Skip to Content

How to Keep a Charcoal Grill from Rusting

How to Keep a Charcoal Grill from Rusting

A charcoal grill is a perfect addition to your kitchen equipment. You can use it to grill your dinner or when you have guests for a barbeque party outside. However, it is essential to take good care of your charcoal grill to ensure that it serves you for a very long time. One of the ways to do that is to ensure that your grill does not rust. Charcoal grills are usually made of iron which is prone to rust. If your grill rusts, it will lose vital parts, and you may have to spend more money repairing it. Here are some of the ways you can keep your charcoal grill from rusting.

What causes your charcoal grill to rust?

If you have noticed signs of rusting on your charcoal grill, it could be due to any of the following causes.

Leftover food

Moisture and acid from your food can increase the rate of rust formation and damage your grill.


When chemicals from your swimming pool escape as vapor, they cause your charcoal grill to rust.

Snow Melting products

It is best to cover your charcoal grill if you are going to leave it outside. If you leave it out uncovered, do not use snow-melting products on it. These will increase the chances of your grill rusting.


If you live near the ocean, your grill will rust quickly.

How to keep your Charcoal grill from rusting

Here are simple ways to protect your grill from rust and ensure it serves you for a long time.

Do not spill liquids directly on the grill.

If you love barbeque, you probably love sauce too. That said, make sure that you do not pour sauce directly onto the grill as it could promote rusting. In addition, most seasonings are acidic, meaning they increase the chances of your grill rusting. Instead, use them directly on your food.

Clean the grill regularly

You must clean your grill after use. Marinades and sauces end up on the grill and can encourage rusting if you do not clean them up. Clean all parts of your charcoal grill after use. Ensure that there are no food particles left on it. You can choose to use commercial grill cleaners or soap and water to clean your grill. Follow these easy steps to clean it correctly.

  • After you finish grilling, remove the ash and then douse the charcoal with cold water. Store the coal in a metal box to protect yourself and your home from accidental fires. Make sure that your grill is hot when you start cleaning. The steam should help in removing food remains and grease.  
  • Using a  brush and water, scrub the base of your grill and remove excess moisture using a sponge. Clean the cooking grate with soap and water.
  • You can use vinegar or baking soda to degrease it, then rinse it and dry it thoroughly.
  • Use a sponge and warm soapy water to clean the exterior. Abrasive cleaners will damage and ruin the appearance of your charcoal grill.
  • Allow your charcoal grill to dry, and then store it in a dry place.

Keep the Grill Dry

Make sure that you dry the grill before you store it. If you leave it outside, it will get into contact with moisture, then rust. Take your time and wipe the interior of the charcoal grill after cleaning.

Apply a moisture-resistant coating

Rust occurs when your grill comes into contact with moisture and oxygen. An excellent way to prevent this from happening is using a moisture-resistant coating. For instance, you can apply oil or wax regularly to ensure that it does not rust. You can also use grill protect spray on the grill cover to prevent rusting.

  • Make sure that you take time picking grill protector spray as there are many types in the market. Pick a brand that has many positive reviews, is within your budget, and is made for charcoal grills. You can also talk to your neighbors about the kind they use on their grills and its effectiveness.
  • After buying it, make sure that your grill is dry before spraying. Then, spray it lightly on the grill, making sure that you wipe off excess fluid. If you are on a budget, you can coat it with cooking oil before storage.

Cover the grill

If you plan to leave your grill outside, make sure that you cover it to protect it from the rain. That protects it from the elements and reduces the amount of cleaning and maintenance you have to do. Also, make sure that you place the grill upwind. If your grill did not come with a cover, there are several options available in the market. They are made of high-quality materials that are both durable and water-resistant. Remember to use the covering after ensuring that the grill is dry.

Deep Clean

After every 10-15 uses, deep clean your charcoal grill.

  • Mix a cup of dish soap and hot water with  ¼ cup of baking soda to create a cleaning solution.
  • Remove the grates and soak them in the solution for one hour.
  • Use a brush to scrub the grates, rinse and wipe them.
  • Remember to clean the grill base with water and dish soap.

Replace the grates

The grates are always the first to start rusting. If the rust is extensive and has weakened your grates, it is advisable to replace them. A weakened cooking grate could easily ruin your barbeque if it breaks while you are grilling.

How to Remove Rust?

If you already have a rusty charcoal grill, it is essential to clean it immediately. If you do not remove it immediately, your grill will keep rusting. Bear in mind that it is not advisable to use a corroded grill.  Here are essential tips to remove rust from your grill.

Use commercial rust remover.

You can use a commercial rust remover to remove rust from your grill. There are several rust removers available in the market, but most contain harmful chemicals. These chemicals can transfer to your food and make you and your family sick. There are several brands that you can safely use on your grill. Commercial rust removers work faster than homemade ones.

Use vinegar and salt.

If you do not want to use commercial rust removers, consider using a solution of vinegar and salt to remove rust. Follow these steps to use a salt and vinegar solution.

  • Mix two cups of white vinegar with one cup of salt.
  • Put your grates on a tray or plastic bag and pour the mixture on it. Make sure the solution covers the grates and leave it overnight.
  • Remove the grates and use a piece of cloth to wipe off any remaining rust.
  • Clean the grate and grill and allow them to dry before storage.

If you have a lot of rust on your grill, make a paste using vinegar and baking soda and put it on the rusty spots.

  • Allow it to sit for 30 minutes and then rinse with warm water.
  • Clean the grill and dry the grate.

Check this too: Traeger Grill Troubleshooting & How to Guide

FAQs about keeping your grill from rusting

Why does my grill keep on rusting?

Moisture is a major cause of rust on your grill. Ensure that you use a grill cover to protect your grill from rain if you plan to leave it outside. Grease also speeds up rusting, so make sure that you degrease and clean your grates after use. You can use commercial degreasing products, vinegar, or baking soda to degrease your grates.

Degreasing using Baking soda

  • Sprinkle baking soda on the grill and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Baking soda will dissolve the grease, and you can then clean your grate and grill.
  • Make sure that you let the grill dry before storage. Consider applying cooking oil on the grate to prevent rust in a charcoal grill.

Degreasing using vinegar

  • Mix vinegar in warm water and spray it onto the grease. Wait for a few minutes and then clean it normally.
  • Leaving your grill outside for long periods promotes rust due to exposure to the elements. Cleaning and covering it will prevent rusting in charcoal grill.

What to put on a grill to keep it from rusting?

To prevent rusting, you need to spray on a grill protector and use a grill cover. If you are on a budget, cooking oil will also prevent rusting.

Do stainless steel grills rust?  

Yes, stainless steel grills can rust, but they are more rust-resistant than iron grills. That said, you need to use the rust prevention tips highlighted above to ensure your stainless steel grill lasts a long time.

How to protect my grill from rain?

To protect your grill from rain, use a grill cover and apply a silicone moisture guard on it. That will ensure your grill is protected even as the grill covering ages.

Should you cover your grill in summer?

Yes, it would help if you covered your grill during summer. The grill cover will protect your grill from rain and falling debris.

How to store your grill for the winter?

Store your grill in a cool, dry place, sheltered from snow and rain.