBQ grill untreated for a long time.

Rust on a BBQ grill not only looks bad, but it can also ruin the taste of your food and more importantly may pose serious harm to your health.

However, the great news is that cleaning rust off your BBQ grills can be a challenge but it’s never impossible.

How to Stop Your BBQ Grill Rusting

Before we show you some of the great ways to clean a rusty BBQ grill, let us tell you how to stop your BBQ grill rusting with some preventative measures.

Clean After Each Use

The easiest way to stop your BBQ grill from rusting is to clean them after every use.

We know it’s a bit of a chore as let’s face it after you’ve had a BBQ and no doubt some beer or wine, the last thing you want to do is to start cleaning, but it really will help in the long run.

The longer you leave fat and burnt food on the BBQ grates, then the harder it will be to clean them off and so it’s well worth spending a little time cleaning as soon as possible.

Cleaning the grate is fairly straightforward by using some warm soapy water. If you have some stubborn bits that simply won’t come off you can use a good quality BBQ Brush but be wary of stainless steel as the brush can damage the coating.

Don’t forget if you need to know how to clean your BBQ properly take a look at our article.

Use a BBQ Cover

Unless you plan to put your BBQ away after each use, we suggest you buy yourself a really good quality cover. Covering your BBQ is the first step you should take to prevent rust.

Not only will a BBQ cover prevent the grates from rusting but will also keep your whole BBQ looking like new!

You can find some great quality BBQ covers in our shop.

How to Clean a Rusty BBQ Grill Step-by-Step Guide

No matter how well you clean and look after your BBQ grates, there are going to be occasions when they may end up getting rusty which is why we compiled this “How to Clean a Rusty BBQ Grill Step-by-Step Guide”

There are a number of cleaning substances or agents that you can use to remove rust including commercial cleaners and more traditional methods. These cleaning agents also require specific methods to work effectively.

Here are the most effective rust cleaning agents you can use to get rid of the rust on your BBQ grill. We’ve also put together a step-by-step guide for each of these cleaning agents so you can use them accordingly.

1) How to Use Baking Soda and Vinegar to Remove Rust

Baking soda is an effective and accessible non-toxic cleaning agent that you can use to remove rust from your BBQ grill. When baking soda comes in contact with rust, the rust breaks down making it easier to remove.

Step 1. Make your baking soda and vinegar cleaning mixture

You’ll need to mix baking soda and vinegar to form your cleaning agent. There is no perfect recipe for mixing these two ingredients but you do need to make sure that your baking soda has more quantity than the vinegar so you can form a paste.

Step 2. Cover your grill with your baking soda and vinegar paste

Using a sponge, apply your cleaning paste all over your grill. Make sure to cover all the rusty spots on your grill.

Step 3. Let the cleaning paste sit on your grill for 20 to 30 minutes

The key to using baking soda and vinegar for cleaning rust is letting it sit on the rusty metal for some minutes. This will give the cleaning paste enough time to dissolve all the rust.

Step 4. Scrub your grill clean

Using a sponge and warm water, scrub off the rust on your grill. The rust should be easily removed at this point. If there are remaining rusts on your grill, you may repeat steps 2 to 4.

2) How to Use Vegetable Oil to Remove Rust

Vegetable oil is another non-toxic cleaning ingredient that you can use to remove stubborn rust on your grill. The fat in the vegetable oil can help protect your grill from any rust-causing elements. Additionally, vegetable oil helps polish and treat the grill surface giving your BBQ grill a renewed look.

Step 1. Heat your BBQ grill

Heating your BBQ grill before cleaning it with vegetable oil can help break down rust and other grill residues. Allow your BBQ grill to heat up for about 20 to 3o minutes.

Step 2. Let your grill cool down

You should always protect yourself from burning. Never attempt to clean a hot BBQ grill. Let it cool for around 10 minutes or more so that it is cool enough for you to hold safely and firmly.

Step 3. Scrub the BBQ grill

Using a wire brush, scrub your BBQ grill thoroughly to remove the rust buildup. Do this until there is no rust visible.

Step 4. Apply vegetable oil to your BBQ grill

Depending on your grill’s size, apply three to five teaspoons of vegetable oil. You may apply more than this amount if your grill has a large surface area. Make sure that the vegetable oil covers the entire surface of the BBQ grill. Let the oil sit for a few minutes to remove any remaining rust or residue.

Step 5. Wipe off the oil

Wipe off the oil on your BBQ grill with a rag or paper towel. The rust should be wiped off together with the oil.

Step 6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 until you remove all remaining rust

You may need to repeat steps 3 to 5 for four times and more depending on how serious the rust formation is. Don’t worry because vegetable oil is safe for your BBQ grill and will not cause damage to it even if you reapply the oil many times.

Step 7. Apply additional oil to protect your BBQ grill from future rust buildup

Applying oil to your BBQ grill surface can provide a layer of protection from future rust. Apply just a few drops on your grill and let it dry.

3) How to Use Sandpaper to Remove Rust

Sandpaper is known for smoothening out surfaces but did you know that it can also remove rust? Sandpaper is an abrasive material than can scrape away rust and make the metal in your BBQ grill look shiny again.

Step 1. Choose the sandpaper with the appropriate grit

You should choose sandpaper with grit that can remove rust but will not leave scratches on your BBQ grill. If your grill is made with heavy-duty metal material, you can opt for 40-grit sandpaper or lesser grit. These have coarse abrasives and are quick to remove rust.

On the other hand, if your grill is made of soft metal, we suggest using sandpaper with finer grit like 120-grit or more. Fine grits may not be able to remove rust as fast as low grit sandpapers, but they will not leave scratches on your grill.

Step 2. Scrub the grill with the sandpaper

Insert your sandpaper between the gaps of the BBQ grill and wrap it around each crosspiece or rung. Scrub thoroughly in an up-and-down motion until the rust comes off. This process can take a while depending on how strong and abrasive your sandpaper is.

Step 3. Rinse off the rust

Make sure to wash and rinse off all the scraped rust in your BBQ grill with dishwashing soap and water.

4) How to use Commercial Rust Remover

This is probably the easiest solution to removing rust but to be honest most people prefer an option that doesn’t involve using non-natural chemicals.

You must also check that the rust remover is non-toxic and can be used safely on your BBQ grill.

Commercial rust removers are designed to remove rust in many kinds of metals effectively. However, they are not guaranteed safe and may contain toxic materials. If you can, we suggest opting for non-toxic cleaning agents instead.

If you are looking to use a commercial rust remover then you might like to try something like Evapo Rust which is non-toxic and when used as per the instructions can be used on a BBQ.