Nearly every time you use your gas cooktop, a few splatters of grease or food land on the stove grates that cover the burners. On the worst days, the grates catch the brunt of an overflowing pot of food. Cleaning stove grates regularly helps reduce the chances of smoky odors and kitchen fires, protects your cookware from hard-to-remove stains, and keeps your kitchen looking clean.
Today's stove grates for home kitchens are made from porcelain-coated cast iron. The cast iron conducts heat quickly and evenly and the porcelain coating makes cleaning easier. However, older gas stoves may have uncoated cast iron grates that require different cleaning steps. With just a few supplies and regular cleaning, you can keep either type of grates fresh and clean.
How Often to Clean Stove Grates
If you have a cooking disaster on your stovetop, the grates should be cleaned just as soon as they cool down. For neater cooks, weekly cleaning is recommended to prevent any excessive build-up which will be more difficult to remove later.
Equipment / Tools
- Large sink or bucket
- Small bowl
- Stiff-bristled nylon scrub brush
- Plastic wrap
- Rubber gloves (optional)
- Microfiber cloths
- Dishwashing liquid with a degreaser
- Baking soda
- Lemon juice
- Vegetable oil
- Paper towel
How to Clean Porcelain-Coated Cast Iron Stove Grates
Start With Cool Grates
Before cleaning any component of a gas stove, allow the burners, grates, and cooktop to cool completely.
Mix a Soapy Solution
In a sink or large bucket, mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid that contains a degreaser per gallon of water. Agitate the water with your hand to disperse the soap.
Do a Quick Soak
Remove the stove grates from the cooktop and submerge them in the hot, soapy water. Allow them to soak for at least 10 minutes. While they are soaking, it's a good time to clean the rest of the cooktop.
If the porcelain coating on the stove grates has chips and the base cast iron is exposed, do not place the grates in water to soak. Cast iron rusts when exposed to water for too long.
Ideally, the chipped grates should be replaced or follow the steps for cleaning uncoated cast iron grates.
Scrub, Rinse, and Dry
After the soaking period has loosened any food particles, use a stiff-bristled nylon brush or scrubber to clean away any remaining food.
Rinse the grates in hot water and dry them with a lint-free microfiber cloth before reinstalling them on the cooktop.
Tough Stuck-On Food?
If you haven't cleaned your grates in a long time—or ever—and they are coated with grime, start with a baking soda paste. Mix three parts baking soda with one part water to create a paste. Spread it over the grates and set them aside for 20 minutes.
Rinse away the paste and then follow the remainder of the cleaning steps, soaking the grates until the paste softens.
How to Clean Uncoated Cast Iron Stove Grates
Mix a Cleaning Solution
In a small bowl or plastic container, mix two cups of hot water and one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid containing a degreaser.
Scrub the Grates
When the stove grates are cool, remove them and place them in a sink. Dip a stiff-bristled nylon scrub brush in the hot, soapy water and scrub the grates. If there are any food particles that won't come off, sprinkle the damp grates with baking soda to act as a mild abrasive. Keep scrubbing until all of the grime is removed. Do not allow the uncoated cast iron grates to soak.
Rinse and Dry
Once the grates are clean, rinse in hot water and dry immediately with a microfiber cloth. Do not allow the grates to air-dry or rust may form.
Reseason the Cast Iron
After drying the grates, place a few drops of vegetable oil on a paper towel. Use the towel to coat every surface of the stove grate with a very thin layer of oil. Place on a baking sheet and heat in the oven at 450°F for one hour. Let the grates cool in the oven.
This will season the cast iron and prevent rusting. Once the rest of the cooktop is cleaned, replace the grates.
Remove Rust Spots
If rust spots have appeared on the cast iron stove grates, mix a paste of one cup baking soda and one tablespoon lemon juice. Apply the paste to the rusty areas and cover with plastic wrap. Let it work for at least 24 hours. Rinse and then scrub the grates with a stiff-bristled brush. Rinse, dry, and re-season the grates.
Tips to Keep Stove Grates Clean and Lasting Longer
- Cover cooking food with lids to prevent splatters and don't allow foods to boil over.
- Try not to bang the grates with pans, which can cause chipping of the porcelain coating.
- Clean the grates weekly.
- While some cooktop manufacturers suggest that grates can be cleaned in a dishwasher, cleaning by hand is less harsh on the porcelain finish and will make it last longer.
- Do not use harsh cleaners like oven cleaners or strong abrasives to clean the grates.