Stove grates help hold your pots and pans over the flame while cooking. They get dirty as the content of your pot spills and splatter, including unknown food debris and leftover grease. Can you simply toss the grates in the dishwasher when they get too dirty?
You can put stove grates in the dishwasher if they’re not made of uncoated cast iron. Cast iron stove grates aren’t designed to be submerged for too long because they’re prone to rust, unless they feature a protective coating. Cleaning cast iron grates outside a dishwasher is often safer.
The rest of the article will cover all you need to know about putting your stove grates in the dishwasher. You’ll also learn alternative ways to clean the units safely and effectively.
Why Wash Your Stove Grates in a Dishwasher?
Washing your stove grates in a dishwasher saves you time and helps conserve water. The hot water used in the cleaning process also ensures hygienic cleaning by eliminating germs and bacteria growing on the surface of grates following food spills.
Sometimes, washing the stove grates in a dishwasher is a logical choice. The grates might be larger than your sink, especially if you have a large stove.
If your sink can’t take the full length of the grates, your dishwasher can take all of them in one go, which can save you time and energy.
Why Washing Your Grates in the Dishwasher Is a Bad Idea
As we’ve seen above, washing your grates in the dishwasher is super convenient.
You get to relax while the appliance cleans off the grime from your delicious cooking instead of stressing over the cleaning process. However, many manufacturers warn against putting cast iron grates in a dishwasher for the following reasons:
- Cast iron grates regularly submerged in a dishwasher can lose their durability quickly due to rust.
- Some dishwashers may not properly hold stove grates, which will increase the risk of damage to both the grates and the dishwasher.
You may be wondering why stove manufacturers use cast iron for grates if they have these limitations. Well, cast iron remains one of the best options to use for several reasons. The material is durable, versatile, and guarantees fast and even heating at all times. Cast iron stove grates are also cheaper to manufacture compared to others.
When Can You Wash Stove Grates in a Dishwasher?
You can wash stove grates in the dishwasher if the manufacturer’s instructions allow it. Some stove grates are made of brass, while some cast iron options feature an enamel coating. Both designs can withstand regular wash in a dishwasher.
- Brass stove grates: They’re super durable and can withstand wear and tear a lot better than other metals. It’s why the material is popular on outdoor stoves and grills. Cleaning brass stove grates is easy because brass is highly resistant to stain and corrosion, even when washed with saltwater.
- Enamel-coated cast iron grates: They have a non-stick surface which means that food particles are unlikely to become caked on. When they do, you can toss the grates in the dishwasher. The enamel coating will give the cast iron a layer of protection from rust for a long time.
If your grates aren’t made of brass or enamel-coated cast iron, the manufacturer will likely include a warning against cleaning them in a dishwasher. Adhere to these instructions to ensure the longevity of your stove grates.
Alternative Methods of Cleaning Your Stove Grates
If your manufacturer doesn’t recommend dishwashing your stove grates, you can still clean them using other methods such as:
Use Cooktop Cleaning Wipes
Cooktop cleaning wipes are disposable, soft, and flexible wipes you can use to wipe down your grates once they’ve cooled down after your cooking. Most of them feature an abrasive side to scrub off cooked-on stains. You can use the abrasive side to scrub off the cooked-on stain first before wiping it down.
The MiracleWipes for Microwaves and Cooktops (Amazon) is a good example you can count on. It leaves a streak-free finish once you’re done.
Use Water, Soap, and Baking Soda
If you have some baking soda and dishwashing liquid at home, you can also combine them to give your stove grates a thorough wash. Here are the steps on how you can do it:
- Wait for the grates to cool down properly after you’re done cooking.
- Remove them from the stove.
- Create a solution of hot soapy water and dip the grates in them for at least 20 minutes. Avoid soaking the grates if they’re made of uncoated cast iron.
- For very dirty grates, create a baking soda paste by mixing one part of baking soda with one part of water and coat your grates with them. Wait for 20 minutes.
- Take out the grates from the soapy water and wipe them with a soft cloth. If you used the baking soda paste mixture, you have to rinse the paste off to avoid weakening the material of the grate.
- Use a bristle brush to remove any remnant of dried food debris and wipe the grates dry again.
- Return the grates to their position.
If you have uncoated cast iron grates, you can spray them with a grate cleaner. The solution will soften the grease and grime, allowing you to brush them all off. The Goo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner is a good product you can use here. It’s biodegradable and won’t affect the finish on your cast iron stove grates.
You can also use vinegar in place of baking soda for very dirty stove grates. Here’s how to do it:
- Mix one part vinegar with one part water.
- Pour the solution around the grates.
- Wait for 20 minutes.
- Wipe them down with a damp cloth.
- Use a dry cloth to dry off the grates.
Ammonia is an effective product for cleaning your stove grates. Order some of it from your nearby chemical store, mix one-part ammonia in one part water, and soak your grates in them.
You should insert the grates into zip-lock bags, pour the ammonia solution, and seal everything off. Otherwise, the ammonia will lose efficacy over time with exposure to oxygen.
Leave the grates in the bags for 8-12 hours before rinsing them off. The stains and debris will float away easily.
How to Keep Your Stove Grates Neat
After you’ve cleaned your stove grates, you have to take steps to keep them from getting too dirty again. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Don’t Allow Boil Overs
If you can keep foods from spilling while cooking, you can avoid the bulk of the dirt and grime on stove grates. Use pots and pans that are deep enough for the size of the food you’re cooking at all times. You should also avoid leaving the food open while cooking except when necessary.
Reducing the heat of the stove can also reduce the force of boiling.
Wipe Spills Immediately
Despite your best efforts, you may still experience food spills occasionally. Wiping it off immediately will give you little to clean in the end, if anything. Use a sponge and soapy water for the best results. Make sure the sponge is thick enough to avoid injury to your fingers from the hot grates.
Cleaning your stove grates regularly will save you the stress of needing to deep clean them. If the grates don’t get too dirty, you’ll probably never have to worry about risking the quality of the pieces by soaking them in water. You also won’t run the risk of damaging your dishwasher.
Clean the grates after every cooking or at least once every three days.
You can put stove grates in your dishwasher when you want to deep clean them. However, if you have uncoated cast iron grates, your manufacturer will warn against this type of cleaning. Anything that’ll require soaking the pieces in water for a long time isn’t good for them.
Use the other alternatives we’ve covered above to clean the grates and take a more proactive stance towards keeping your stove grates clean.