Stove grates are one part of the kitchen that doesn’t get cleaned nearly enough as they should. It is constantly exposed to fire, which can produce a thick layer of ash that is difficult to remove. But can you make life easier for yourself by washing stove grates in a dishwasher?
You can put stove grates in a dishwasher if the manufacturer suggests doing so. To be on the safe side, you should wash stove grates by hand.
In this guide, I’ll explain why washing stove grates in a dishwasher isn’t the best idea, how to wash stove grates by hand, and how to prevent your stove grates from becoming caked in debris.
Can You Put Stove Grates in a Dishwasher?
Well, yes and no. Stove grates can go in a dishwasher, but only specific kinds.
Stove grates are typically made of cast iron, which is durable and resistant to heat. However, putting cast iron in a dishwasher may remove its protective coating, which will make it prone to rusting over time.
However, there are 2 stove grate designs that are generally believed to be dishwasher-safe:
Brass—While not as common as cast iron, there are brass stove grates. Brass is safe to wash in a dishwasher since it can stand up to heat, water, and common dishwasher detergents.
Enamel-coated—Some cast-iron stove grates will have an enamel coating on the bottom that makes it less prone to staining. The enamel finish also serves as a protective layer against the temperature changes inside a dishwasher, preserving the integrity of the cast iron within and preventing it from rusting over.
If you’re unsure of what kind of stove grate you have, it’s safest to assume that it’s made of cast iron without an enamel coating, in which case, you should wash the stove grate by hand.
How to Wash Stove Grates in a Dishwasher
Washing stove grates in a dishwasher is as simple as washing anything else. Because of their size, you should put the stove grates on the bottom dishrack alongside your plates, bowls, and other cookware.
Allow for about 2 inches of space in all directions of the stove grate. That way, water, and detergent will easily get into every crack and nook to get rid of any solid debris. If that doesn’t get rid of all the ash and debris from your stove grates, you should consider washing them by hand.
How to Wash Stove Grates by Hand
Washing stove grates by hand is a pretty simple process. All you need to get started are a bowl of hot water, regular dish soap, and a sponge.
- Shut off your stove and wait for the stove grates to come down to room temperature.
- Detach the stove grates from your stove. There are usually grooves around the grates that lock them in place. Simply tug the grate to one side before lifting it straight up.
- Mix 3 tablespoons of soap with about half a gallon of water. Agitate the solution until it froths up.
- Submerge the stove grates into the soap solution and add more water to cover the grates if necessary.
- Leave the stove grates in the soap solution for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Use the rough side of a sponge and scrub the stove grates to remove solid debris from the surface.
- Give the stove grates a final rinse before placing them on your dishrack to dry.
The thing about cast-iron stove grates is that you don’t have to worry about removing their “seasoning”—i.e., an oil-baked crust protects the cast-iron surface and makes it non-stick. Food shouldn’t come into contact with the stove grates anyway, which is why you should wash your stove grates frequently.
How to Remove Rust from Stove Grates
First and foremost, the enamel coating on the stove grate will protect it from rust. It’s only when the enamel coating has been removed that rust might take form on the surface of the grates.
Removing rust from cast-iron stove grates is a trickier process. To get started, you’ll need the same supplies as before with the addition of steel wool or a steel brush.
- Perform the same steps as you would in the How to Wash Stove Grates by Hand section but disregard the final step.
- Submerge the stove grates in a bowl or basin of fresh, cold water.
- Using steel wool or a steel brush, aggressively scrub the rusted section on the stove grate until the rust is removed completely.
How to Keep Stove Grates Clean
Keeping your stove grates clean means you don’t have to worry about deep-cleaning them as often. Here’s what you can do to maintain their cleanliness.
Use stove cleaning wipes
You can pick up a tube of stove cleaning tops from MiracleWipes on Amazon. These are disposable wipes saturated in a cleaning agent that cuts through grease, grime, and ash. Use these wipes after the grates have come down to room temperature. You might as well wipe your entire cooktop while you’re at it!
Clean spills as quickly as possible
Allow the stove grate and the spilled liquid to come down to room temperature before wiping them with cleaning wipes. The longer you allow spills to sit on your stove grates, the harder it will be to remove them in the future. You can also use paper moistened paper towels and sponges to wipe the spills off of grates.
Season the stove grates
Although seasoning isn’t necessary, creating a non-stick layer will prevent food and liquids from adhering to the surface of your stove grates. This is how you season a stove grate:
- Wash the stove grates as you would in the Wash Stove Grates by Hand section.
- Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
- Bake your stove grates for about half an hour.
- Remove the grates from the oven and allow them to come down to room temperature.
- Coat the stove grates in any type of cooking oil. While doing this, crank your oven to 450°F.
- Bake the stove grates for an additional 60 minutes.