How to Best Clean a Stainless Grill?

dwayneqJune 26, 2002

After turning my grill on to burn any leftover stuff to ash and then scrub I accidentally left it at high heat for several hours. Now my hood has streaks running the same direction as the grain and it has taken on a light golden color. Is this discoloration permanent or is there something that can be done to help bring back the bright stainless luster we all love?

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It's a surface color change that you might be able to sand and polish away. I have a good quality ss pot at home that is now kind of a pinkish bronze color for same reason (left it on the gas burner too long, water boiled away). I don't want to go to the bother of trying to polish out the discoloration so I live with it. Actually I kind of like it.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2002 at 3:59PM
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I read one post where someone had taken steel wool (fine) and used some WD-40 with it and lightly scuffed the SS in the direction of the "grain", so to speak. I haven't tried it but they said that it had worked well. You might want to try this in an inconspicuous place first and see.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2002 at 4:50PM
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I did the same thing last night. Not Several hours - but REALLY long. Taking steel wool to my new grill makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Perhaps something else will work before resorting to steel wool? Maybe more suggestions will be forthcoming.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2002 at 6:43PM
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I don't think my discoloration is as bad as yours but I grabbed a scouring pad/sponge combo. This has a blue pad that is plasticish. I used some Fantastic first with just a paper towel and the general discoloration came off. Then tried an area with the scouring pad and it worked.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2002 at 7:07PM
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FYI FWIW: Some of what I have learned about cleaning
is covered in my Member's Mark FAQ available at:

In a nutshell, I've been able to get the outside surfaces
pretty darn shiny with Bar Keeper's Friend and Stainless
Steel Magic.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2002 at 7:26PM
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I found Bar Keeper's Friend but not Stainless Steel Magic. :) I wonder what it is because surely there must be another product that has the same properties.

Alek - You sure did add more to your site! Great job. Can't wait to get over there and look around.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2002 at 9:36PM
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I've seen Stainless Steel Magic in a few places;
try looking in the cleaning supplies section - I think
I even saw it at Lowes and/or Home Depot.

A friend told me about this ... and at the risk of
sounding like a shill for them, it really *IS* magic;
I was amazed what it did to stainless which I had
always considered hard to clean well.


P.S. Thanx for the compliment on the web site - coming from
a Virco owner, that counts for extra!

Now just don't call me a Certified Grill Expert!!!! ;-)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2002 at 11:09PM
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Such language!! (CGE that is!)

    Bookmark   June 27, 2002 at 12:51AM
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I just finished converting my grill to NG (decided that now that the LP tank was empty and I had the conversion kit it was the right time). With this break in action I figured I should go ahead and clean up the outside. So based on Alek's suggestion I'm off to Home Depot to see if I can find Bar Keepers Friend and Stainless Steel Magic. I'll let you know how it worked for me.

BTW Alek , your site is well done and the FAQ section is really informative.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2002 at 1:55PM
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Dwayneq - Please let me know of you found the Stainless Steel Magic at Home Depot. I can't seem to find it here in other places. I have zero luck getting help when I call them re product availability.

Can't wait to hear if you are successful getting it back to 'new' condition. I fully predict I'll forget to turn off my grill again in the future. :)

    Bookmark   June 27, 2002 at 3:33PM
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I did not notice this posting earlier. I see other people are having discoloration of the grill hood. My wife has been cleaning our hood with the same products as Alek but she uses "Kitchen Magic" and Bar Keepers Friend. Kitchen Magic states on the can that it is for ss appliances. These are the two products that the appliance store recommended for use on our kitchen appliances.

It takes her about five minutes to get the grill back in shape. After watching her in action, I have promised her that our next house will NOT have ss appliances.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2002 at 9:35AM
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Zbull - Dwayneq left his grill on for several hours (sounds like full blast because he was cleaning it). I did the same exact thing - probably on the same day. LOL I'd say mine was on for about 2 hours. This is the only time I've gotten discoloration and it came off with some Fantastic.

I don't get any discoloration from normal use (after 1.5 months). Are you leaving it on for long periods of time at high?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2002 at 10:08AM
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The grill was on 425 for about 1.5 hours while I was at a basketball game. My wife put a turkey breast on the grill and thought the setting would cook at 350 but when we came home she realized the controls were not low enough. Could this have caused the discoloration?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2002 at 10:53AM
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The cheap thermometers they include with grills may not give accurate temp readings, so the temp may have been well over 425. Best to calibrate it with a glass oven thermometer first.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2002 at 1:57AM
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OK - I tracked down the Stainless Steel Magic to Home Depot and Bar Keeper's Friend to the local grocery store. I could not believe my eyes when I used the Bar Keeper's Friend on the discoloration on my hood! It removed ALL of the discoloration and left pure silver stainless. I had to scrub a little on the sides near the spit holes to remove the splatter, otherwise it was pretty effortless. I went over it afterwards with Stainless Steel Magic and now my grill looks like I just bought it (just don't look inside!). I am a believer in these two products!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2002 at 2:07PM
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Dwayne - What did you use to apply the Bare Keeper's Magic?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2002 at 3:41PM
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I used the sponge side of a scrub pad. On the tough splatter areas I used the scrubbing side. I finished by spraying on the SS Magic and wiping down with a dish cloth.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2002 at 9:44PM
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BKF= Bar Keeper's Friend

    Bookmark   July 1, 2002 at 6:38PM
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:) I knew that. Just tumbled out wrong - WAY wrong. "BARE Keeper's Magic". LOL

    Bookmark   July 2, 2002 at 1:52AM
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I work for a grill company and the product we recommend is called flitz and is sold at can restore the finish.Stainless steel lids can discolor if heated above 500 degrees.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2002 at 10:07PM
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Tracked down SSM at Lowes, but had trouble finding BKF in my local retailer. Fortunately they have a store locator at

Bar keepers friend worked perfectly to remove some grease and discoloration from the outside. Thanks for the tip

    Bookmark   July 7, 2002 at 3:38PM
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I cleaned mine today also. My Home Depot didn't have SSM but had another type of SS spray cleaner/polish. Both products worked great and my grill looks like the day I bought it. Thanks lpsage for the recommendation.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2002 at 4:29PM
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Pls don't confuse me with the "infamous" lpsage;
I don't claim to be a CGE - Certified Grill Expert! ;-)

Sounds like cleaning tips in FAQ available again at:

have been pretty handy for folks - glad to hear that!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2002 at 4:54PM
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To post a followup to my own post, I spent about 15 minutes
using BKF and SSM on my Member's Mark Grill today and it
turned out pretty sparkling - check it out at:


    Bookmark   July 11, 2002 at 2:17AM
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Alek, That really does look like magic! I am going to have to do the same to my Virco and see if it does as well. Had it for a month and a half and I have just wiped it down so far, so this should be dramatic. Nice pics!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2002 at 10:26AM
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Hi! I'm having problems cleaning the grates on my virco grill. I may be bringing it back to costco. I'm really not happy with the flat trays that are under the grates. Grease builds up as I;'m cooling burgers and flares up. Does anyone else have these problems? Please advise!!!
Thank you

    Bookmark   July 16, 2002 at 2:31PM
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The trays should not be flat. They have a slight drop on either side, but grease will run down and/or can collect with drippings and catch fire. You can look at the Members Mark it has ceramic all across and close to the grate. You then have the issue of grease build up at that point, but maybe that meets your needs/expectation better? The Grates are pretty simple design like all other grills. I honestly don't know what you will find as an improvement over stainless steel grates? See all the info on cleaning on this forum, or just burn it to ash and brush it off. There is at least one grill that has a ceramic element (like the rotisserie) at the bottom and a patented grease burning process. It is much more money, but hey if you got it!? See selection.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2002 at 6:00PM
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I also had the problem when I first bought it. Not now. And I do the burn technique. I love my grill!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2002 at 12:07AM
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I have read in another thread that soaking your grills overnight in a plastic bag with amonia soaked towels will get them sparkling. Has anyone tried this method and if so will the same thing work for the heat diffusers(flame tamers)?


    Bookmark   July 20, 2002 at 12:13PM
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I had asked the question on my own thread of how to gid rid of the dreaded wheat color my beautiful stainless steel MM grill had acquired over the past year of use. bsbbq responded and sent me to this thread. From here I went to alek's site,, and got the tip on the Bar Keepers Friend scrubbing powder. I picked some up at super Walmart this weekend, did my grill in about 20 minutes, and voila, the wheat is gone and the stainless steel is back. Thanks for the suggestions. Isn't it great how useful the internet can be.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2002 at 6:47PM
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I had good luck cleaning the discoloration and greasy gook off of my grill hood with a paste of baking soda. Very inexpensive, works well, no smell or residue after rinsing.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2002 at 5:23PM
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I have a two-day old Virco grill (giggle -- sorry I can't help it) The hernia operation is scheduled for next week (joking).

Well, down to business: Last night, I grilled some marinated chicken breasts and some marinated beef. As you can imagine, it left a lot of crud on the grates and on the flame-tamers. I have read the instructions about using a wet wire brush on the hot grates, but that didn't seem to do a heckuva lot.

What have others done to keep the stainless grates clean? (I assume the flame-tamers are a lost cause...)

I just love this forum!


    Bookmark   August 2, 2002 at 11:59AM
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I don't even worry about the flame tamers. Just burn them off every now and again as the build up dictates. As far as the grates, I turn my grill on high 5-10 minutes before I am ready to cook. When it is good and hot, I brush the grates clean with a wire brush. Your not going to get everything off, just the heavy stuff. That is about it. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2002 at 7:30PM
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Thanks, bsbbq..

The next time I cooked, I did just what you do, and it worked OK for prepping to cook more food as you said.

Later, I wanted to get more of the crusty stuff off the grids and I used a copper mesh pad (sort of like copper turnings made into a pad -- they used to be called "Chore Girl" but I guess that is no longer PC -- now come in a box of 2 under Scotch Bright label) That worked really well and got everything off except the gray/black discoloration on the grids, which I can live with.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2002 at 2:12PM
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Found a stainless cleaner/polisher at Home Depo Expo made by 3M. First I got most of the nubby stuff off the outside of my Virco (around where the rotisserie comes out the left and right sides of the grill, and by the back vents) using a paste of Barkeepers friend and water. Didn't get everything off, but enough.

Then sprayed a bit of the 3M, which makes sure to say it doesn't contain petroleum distolates (not sure why, maybe a combustable thing)and my baby looks brand new (from the front). Did the backsplash and front of my Dacor cooktop too. Looks a helluva lot better than my usual Windex cleanup.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2002 at 7:12PM
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