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How To Clean Stove Top Grates

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Cleaning Tips

The smell of a good stir-fry or a hearty stew filling the kitchen can be heavenly. But the smell of burnt food gunk? Not so much.

Grease, food residue, and other debris can easily build up on gas stove grates – creating a safety and hygiene risk. While it’ll take some elbow grease, washing the grates is an important part of general kitchen maintenance.

How to clean stove top grates? You can soak them in hot, soapy water or use a baking soda paste. For uncoated grates, use a stiff-bristled nylon brush dipped in dish soap and water to scrub them clean.

Don’t put this chore on the back burner! Keep your gas stove clean and keep your cookware safe by cleaning the cast iron stove grates – and the rest of your gas stove as well.


Types of Stove Grates

Stove grates (or gas grates) are tools used on a gas stove top to prevent your cookware from direct contact with the burner caps.

Modern grates are made of porcelain-coated cast iron (also called enamelled cast iron), a durable material that can withstand high temperatures. The porcelain coating makes it easy to clean.

However, there are other types of grates as well.

You can identify coated cast iron by the smooth finish with a slight sheen when it’s clean. Uncoated cast iron will have a matte finish, and older grates may have a rougher texture due to long-term use.

One way to be sure is to check your stove model’s manual or the manufacturer’s website.


clean cast iron stove grates


Porcelain-enamelled cast iron grates

Modern gas stoves will have enamelled cast iron stove grates, which are made of cast iron with a porcelain coating.

The enamel protects the iron from degradation and makes the grates easier to clean.

While you may find other colours, most stove tops will have black grates. You’ll need to keep an eye on them as residue or stains may not show up as easily.


Uncoated cast iron grates

Older gas stoves will have uncoated cast iron grates, which will require a slightly different cleaning process. You should minimise the exposure to moisture as this could cause rust.

You can also “season” the grates in the same way you season a cast iron pan. This prevents rust and protects the metal.


Porcelain-enamelled steel grates

Steel cooking grates are more common for BBQ grills, but you may find some gas stoves that use stainless steel stove top grates as well.

You can clean stainless steel grates the same way as enamelled cast iron ones.


Why You Should Clean Gas Stove Grates

clean stove top grates

Cleaning your cast iron stove grates is key to a safe and hygienic kitchen!

Grease, food residue, and other debris can build up on the surface of the grates over time. And since they sit on top of the gas burners, the residue is exposed to an open flame – creating a potential fire hazard.

Moreover, grease and food residue could lead to mould growth or degrade the porcelain coating, potentially damaging your grates.


How Often to Clean Stove Grates

Immediately clean any grease spills or food messes after letting the grates cool down.

Clean stove grates weekly to prevent a build-up of grease or stuck-on food. Make sure to clean the rest of your gas stove as well!

Of course, you can always leave the job of cleaning your kitchen in the hands of a professional house cleaning service.


How to Clean Cast Iron Stove Grates

Thankfully, cast iron stove grates are straightforward to clean. Just make sure the coating isn’t damaged – cast iron shouldn’t be exposed to water for long.

If the coating is chipped or cracked, follow the instructions for cleaning uncoated grates.


Before you clean stove grates

Before cleaning any part of your gas stove, wait for the stove grates, stove top burners, and cooktop to completely cool. This minimises the risk of injury or burning any cleaning products.

Check your owner’s manual for any specific cleaning instructions or products you shouldn’t use.

Avoid using cleaning products not made for stove grates, such as oven cleaners. Do not use cooktop cleaners unless specified for a gas stove top.

For scrubbing, do not use metal brushes, steel wool, or scouring pads. These products could damage the finish or degrade the material.

The best way to clean stove top grates is with either dish soap or baking soda and some good old-fashioned elbow grease.


Are stove grates dishwasher-safe?

Unless the owner’s manual allows it, do not wash your stove grates in a dishwasher. It could damage the coating and will likely not remove any dried or burnt-on residue from the surface.

Washing by hand is less likely to damage the coating and results in a more thorough clean.


Cleaning cast iron stove grates with dish soap

Fill an empty sink or bathtub with hot water, enough to submerge the grates. If your sink isn’t big enough and you don’t have a tub, a large plastic container works as well.

Add a tablespoon of anti-grease dish soap per 3 litres of water, then mix it up so it’s nice and sudsy. Use a wooden spoon or wear gloves so you don’t accidentally scald yourself.

Remove the stove grates from your gas range and place them in the hot, soapy water. Let the grates soak for about 10–15 minutes to loosen the grease and stuck-on food.

Next, use a stiff-bristled nylon brush or a non-abrasive sponge to scrub the grates clean! This will scour off any leftover grease or food residue without scratching the finish.

Rinse the grates with hot water, then wipe them dry with a microfibre cloth.


wiping down stove top grates when cleaning


Cleaning cast iron stove grates with baking soda

This all-natural method is grate (ha!) if you need to remove stubborn residue or if the grates are particularly dirty.

Make a paste by mixing three parts baking soda with one part water. Use a non-abrasive sponge or cleaning pad to apply the baking soda paste all over the cast iron stove grates.

Let the cleaning solution sit for 20–30 minutes, then use a damp cloth to gently scrub the grates clean. Rinse any remaining residue off, then give them a good wash with some soapy water.

Wipe clean and dry with a microfibre cloth.


gas stove grates


Cleaning cast iron stove grates with ammonia

This should be your last resort when cleaning stove grates, as ammonia can be hazardous.

But if the other methods don’t work, ammonia can clean your stove top grates as well.

Always work in a well-ventilated space, ideally outdoors (such as in the garage). Make sure to wear protective equipment such as rubber gloves and a face mask.

Never mix ammonia with anything when cleaning. Do not use this method with any other cleaning solution.

Take a garbage bag or large resealable bag that can fit the grates inside. Place them in the bag and add half a cup of ammonia.

It doesn’t matter if the product doesn’t cover the grates – the ammonia fumes will do the cleaning for you.

Close the bag immediately and let it sit overnight. The next morning, open the bag and take the grates out. 

Make sure you dispose of the ammonia properly. Keep it bagged or in another container and check your local council regulations about disposal or collection points for hazardous household waste.

While wearing rubber gloves, scrub off any gunk with a non-abrasive sponge or stiff-bristled nylon brush. Then rinse the grates thoroughly to remove any ammonia residue.

Wipe the grates dry with a clean cloth before putting them back on your stove.


How to Clean Burnt Grease or Food Off Stove Grates

dirty black grates and stove top

If soaking in hot, soapy water doesn’t fully loosen burnt grease or food, you can try vinegar!

Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle, then saturate the affected areas. Let the cleaning solution sit for no more than an hour – any longer and the vinegar can etch the cast iron.

Wash the grates with soapy water, then rinse them clean. Let them air dry or wipe with a clean towel.


How to Clean Uncoated Cast Iron Stove Grates

For uncoated cast iron stove grates or ones with a chipped finish, you should avoid soaking them in water.

Instead, mix a little anti-grease dish detergent in a bowl of hot water. Dip a stiff-bristled nylon brush or non-abrasive sponge in, then use that to scrub the grates.

You can add a little baking soda for added cleaning power, especially for any charred bits.

Once the grates are clean, rinse them with water and dry them immediately with a fresh cloth. Do not air dry uncoated cast iron, as the moisture could lead to rust.

As an optional step, you can season your uncoated grates. Take a cooking oil with a high smoke point (such as grapeseed, avocado, or sunflower) and apply a thin layer with a basting brush or soft rag.

Wipe off the excess oil, then place the grate on a baking sheet. Place them in an oven at 204ºC (400ºF) for one hour. Switch off the oven and let the grates cool down slowly.

NOTE: A soft rag or basting brush is a better option than paper towels, which could scratch the surface or leave a fuzzy residue on the cast iron.


How to Remove Rust from Cast Iron Grates

For small rust spots, you can make a paste with baking soda and a bit of lemon juice. Apply the paste to the rusty spots and cover them with some cling wrap.

Let the solution sit for a day, then wipe the residue off with a damp cloth. Wash and scrub the grates as usual before drying.

For larger amounts of rust, you can try soaking the grates in a solution of equal parts vinegar and warm water. Do not let them sit for more than an hour.

Scrub the rust off with a stiff-bristled nylon brush, then wash the grates clean with dish soap and water.


Keep Your Gas Stove Grates In Grate Condition

Spills and messes are a part of cooking, but you can minimise the residue on your cast iron stove grates by using lids on your cookware. Be mindful of anything that could boil over as well!

Set down any cookware over the burners with care so you don’t accidentally chip or scrape the porcelain enamel coating.

And of course, regularly clean your stove grates, stove top, and the rest of your kitchen! This ensures a safe and hygienic environment for you to cook the food you love, to your heart’s (and tummy’s) content.

About Author

Sophie Franklin

Sophie is the subject matter expert within Maid2Match. Most importantly though she is our biggest fan girl and generous in sharing what she knows.


About Author

Sophie Franklin

Sophie is the subject matter expert within Maid2Match. Most importantly though she is our biggest fan girl and generous in sharing what she knows.