I have heard one can use a rusty BBQ grill to make BBQ as it will burn away rust, I wanted to find out if anyone has ever tried it and if is it safe to use or not. My BBQ grill has been out in open for a year.

So, how do I clean a rusty BBQ grill to use it again safely?

  • 1
    Rust is an oxide, it won't burn away.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 14:24
  • Food safety isn’t a primary topic here, have you considered asking the folks over au Seasoned Advice?
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 19:07
  • @Stephie: there, I fixed it :)
    – virolino
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 12:28

3 Answers 3


This is actually a good question. So, the simple answer is... there isn't enough rust on the grill to cause any issues, unless the rust is flaking off in chunks and you eat those chunks.

There are many people that use cast iron pots to cook in. These also rust over time. When needed the pot is brought out of storage, a metal scourer is used, and the pot is scrubbed. After this the pot is washed with soap and water and is ready for use.

Cooking food in a pot will allow for more of the rust to be absorbed into the food in question than just laying your food on the grill.

What I do to clean my grill is, take a steel brush and give it a good rub to remove any loose debris. Wash it with soap and water. Give it a light coating of oil and it's good to go.

Hope this helps you.

  • That does sound like a very sloppy way of treating the pot. A cast iron pot is usually seasoned, which builds a protective layer and avoids rust. Head over to Seasoned Advice (Cooking SE) to learn more about the topic.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 10:22
  • Do you have sources about how much rust would be safe or other reliable info?
    – Stephie
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 10:23
  • Hi @Stephie, here is a link advising the same procedure I described link "If rusting does occur in the future, scrub the rust off with wire wool before repeating the curing process above" There are many different types of pots and usages. Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 15:19
  • @Stephie some links for small amounts of rust being safe Fox News Cooking Stack Exchage Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 15:24
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    @virolino So I will normally clean the Grill directly after use, if you leave it then the crusty bits get very hard and its a mission to clean. The oil coating is more for preventing/delaying the onset of rust. Its not needed if you are cleaning it right before cooking. Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 9:35

I would cover the grill with a copper grill mat. They are easier to clean than a grill too.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Dec 17, 2022 at 10:41

Consider that traditional iron-supplement medicine is orange juice with rusty nails left soaking in it for a few hours (remove nails before drinking).

As for the grill, scrape off the loose rust, oil it, and enjoy.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ingesting rust in small amounts will not harm your health (unless you have a rare disease called hemochromatosis, which causes your internal organs to retain iron). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions against inhaling large amounts of rust (usually a workplace hazard rather than a kitchen one), which can cause respiratory issues. In fact, iron oxide is used as a safe, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved food coloring. In other words, you probably won’t be harmed if you eat food baked in rusty pans or cooked with rusty water… but if you have a choice, why would you want to?
Risks Of Using Rusted Cookware.

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