How to Clean Grill Grates with Vinegar Easily?

  • By: Brendan

Cleaning your grill grates is a task that must be done regularly, or more specifically every time you use your grill.

I usually use professional grill cleaners to clean my grill grates, but the costs of commercial cleaners can add up quickly, therefore have recently been checking out natural grill grate cleaning options.

Most grill grate cleaning recipes call for vinegar as their primary ingredient, which begs the big question—why is vinegar a great cleaning agent, and how to clean grill grates with vinegar easily.

How to Clean Grill Grates with Vinegar

Why is Vinegar Good for Cleaning Grill Grates?

Vinegar isn’t just a great choice for cooking, but serves as an excellent cleaning agent and disinfectant.

Vinegar is the not the best tasting ingredient in your pantry—think about the taste of wine that’s turned. It is made by converting sugar into alcohol by a process known as fermentation.

After the sealed bottle is opened, another process of fermentation takes place, only this time the alcohol is turned into acetic acid—the main compound in vinegar.

Acetic acid makes vinegar acidic, and is often times more acidic that coffee or orange juice.

The biggest reason why vinegar makes a potent cleaner, especially white vinegar is because it is acidic.

It is regarded as a multi-faceted cleaner, in that it can tackle icky buildups, grease on your grill grates to glue left behind by stickers.

Vinegar can also help get rid of cat and dog urine stains from carpets and rugs, but is too concentrated to be used on fabrics.

How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Grates with Vinegar After Cooking in Easy Steps?

  1. To clean cast iron grill grates, you will need a 50/50 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar, and a large tub or sink.
  2. After you’ve made the water and vinegar mixture in your tub or kitchen sink, soak the grates for at least an hour.
  3. Next, now gently scrub the grates using a kitchen scrubber or wire pad to remove any debris and rust.
  4. Lastly, wash the grates again with soapy water to remove the vinegar, and air dry the grates before loading them back on the grill.

How to Porcelain Iron Grill Grates with Vinegar After Cooking in Easy Steps?

Porcelain grill grates are rust resistant and retain heat well, but it’s still important to clean and care for them properly.

  1. To clean grill porcelain grates, make a mixture of two cups of vinegar and 1 cup baking soda.
  2. Add this mixture along with the grates in a garbage bag, seal tight, and let the grates sit in the bag overnight.
  3. Remove the grates, and rinse them off with water, and scrub any food that’s left over on the grates. Rinse with cool water and pat dry.

How to Clean Grill Grates with Vinegar & Baking Soda in Easy Steps?

To clean grill grates with vinegar and baking soda, you can follow the steps mentioned above, which to sum up briefly is combining two cups vinegar and one cup baking soda in a garbage bag, soaking the grates in the mixture overnight, and rinsing them thoroughly with cool water the next day.

How to Clean Rusted Grill Grates with Vinegar in Easy Steps?

  1. Before you use vinegar to clean rust from grill grates, it’s recommended that you use a wire brush to scrape the extra rust off first. Doing this will make it easier to get rid of all the rust efficiently.
  2. To clean the rust with vinegar, combine two parts vinegar with one part salt in a spray bottle, cover the grates, and store in a plastic bag overnight.
  3. After the grill grates have soaked overnight, use an old, clean cloth to wipe them down to remove all the rust residue.

They say “prevention is better than cure”, therefore it’s better to take the necessary steps to prevent rust on your grill grates.

First thing to do it cover your grill with a fitted cover when not in use to prevent moisture from getting on the grill.

Next, it’s a good practice to clean the grill grates after each use to get rid of the food grime. Adding to this, coat the grates with vegetable oil using a paper towel to repel water, causing your grill grates to rust quicker.

If you notice any signs of rust during the winter, remove the grates immediately to avoid causing damage to the metal.

Will the Grill Smell of Vinegar After Cleaning?

This depends on what type of vinegar you use! White vinegar is powerful cleaning agent, and has strong sour smell, which is likely to linger on your grill after cleaning.

Contrarily, apple cider is not as strong as white vinegar, but does give out a more pleasant sweet odor.

To increase its potency, you can use apple cider vinegar along with a 1/2 cup  of baking soda to clean your grill grates.

How to Get Rid of Vinegar Smell after Cleaning?

The best way to get rid of the vinegar smell from your grill grates after cleaning, you can use dish soap and clean cold water to rinse them thoroughly.

Do not use scented dish soap, as this will leave a strong smell on the grill grates that may be hard to get rid of even after rinsing with water.

Can You Use Cooking Vinegar for Cleaning Grill Grates?

You can use white cooking vinegar to clean any type of grill grates. You can use apple cider vinegar too to clean grill grates, but as I mentioned earlier, it is less potent, so you will have to use it in a larger amount or higher 4:1 (vinegar and baking soda) ratio.

Regardless of the type of vinegar you use, you must soak the grill grates preferably overnight in the solution/mixture for it to be effective.

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