Is It Okay To Clean Your Grill Grates In The Dishwasher?

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

In the middle of summer, there's so much happening. The kids are out of school, outdoor parties take place at the weekends, and even weeknights seem like they will last forever. With all this fun and sunshine, it's no wonder we use our grills more often during the hotter months. However, all grills, regardless of their shape and size, need to be kept clean — you will probably think twice about putting that kabob on the grates when you notice how gunked up they are with last weekend's burger remnants.

There are plenty of sources out there (like this one by Bosch,) that will tell you to put the grill grates in the dishwasher. It seems like a fantastic solution! It saves you time from having to scrub away at the grates, and you'll have a shiny new grill to use in the end. But, unfortunately, this may not be good advice, and here's why.

Why you shouldn't clean grill grates in the dishwasher

When in doubt, it's best to look to the experts for advice. And who better to ask grilling questions than Weber? Weber says that while a few grill accessories can safely be put into a dishwasher, you should never put grill grates in there. Grill grates are made from various different materials, like cast iron, stainless steel, and enamel porcelain. Although stainless steel and enameled porcelain don't rust when in contact with water, if they have cracks in the surface, they will. The dishwasher also causes iron grates to rust, no matter what condition they are in. This isn't a process that takes time to happen, just a single drop of water can start the rusting process, which will spoil the cooking ability of your grill. (via How Stuff Works).

Additionally, the cycles a dishwasher goes through could make the caked-on bits harder to get off. Drying cycles can almost bake the gunk onto the grate, and the hot steam can ruin the grate, says Weber. Furthermore, if the chard mess does come off in the dishwasher, may even clog up the machine.

Here's what to do instead

It's always best to clean a grill right after it's been used; a warm grill is easier to clean, explains AARP. Once you've finished cooking your meal, use a brush to scrub off anything that was left behind while cooking. You'll need a very stiff brush like this one from Amazon. It has 4.5 stars from 15,600 reviews. 

If you forget to clean it after cooking then you can also wait until the next time you use it. Turn the grill on or start the charcoal; once the grates are warm, use the brush. Sometimes those brushes get misplaced over the winter, or maybe you don't have one. In that case, a ball of aluminum foil can be used to clean off the grates instead. It's similar to a scrubbing brush, and you can throw it out when you're done. Or you can even use an onion cut in half, according to CNET.

Sometimes using a brush on warm grates isn't enough to get it clean, or you skip cleaning the grill a few times. If the grill is so gross you don't even want to use it, then soak the grates in a sink with hot soapy water, then take a rough brush and go to town.