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How Do I Choose the Best Grate Polish?

By Anna B. Smith
Updated: Feb 09, 2024

To choose the best grate polish, consumers should use an organic solution that is formulated to work with the specific type of metal used in their grill. Most polishes can be made at home using standard household cleaning agents. Stainless steel grills and grates may be treated with stainless steel specific polish, which can be found in most home improvement stores.

Barbecue grilling grates can become encrusted with soot, ash, and food residue over time. These morsels, which can cling to the outer surface of the grilling grate, can taint the flavor of food which rests on them during the cooking process. Grates should be removed regularly at the end of the grilling season and cleaned with a grate polish that does not damage the cooking surface.

Homemade grate polish can be made using ingredients found under most household kitchen sinks. A solution created from equal parts water and bleach, enhanced with a touch of dish soap, may be used on many types of metal and stainless steel surfaces. A soft bristle brush dipped in this solution will typically remove most forms of charring from the surface of the grates, as well as from the interior of the grill. Once the cleaning process has been completed, the grill may be sprayed with a garden hose to remove any residual soap.

Cast iron grates should not be cleaned in this manner as the solution can soak into the metal and absorb into food later. This type of metal can be cleaned using standard oven cleaner. Gloves and eye protection are often recommended when working with this type of solution as the product can burn eyes and skin. The solution should be allowed to rest on the grate for several hours before removal.

Cast iron grates which have begun to show signs of rust can be treated with a solution of vinegar and water. This organic grate polish will not harm the surface of the metal, nor will it leave a residue that can later be detected in food. The grates can be left to soak in the solution for no longer than several hours, then should be removed and dried.

The exterior of the grill may be cleaned with soap and water and polished with a solution specific to the type of material out of which it was made. Stainless steel polish, available in local home improvement stores, should only be used with stainless steel surfaces. Microfiber cloths may be used to smooth this substance over the surface of the grill cover without any danger of scratching the finish.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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