How to Clean Stainless Steel BBQ Grates: Best Practices

Is there a secret to learning how to clean stainless-steel BBQ grates without the elbow grease? A stainless-steel grill withstands intense heat and resists corrosion, but cleaning is not always as easy as the BBQ cleaning service by Brilho Luxury Cleaning & Services makes it look.

Any cooking surface needs thorough cleaning and maintenance to avoid hardening or rotting leftover food particles, and grills are no exception. Grilled food also carbonizes, making it even harder to scrub clean if left for a while.

So, what is the best way to keep a stainless-steel grate clean and in good shape? Below are a few best practices from our professional cleaning service.

What Materials Make It Easier to Clean A Stainless-Steel Grate?

Using the right cleaning solutions and tools is essential if you are trying to avoid damaging the grate while scrubbing or soaking it. Choosing the right materials might also save money and time since there are many affordable products available on the market that work effectively.

Materials Recommended:

  • Scouring pad
  • Stiff nylon scrub brush or stainless-steel BBQ scraper
  • Soft cloth
  • Aluminum foil
  • Dish soap and warm water solution (or grill cleaning spray)
  • White vinegar
  • Paper towel
  • Baking soda

Two Possible Cleaning Process for Stainless-Steel Grills

Before you decide on the materials to use, consider the two main cleaning processes involved. Our professionals recommend either:

  • The Soaking Method, or
  • The Burn-Brush-Rinse Method.

Cleaning Process One: Soaking

The first process is not a mysterious industry secret for how to clean stainless-steel BBQ grates, but it works extremely well. It involves soaking the grate to soften the food particles:

  • Scrape off leftover food that is stuck or burnt onto the grates
  • Place the grate into warm water mixed with 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of dish soap
  • Adjust the water level based on the size of the container but use at least three inches

Our experts recommend waiting overnight, but it depends on how stubborn the stains are that you need to remove. In the morning, scrub the grates in soapy water with the scouring pad and watch the remaining food pieces fall right off.

The last step is to rinse the grates with water to remove any soap residue for clean and shiny grates.

A Vinegar and Baking Soda Alternative

If dish soap does not seem to be working as effectively as you hoped, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda might do the trick.

  • Place the grill grates into a container, pouring 1 cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar over them.
  • Let the grates soak for at least an hour (or overnight if possible).

You will need to wash and scrub the grates as for the dish soap method above, rinsing them thoroughly for that extra shine.

Cleaning Process Two: Burn, Brush, and Rinse

There is another method available if soaking the grates is not removing all the stuck food or carbonized remnants. Our professionals call it the burn-brush-rinse method, and it only has a few extra steps compared to soaking.

  • First, wrap the grates in extra heavy-duty foil and place them back in the grill at over 520 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grill for 15 to 20 minutes at this heat and then take off the foil (be careful while handling the hot surfaces).
  • Scrape the food particles with a BBQ scraper or grill brush to get all the burnt bits off the metal.

Finally, wash the grates with soap and warm water.

Caution: Tools and Solutions for Stainless-Steel Grills

There are a few materials and cleaning aids that may do more harm than good to a stainless-steel grill. Take some time to go through our list below so that you can avoid damaging your grill beyond repair.


Bleach is too harsh for cleaning your stainless-steel grates. Rather soak them in warm water or baking soda as per the methods above.

Wire Brush

Do not use a wire brush inside the grill—the wire will shred and possibly fall into the food. Instead, use a metal scraper to remove food remnants while cooking. A crumpled aluminum foil ball also works well (grab it with the tongs and scrape it over the hot grates).

Steel Wool

Do not use steel wool to scrub the grates, as this will remove the shiny finish and cause food to stick to the scratched surface.

Sodium Hydroxide or Lye

Lye is a toxic chemical found in many oven cleaners and sprays. It also ruins the stainless steel with continued use.

How to Clean Stainless-steel BBQ Grates After Cooking

So, what is the best way to take care of stainless steel grates for easy cleaning? The professional secret is simple: clean the grates right after cooking.

While the grates are hot, the food particles have not yet hardened much, and you won’t have to spend much time scrubbing stains or grease residue. Waiting until after the food hardens will make the stainless steel dull and scratched from a harsher cleaning process.

Why not use a metal scraper to remove the food while the grates are still warm? Just be careful about handling them to avoid burning yourself.

Of course, stubborn or sticky food remnants sometimes require extra care. Try dipping a paper towel or clean cloth into vinegar before wiping the grill grates—the acidity may break down the particles more effectively.

An Alternative Cleaning Method

The final method for shiny stainless-steel BBQ grates involves a high-pressure hose. Simply lean the grill grates against an outside wall and spray off the food or burnt particles. Stainless steel is resistant to this moisture as long as you dry off the grates before storing them.

It is also easier to use this method with stainless steel products since it is unnecessary to season them like cast iron—learn the steps to clean a cast iron grill here.

That’s the big secret for how to clean stainless-steel BBQ grates, but you may also need to know that professionals like Brilho Luxury Cleaning & Services make the process entirely stress-free. Call our experts at 416-923-3300 or email [email protected] to learn more about our service and schedule an appointment with us today. We guarantee exceptional results.