How to Clean a Flat Top Grill that has Rust?

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A flat-top grill is the best cooking equipment for preparing the healthiest meals. It sucks as much fat as possible from food, allowing you to serve grease-free, healthy meals. Also, a flat top grill offers an expansive cooking space to let you fry a large amount of food at once. 

As this grill produces consistent heat, it results in well-cooked food with a smoky flavor. The yummy food is the result whether you place food directly on the grill or in a cooking pot. Even if a flat top grill functions well and produces perfect results, it can rust. We want to show you how to clean a flat top grill that has rust. 

How to clean a flat top grill for household use

Flat top grills using gas, charcoal, wood, or electricity can rust. If you store it over the winter season in a dumpy place, it will corrode. It will happen faster if you forget to cover your flat top grill with water-resistant canvas material. If yours is already rusty, the only thing you can do to help the situation is to clean it. But how can you clean a grill that has rust? We will show you how to do it below. 

As you will find out, cleaning your flat top grill can be a cheap and easy exercise. You can use grease-cutting products you already have in the house. These include raw vinegar, water, dishwashing soap, soda water, lemon juice, etc. The most crucial thing is to know how to mix these ingredients to form a powerful cleaner. 

Another method is to start by heating the flat top grill to melt sticky, baked-on foods and rust. In this article, we will discuss three methods.

Method 1: Hot oil technique

The hot oil is the most common technique for cleaning a flat top grill that has rust. To do it, follow these steps. 

Step One: Heat your metal grill

  • Turn the heat to medium-high and let the flat top grill warm for about twenty minutes. The aim is to loosen rust and sticky food for easier removal and cleaning later. 

Step Two: Turn off the heat and let the grill cool down

  • Cooling the flat top grill will ensure that you do not burn your fingers. 
  • After cooling, scrub the whole cooking surface with a course scrapper to remove the loosened rust and greasy mess. 

Step Three: Apply oil and scrub 

  • Take your oil and measure four to five tablespoonfuls. Apply this oil over the flat grill top surface. 
  • Scrub the grill surface using your grill stone, steel wool, or wet or dry sandpaper (medium grit sandpaper).

Step Four: Wipe the scrubbed grill surface

  • Use paper towels or clean cotton cloth to wipe the flat top grill surface. 
  • Pour three to four tablespoons of oil over the surface and wipe it down again. 
  • Repeat the second step until you remove all rust.

Step Five: Season the flat top grill

  • To ensure that the grill top does not corrode again, season it with some cooking oil, extra virgin cooking oil, or flat top oil. 
  • After that, spread three to four tablespoons of cooking oil over the grilling surface to protect it from oxidation and rust.

Step Six: Store your flat top grill well after use

  • After making your flat top grill spotlessly clean, remember to keep it safe. This time avoid storing it in a dumpy or hot place.

Method 2: Make a cleaning solution with two ingredients 

We highly recommend using the household cleaning products we mentioned above to clean your flat top grill. Chemicals may do a thorough job, but you may fail to eliminate their odors. You do not want these odors to linger in your fried food. So, this is how you can combine two cleaning aids to produce an effective grill cleaner. 

  • Vinegar plus water
  • Lemon juice plus water
  • Lemon juice plus soda water

Vinegar plus water

Vinegar is a common stain remover. So, mix it with water in an equal ratio. Then, use the solution to clean your flat top grill in these ways: 

  • If using modern flat grill top equipment, switch the heat on. All you want is to loosen the hardened food spills and rust. 
  • Use a grill scraper to remove the softened mess when the grill cools down. 
  • Splash your vinegar and water mixture on the grill. 
  • With your grill brush, scrub the rusty and greasy grill surface. If some of the debris is still sticky, give the solution five more minutes to do its work.
  • Use your grill brush again to remove the softened grease and rust. 
  • Use a scouring pad to scrub your grill and finish by wiping it down with a clean cloth or paper towels. 

Lemon juice plus water

Mix ¼ part lemon juice and ¾ part water. Now use the solution to clean your rusty flat grill top. 

  • Heat your grill to help loosen the rust and baked-on food
  • Use a grill scraper to remove as much softened debris as possible
  • Spray the cleaning solution over the grill top and spread across the area with a grill brush
  • Leave it for a few minutes to seep into the hardened debris.
  • Scrub the grill surface with your grill brush until there is no more sticky mess. 
  • Use your scrubbing pad in circular motions to make your grill spotless.
  • Wipe your rust-free grill with a clean cloth.  

Lemon juice plus soda water

Another combination that works perfectly entails lemon juice plus soda water. See how you can use this solution next: 

  • Heat your flat top grill to loosen sticky grease and rust
  • Using your grill scraper, remove the softened debris. 
  • Splash the grill surface with your lemon juice and soda water solution and let it seep in for five minutes. 
  • Scrub the grill with your brush or scouring pad in circular motions. 
  • Finish by wiping the grill surface with a clean rug.


Method 3: Other techniques

If your flat top grill is not too rusty, clean it with one or more household cleaners. Your options are:

  • Vinegar
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Grill stone and vinegar-water solution
  • Steam your grill.


Vinegar is a reliable grease-cutter and rust remover. To use it effectively, do these steps:

  • Spray raw vinegar over the flat grill top. Spread it well with your grill brush
  • Start scrubbing your grill with a coarse scrubber or brush. Use small round motions
  • Use a grill scraper to remove sticky baked-on food and rust. 
  • After that, wipe the grill with a clean piece of cloth. 


Dish Washing Liquid 

Dishwashing liquid soap can remove rusty spots from your flat grill top. Here are tips on how to use it.

  • As you do not have thick rust and grease to remove, there is no need to heat the grill top
  • Just spread enough dishwashing liquid over the grill top and use a sponge to scrub it
  • Once clean, rinse the grill with water to remove soap
  • Then, wipe the surface with a clean cloth. 

Grill stone and vinegar-water solution

A grill stone or grill brick can remove all rust stains and hardened food spills. To use it, do these steps:

  • First, heat up the grill 
  • Apply some oil across the hot griddle surface
  • Scrub the surface with your grill stone in small circular movements
  • Pour a cup of vinegar and water solution over the grill to help remove any remaining baked-on foods and rust
  • Use your brick stone once again to scrub the grill surface
  • Finish up by splashing a half-cup of raw vinegar and water solution over the surface. Wipe it down with a cotton cloth or paper towels. 

Steam your grill

If your grill is not very rusty and dirty, you can steam it in an easy way. 

  • First, turn on the grill heat to soften the debris
  • Use a scraper to remove softened debris
  • Next, sprinkle water over the hot grill surface and use your grill brush to spread it 
  • After the first water drains, pour more water and brush the surface until it is clean. 

Why learn how to clean a flat top grill that has rust?

There are benefits to expect from learning how to remove rust and clean your flat top grill. These are:

  • You will serve evenly cooked food. A rusty grill top with hardened food does not heat evenly. After cleaning it, the entire grill will be uniformly hot, allowing you to cook healthy and delicious food.
  • A dirty and rusty grill may ruin your cooking by transferring unnatural tastes to food. 
  • Friends and family will love eating your BBQ food when they realize that you maintain high standards of cleanliness. 


Learning how to clean a flat top grill that has rust is easy as you can see. With simple household cleaners, you can get rid of rust, hardened grease, and food particles. After cleaning your flat top grill, do not keep where you had stored it before. Find a clean, dry place to protect it from rust. Also, cover your flat top grill during storage using a water-resistant material.