Stainless steel makes a beautiful outdoor grilling surface that conducts heat evenly and is easy to keep clean. Unlike other, cheaper surfaces, properly cared for stainless steel will last for decades. Cleaning stainless steel on a routine basis will actually benefit the surface and make it last longer. It cannot be worn out through excessive cleaning, so your sparkling barbeque grill will look good in your backyard for years.
Regular cleaning of stainless steel grills will maintain its ability to resist corrosion. It has a thin layer of chromium oxide which is oxygen from the atmosphere that combines with the chromium in the stainless steel and forms a passive chromium oxide film. This film protects it from corrosion. Sand, dirt, food items and other things can contaminate the surface and block the contact with oxygen which allows corrosion.
During normal usage the grill should be cleaned after each use. Let it cool down first and then wipe it with a soft cloth and liquid soap. Use a gentle soap, not dishwashing liquid, as this may contain abrasive chemicals. This will remove all food particles. All the marinade splashes should also be removed because they can cause damage. When the food is removed, rinse the grill thoroughly with water and dry thoroughly with paper towels or a soft dish towel. Do not scrape the stainless steel with steel-wool or any rough product.
If something stronger than a soft cloth is needed to remove the stuck-on food, use a non-abrasive sponge. Also, do not use caustic chemicals such as paint thinner, oven cleaners or strong household cleaners. When cleaning the exterior, rub in the direction of the grain of the stainless steel. This will give it a new finish that can oxidize with the air and a new shine.
You may see rust stains running down your grill and wonder how it is possible for stainless steel to rust. It is not the stainless steel that is rusting, it is the connectors and rivets that are rusting and staining your grill. It is possible to remove this stain with a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. This can be applied to the rusted area and left for 15 minutes. Then, scrub the stain with a soft toothbrush and rinse with cool water. Again, you should dry the surface after rinsing. Apply machine oil to the rivets when they are dry.
Stains can be cleaned with natural products such as white vinegar and baking soda. Pour the vinegar on the stain and sprinkle the soda on top. It will foam and remove the stain in about half an hour for tough stains otherwise, just leave it for 10 minutes. For fingerprints that seem impossible to remove from stainless steel, make a paste of soda ash and water. Apply it to the fingerprints with a soft cloth and wash thoroughly with warm water. Don’t forget to dry it. For heavy debris from food or burned areas on the grill grids, you can scrub them with a soft brass wire brush or scrape them with a putty knife. If this isn’t enough, then soak the grids in a large container of dishwashing liquid and warm water for 15 minutes.
There are some things you can do to make cleaning easier and avoid some problems all together. Never leave wet sponges, cleaning pads or wet rags lying on the stainless steel to avoid surface rust. Also, do not leave food, pans, tinned products or beverage containers on the grill surface to avoid corrosion and stains. Don’t use the surface as a cutting board and put a pad under any hot pans. If you do use household cleaners, make sure they are rinsed off well so that they do not dry on the surface.
Your stainless steel grill is a durable piece of equipment and can last for years if proper care is taken on a regular basis.