It is hard not to be allured by a shiny stainless steel grill. It is bright and clean and sparkling. However, after a few uses, your beautiful grill may not look so polished and new anymore. And that is due to the fact that not all stainless steel is created equally—just because they call it stainless doesn't mean it won’t stain, discolor, or even rust. You need to use some prevention, the right cleaners, and a bit of elbow grease if you're going to keep that stainless steel grill shiny and new looking.
Get a Cover
The first thing you need to do to keep your stainless steel grill looking new is to take care of it. This means you need a good quality grill cover. The cover comes off right before you turn on the grill and it goes back on as soon as it cools. This will keep the outdoor elements off your grill and keep it looking good.
A good grill cover lets moisture out but not in; a cover that lets moisture in is pretty much worthless and a cover that traps moisture inside is worse than no cover at all. A cover that lets moisture out is typically made from thick, heavy vinyl. Most times, the brand of grill you are buying will sell a grill cover to fit; you can also get covers from SunBrella, a company that focuses on all-weather materials. The cover should have a felt liner on the inside to absorb excess moisture and draw it away from the grill and protect the grill from the cover itself.
Now that you've got a cover, you will need to keep your grill clean. Grease and food particles will corrode even the highest quality stainless steel given enough time. This is particularly a problem as we tend to use more acidic marinades and sauces on the grill, which will damage your grill no matter how much money you spent on it.
You want to get into the habit of not only cleaning the grates of the grill before and after you cook but also cleaning the stainless steel surfaces. This means the shelves on the sides where you placed the dish of marinated meat (and inadvertently dripped the liquid), as well as the outside of the grill lid and any door fronts.
When it comes to cleaning stainless steel, you need to remember that this material will scratch easily—and when it does, you’re either facing using a power buffer or just living with it. So, it is important that you never use steel wool or metal brushes to clean your grill, and that you avoid using abrasive cleaning agents.
Kitchen appliance cleaners or stainless steel cleaners that you can buy in most stores are a good option. If you would like a little guidance, ask a salesperson at your local appliance store since they tend to know about maintaining stainless steel. One cleaner to look for is Bayes BBQ Grill Cleaner, which works as a cleaner and a protectant, so it not only cleans your stainless steel but also helps keep it that way. Otherwise, you can clean your grill with a soft cloth and a good quality non-abrasive cleaner.
There are stainless steel polishes, but remember anything that leaves behind a film or finish will be subjected to the heat of your grill. Stainless steel polishes can discolor under intense heat and make your grill look worse, not better.