Can You Put Grill Grates Into The Dishwasher?

Grilling is one of the best methods of cooking. It's a staple not only in kitchens but in backyards, too. According to Traeger, you'll find a grill in 60% of American households, and more than one in at least 30% of those households. Grills are synonymous with savory flavors, making them an ideal choice for cooking up your steaks, hot dogs, and hamburgers. You can even put together some incredible grilled vegetable dishes.

Of course, the utmost care is required to keep your grilling game strong, and that involves looking after those dastardly grill grates. After consecutive uses, they gather up quite a collection of food clumps, which can be dangerous for future use. "The gunk that collects on your grates is mostly grease and it becomes combustible at high temperatures," advises Steve Swayne, head of cooking performance at Whirlpool Institute of Kitchen Science (via AARP). So it's important to thoroughly clean your grates, but is the dishwasher an acceptable option for your expensive equipment?

Why the dishwasher is a no-go for your grill grates

There's not so "grate" news for those seeking to throw their grill grates into the dishwasher and be done with it. According to Weber, the tremendous amount of heat produced by the cycles of water and air in a dishwasher is likely to cause your grill grates to warp. That's not the only damage that can be done, as steel and cast iron grates are very susceptible to rusting with moisture exposure, per How Stuff Works. If your grill grates are made up of a material like stainless steel, then you won't have to worry about rusting, but they'll still be prone to the warping effect.

The damage will go both ways, as your dishwasher itself can sustain serious damage in the process of cleaning grill grates. The old clumps of food and grease glued to them can clog up the appliance and cause a malfunction. But if you can't clean them safely in the dishwasher, then how should you go about maintaining your grill grates?

How should I clean my grill grates?

Dishwashers aside, you only need a good grill brush, heat, and some elbow grease to optimally clean your grill, according to Derek Wolf, founder of Over the Fire Cooking (via NBC News). You'll need a sturdy brush built specifically for grills, as the high temperature can cause the bristles on weaker brushes to melt or fall off. Should you find yourself without one, you can use a ball of aluminum foil instead, which is a handy substitute if you're in a pinch, according to CNET

Preheat the grill prior to cleaning to loosen up any old food gunk, and make sure to dispose of any remnants responsibly — as rinsing them down the sink will inevitably cause a clog. As with most things, preventing build-up is the best method of cleaning, and you can achieve that by lightly coating your grill with oil before cooking each time and removing food residue after each use. If maintained well, you can go many years before it's time to replace your grill grates.