How to Prevent Rust on Your Grill

How to prevent rust on your grill

Rust is just about the last thing you want on your grill. Not only is it an eye sore, it can make your grill unusable. Grills cost a lot of money so you want to do your best to maintain yours. I’m going to share with some tips on how to prevent rust on your grill. I’ll also explain what causes rust and why it is bad for your grill so you can better understand both how and why you should try to prevent your grill from rusting.

Why Does Rust Form?

Rust is a reaction between iron, oxygen, and an electrolyte solution (usually water). Once these 3 things react with each other, rust begins to form. Rust is irons thermodrynamically favored state meaning iron actually prefers to be rusted. Therefore, you’ll have to try to do everything you can to prevent your grill from rusting. The biggest culprit of rust on your grill is moisture. With your grill, you’ll want to be sure to prevent any buildup of moisture.

Why is Rust Bad?

To point out the obvious, rust just looks bad. You’ll want to prevent rust to keep the new appearance of your grill. If the rusting is bad enough, it can even create holes in your grill. Holes on the lid or underneath means you won’t be able to cook on your grill.

If you have rust on the inside of your grill, there is also a chance it could get into your food. Sure, a little rust won’t kill you, but I would rather not have it on my food. Rust on your grill could come off while cooking, giving your beef a little more iron than you thought.

Now that you know why rust forms and why it is bad, here are some ways you can prevent rust on your grill:

Clean Your Grill Regularly

Cleaning your grill regularly is one of the best ways you can avoid rusting. This means cleaning your grill after every time you cook. You don’t have to do a deep clean, but you definitely need to make sure you don’t leave anything behind. After cooking, wipe down the outside of your grill and scrape the grates. You’ll also want to wait until your grill has cooled down to clean it.

You don’t have to do too much with the outside. Wiping it down with some soapy water and a clean rag is more than enough. Just be sure to clean any leftover residue and dry it well. For a stainless steel grill you could also use a stainless steel cleaner if you have it.

To clean the grill grates, brush off remaining food with a grill brush while they are still a little warm. After you have brushed and scrapped the grates, wipe them down with a wet rag to get the remaining debris. If you have cast iron grates, you could also season them with a little bit of vegetable oil to prevent rusting.

Keep Covered When Not In Use

When your grill is not in use, be sure to keep it covered. I would recommend investing in a good grill cover to protect your grill from inclement weather. Since moisture is the biggest culprit of rust, spending money on something that will protect from moisture would make sense.

If you are going to cover your grill, make sure that is it completely dry. Also make sure that the cover is completely secured. If it is not, animals could get underneath the cover. Dirt could also get inside too which means you’ll have to clean it again before each use.

Using a grill cover will also protect your grill from sun damage. In climates with a harsh sun, the sun could cause a lot of damage to your grill. The sun can cause structural damage and fading of the paint.

Keep Your Grill Indoors In The Winter

When you know you’re not going to be grilling outside, consider putting it inside to prevent any damage from the weather. If you live somewhere with a harsh winter season, the snow and ice will cause a lot of rusting to your grill. The salt from the snow will also eat away at the paint of your grill.

Keeping your grill indoors is the best way to protect it during the winter months. Even if you do keep it indoors, you’ll want to cover it to protect it from any dirt. Keeping your grill indoors will greatly reduce your grills chances or rusting and prolong its lifespan. For most people “indoors” means in the shed or basement.

Annual Deep Cleaning

At least once per year, especially at the beginning of the grilling season, you’ll want to give your grill a good deep cleaning. This cleaning will be much more in depth than the cleaning I mentioned earlier. You’re going to want to clear some time in your schedule because you’re going to be cleaning every part of your grill.

The first thing you want to do is clean the grates. Scrub all the debris off like you normally would. Then remove them from the grill. Let them soak for about an hour and then scrub them again, making sure to get all debris off. Next, rinse the grates and wipe them with a clean towel and they should look good as new.

While the grates are out, scrap off any debris hanging around the inside of the grill. Don’t forget to scrap the inside of the lid too because there could be grease caked on there. It doesn’t have to look good as new, but you want to scrape as much debris off as possible. Let it all fall down to the tray at the bottom, then remove that tray and throw out all the debris. You’ll be amazed at how dirty a grill can get. Don’t forget to to clean the drip pan too before you start putting everything back in place. Once you have gotten everything inside all cleaned, you can put everything back in place. Don’t forget to still clean it after each use!

Now that the inside of the grill is all set, you’ll want to clean the outside. Cleaning the outside is going to take much less effort. Same thing as I mentioned earlier, all you really need is soapy water and a clean rag. Make sure to clean off any dirt and debris and dry it thoroughly. Once you have finished deep cleaning your grill, you are finally ready for grilling season. You can also feel good that you’re protecting your grill from rusting.

Wrap Up

Knowing how to prevent rust on your grill can really prolong the life of your grill. After all the money you spent on it, you want to make sure it will last. Keeping rust from building just takes a little bit of preventative maintenance.

To prevent rust on your grill:

  • Clean your grill after each use
  • Keep your grill covered when not in use
  • Store your grill indoors in the Winter
  • Deep clean your grill at least once per year

If you do all of those things, you will lower the risk of your grill rusting and will be able to enjoy your grill for longer.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our grilling page.

Sam Rebinskas

Sam is the co-founder of Improve Your Gameday and loves all Boston sports teams.

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