How to Clean Cast Iron Cooking Grates

Cast iron cooking grates are durable and strong, and may be used for years without replacement if properly maintained.
Use vegetable oil and a steel brush to clean and re-season your cast iron cooking grates.
Whether on a grill or stove, cast iron cooking grates require seasoning before their first use, similar to the seasoning required for cast iron cookware. Cast iron cooking grates are easy to maintain, if you get into the habit of cleaning them before each use. .

Step 1

Turn off the burner or allow the coals to cool after cooking or grilling on cast iron grates. Remove stuck-on tin foil but leave food and sauce residue on the cast iron grates until the next use.

Step 2

Fire up the stove or grill before cooking. Close the grill lid with the cast iron grates intact. Allow the fire to burn for about 10 minutes, until baked-on food and residue are reduced to char and ash.

Step 3

Wait for the cast iron grates to cool. Scrub off ashes and char using a stiff steel brush.

Step 4

Rub the cool cast iron grates with vegetable oil and a clean cloth. This will season them and help prevent foods from sticking.

Step 5

Close your grill top and cover the appliance when you aren’t using it. This will deter curious animals who may smell the food residue, and will help prevent moisture from rusting your cast iron grates.

Things You Will Need

  • Steel brush
  • Vegetable oil
  • Charcoal, for a charcoal grill
  • Matches
  • Clean, dry cloths


  • Burn off and scrub your cast iron cooking grates after use if you’re not planning to use them for an extended period. Wipe them down with a light coating of vegetable oil, then wipe the oil off with a clean, dry cloth.

About the Author

Kate Sheridan is a freelance writer, researcher, blogger, reporter and photographer whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and trade publications for over 35 years. She attended Oakland University and The University of Michigan, beginning her journalism career as an intern at the "Rochester Eccentric." She's received honors from the Michigan Press Association, American Marketing Association and the State of Michigan Department of Commerce.