Scorched Stainless Steel Grill Cleaning

For some grilling enthusiasts, there’s nothing as attractive as the smooth, clean look of a stainless steel grill. Beyond just looks, a grill made of stainless steel offers more even heating and easier cleanup, and will last decades longer than cheaper alternatives. Stainless steel does offer a few unique challenges when cleaning off scorches and burns.

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Basic Cleaning

For regular care and maintenance, cleaning a stainless steel grill is a snap. Steel panels wipe down easily. You can remove splatters and splashes with little more than a damp rag. The cooking grids themselves can be scoured with a wire brush or steel wool.

It's a bit harder to remove scorching, a discoloration caused by high heat and often involving oil or some other spilled substance. The heat sets the stain, producing extremely stubborn discoloration. Proper cleaning can remove these scorch marks, though, restoring your grill to its original luster.

Avoid Scratching

Though stainless steel is remarkably resistant to staining and corrosion, it is prone to scratching when scrubbed with abrasive substances. Many wire brushes, stainless steel pads and even cleaning agents will prove to be too abrasive, and may mar the finish. Exercise caution and care when scrubbing the steel, and always test a scrubber or cleaner on an inconspicuous portion of the steel to test for scratching.

Treating the Stain

Like most stubborn stains, it helps to treat the stain before cleaning.

If the scorched steel is on a removable panel, it may be soaked overnight, allowing allow the solution to leech the stain off of the steel, making it much easier to clean the next day. Try a homemade cleaning solution made of vinegar or salt diluted in water. Commercial solutions are also available, such as standard oven cleaner or stainless steel cleaner.

If the stained part cannot be soaked overnight, it still may be helpful to treat the stain and leave it for some time. Wiping down the stained area with white vinegar won’t produce the same effect as soaking, but will still make the stain easier to remove.


Once the stain has been treated, remove any grease residue or food matter with a wooden or plastic scrapper. Using a metal scrapper or steel wool scrubbing pad will scratch the surface. Remove as much of the substance as possible. Once done, use a commercial steel cleanser on the stain. These cleaners can generally be found wherever kitchen cleansers are sold. Apply these cleansers with a paper towel or plastic scrubbing pad.

If the stain still remains, reapply the cleanser, using finishing-grade steel wool, which is less likely to scratch the surface of the steel. A more stubborn stain will likely need to be scrubbed for some time, so be patient. If necessary, soak the stained steel overnight again, this time in straight vinegar. With time and a little elbow grease, the stain should come off, leaving your grill looking like new.


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