How to Keep Your Grill from Rusting (5 Effective Tips)
A grill’s lifespan is typically dependent on when it begins rusting. Rust is the leading killer of grills, especially those that are left outside for most of the time. Because these appliances can cost up to $1,000, you usually want them to last for as long as possible before needing to reinvest in a new one.
Follow our simple tips below to keep your grill functional for as long as possible. While no grill will last forever, there is a lot you can do to prevent premature rust from forming and ruining your grill.
With that said, you should always examine your grill for rust before using it. You should not consume meat that has been cooked on a rusty grill, as it can cause health problems over time. Plus, it just isn’t safe or hygienic.
How to Keep Your Grill from Rusting: 5 Tips That Work
1. Don’t Put Liquids on Your Grill
Preferably, you should never pour liquids directly on your grill. This means not cleaning it with water and soap. However, you should also avoid pouring sauces and liquid seasonings onto the meat while it is on the grill. The excess sauce will stick to the grill and cause it to rust. Marinades and BBQ sauce should be applied in your kitchen – not on your grill.
Liquid is the leading cause of rust. By keeping liquid far away from your grill, you’ll avoid your rust problems.
2. Clean it Often
You should keep your grill clean to prevent rust. The grill should be cleaned every time you use it. You should avoid letting grease and cooked-on food to sit on your grill for an extended period, as this can cause rust.
How exactly you clean your grill depends on the type of grill it is.
- Gas Grill: A gas grill should be turned off before you start cleaning it. You should use a high-quality grill brush, which can help you remove any of the particles stuck to the grate. You may want to consider using a bristle-free brush, as the wire bristles commonly used in brushes can fall off and get stuck to your grill. This can be a problem next time you go to cook!
- Charcoal Grills: Charcoal grills should be cleaned while they are still hot. You should use a brush and just a sprinkle of water. You should scrub it with the brush to remove any stuck food and grease. When the grates are clean, let the grill cool down. Then, throw away any leftover ashes and clean the cook box with mild soap and water.
3. Deep Clean Your Grill
You won’t need to deep clean your grill every time you use it. Regular, minor cleanings after every use are great at reducing the amount of deep cleaning you’ll need to do. However, you will still need to deep-clean at some point.
Deep cleaning is pretty easy; it just takes some extra time. First, you’ll need to detach the grates and put them in a cleaning solution. You can purchase some commercial cleaning solutions, but making your own is just as easy. Mix up your own with hot water, dish soap, and baking soda. Soak the grate for no more than an hour, and then get scrubbing with your brush.
When the grate is dry, you can wipe them down with a soft cloth to remove any bristle hairs or lingering crumbs.
While the grate is soaking, you should clean the rest of your grill. Clean the burners with a simple cleaner and a cloth. Do not wash the drip trays, as they tend to cause moisture-buildup and rust. You should clean any holes on your grill, too, including burner holes and inlet holes.
If the outside of your grill is dirty, clean it too. The outside of your grill can rust, which can be just as troublesome as the inside rusting. Even stainless steel is susceptible to rust.
4. Cover It or Move It Indoors
Even if you keep your grill sparkling clean, the outdoor elements can still give it a beating. Moisture, rain, and snow are the biggest culprits of rust. You should find a tightly-fitting vinyl cover to put on your grill in between uses. Even if you don’t recover it after every use, these covers are instrumental in the winter when you aren’t grilling much anyway. These things are very cheap and can prevent lots of rust.
Alternatively, you could move your grill inside when you aren’t using it. In a garage or screened-in porch, the grill is much less likely to come in contact with as much moisture.
5. Use Oil
Everyone knows that water and oil don’t mix. One way to protect your grill from water is to use oil. This will prevent the water from actually coming in contact with the grill, which will prevent rusting. Simply rubbing a thin layer of vegetable oil on your grill can prevent this. Plus, it will keep food from sticking as well.
You shouldn’t use an aerosol can for this job, as it may explode when exposed to heat. Instead, use a towel or basting brush.
Can You Remove Rust?
Preferably, you should take steps to prevent your grill from rusting in the first place. If your grill has already started to rust, there isn’t much you can do. Sadly, even a little bit of surface rust can point to worse problems underneath. When you remove rust, you’re removing part of the grill as well. Rust isn’t something that forms on your grill; it is the grill’s steel turning into rust.
If the grill isn’t rusty, you can use a paste made from lemon juice, powdered detergent, and water to remove it. Lemon juice dissolves rust, so it should come off quickly. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve saved your grill, as there could be structural problems underneath the rust.
In this case, prevention is the best medicine.
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