Cooking takes a lot out of griddles. Being exposed to all the heat, moisture, and food debris eventually affects the griddle’s performance and dims its shiny surface.
A Blackstone griddle is made of iron, automatically making it susceptible to corrosion. While food debris is easy to clean, rust is a bit more stubborn. If you leave it without treatment, it’ll eat up the surface, rendering it useless.
This article will show you how to clean Blackstone griddle rust. Whether you have an orbit sander, a grinder, or none of those, we have solutions for you.
What Does Rust Do to a Blackstone Griddle?
When a Blackstone griddle becomes rusty, you’ll notice a reddish-brown stain forming on the top surface. This stain usually seems flaky and ruins the non-stick property of your grill.
Not only that, but the flaky rust stains can also end up in your food, which is far from sanitary.
Research proved that ingesting a small amount of rust can’t endanger your health. However, if you consume it in large amounts, it can cause plenty of health problems.
Besides, rust ruins the flavor of your food and causes it to stick to the grill. It’s generally the last thing you want on something you use for cooking.
Luckily, cleaning rust stains from Blackstone griddles isn’t too difficult. With simple materials and a few hours, your griddle will look brand new again.
How to Clean Blackstone Griddle Rust
The method we’re using here is the recommended method by Blackstone. We think it’s an easy and effective way to remove rust from your griddle without using abrasive tools that may ruin the surface.
You don’t need any power tools in this method. Let’s dive into it!
Step One: Get All the Products You’ll Need
Here are the products that you’ll need for this method:
- A metal scraper
- Cooking oil of your choice
- Lots of paper towels
- Heat-resistant gloves
- Grill stone
- Flax oil or extra virgin olive oil
We’ll be heating the Blackstone griddle several times in this process. So, don’t skip on the heat-resistant gloves.
As for the grill stone, you can find it easily online or in the barbecue aisle at your local store. It’s better to buy a large one so you can cover a larger surface while scrubbing the griddle.
You can buy an extra small one as well, so you can get into the corners and the top sides easily.
Try to opt for a high-quality grill stone when buying. A low-quality one will turn into powder quickly and leave noticeable particles on the griddle surface.
Another thing that will help with this problem is to buy a dark-colored one. Avoid white and light gray grill stones.
If you don’t want a grill stone, you can use steel wool or medium grit wet/dry sandpaper.
Step Two: Loosen the Rust
Before we get into sanding or scrubbing, we need to loosen the rust stains and any debris stuck on the grill.
To successfully do this, all you need to do is to turn your griddle on high heat. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then turn it off and let it cool.
The heat will loosen up all the rust and make it easier to come off.
When the griddle is cool enough, scrab off the rust and debris on the surface with your metal scraper. Try to get as much rust off as you can in this step.
You can use a metal spatula if you don’t have a metal scraper. However, it won’t be as effective.
Remember to avoid using water. If the rust refuses to come out, you can lubricate it with some cooking oil. Water will only make the process messier.
Once you’re done with scraping, wipe off the rust debris with paper towels.
Step Three: Scrub With a Grill Stone
Many people do this step the wrong way. They scrub the griddle dry with no oil, making the grill stone powder up easily.
To avoid this mistake, pair up your grill stone with any cooking oil.
Pour a generous amount of the oil, then use your grill stone to scrub in small, circular motions.
Repeat this process until you’re satisfied with the results. Don’t forget the top sides and the corners. A smaller grill stone can fit into these places better than a larger one.
You’ll still have to add oil if you’re using steel wool or sandpaper instead of grill stones. The only difference is that you might have to scrub with extra force.
Keep in mind that you’ll need at least medium-grit sandpaper for it to work. A fine-grit one won’t make much difference.
Step Four: Wipe Off Everything
Remember when we said you’ll need lots of paper towels? Well, here’s when you need them.
You’ll use paper towels to wipe everything off of the griddle. Once you feel that all the oil has come off, apply more and wipe again.
The oil prevents the rust from sticking to the surface and makes it easy to come off. Repeat this step as many times as needed until all the debris is gone off the surface.
You might find a spot that you missed with the grill stone. Don’t panic; apply some oil and scrub with the grill stone or sandpaper. Then, wipe off with paper towels.
Once you notice that nothing is coming off on the paper towel, this is when you know that all the rust debris has come off.
Step Five: Season Your Griddle
Seasoning your griddle is essential for cleaning it and using it afterward. All you need to do is apply oil to the surface and turn on your grill for about 30 minutes.
Start by applying a thin layer of Blackstone’s Cast Iron Conditioner to the surface and spread it around with a paper towel roll.
The best alternative for Blackstone’s seasoning conditioner is flax oil. You can also use extra virgin olive oil, canola, or vegetable oil. However, the Blackstone conditioner is the obvious better choice because it was made for that purpose.
After spreading the oil on the surface, turn your griddle on medium-high heat and leave it on for about 30 minutes.
The oil will start to smoke at this point, and the surface will blacken. This is part of the process, so don’t panic.
After the duration ends, turn the heat off and let the surface cool down. Then, repeat the entire seasoning process three to four times until you have an even, matte-black surface.
Remember to wear heat-resistant gloves in this step, as the griddle might still be hot on your hands.
For the seasoning process to work successfully, it’s better to work in thin layers rather than pour a large amount of oil at once. It’s time-consuming but worth it.
Step Six: Apply Oil for Protection
Once you’ve seasoned your griddle and cooled it down, apply a thin layer of oil to the surface. This thin layer of oil will act as a protective layer from corrosion, preventing the humidity from eating through the surface.
Every time you use the griddle, you’ll have to repeat this step. Make it a habit to apply some oil to the surface and spread it with a roll of paper towel after each use.
It’ll prevent the surface from rusting again and keep it shiny. On top of that, it’ll keep the food from sticking and leaving stains.
In this step, you can use any cooking oil of your choice.
What if You’re Dealing With a More Stubborn Rust Stain?
Unfortunately, if you let corrosion eat up your griddle’s surface without treating it in its initial state, the previous method might not work well.
In this case, many people like to use an orbital sander or a wire wheel. Don’t start with something too abrasive to avoid damaging the surface.
Like the previous method, you’ll heat your grill first to loosen up the rust. Then, follow up with a metal scraper to scrape as much rust debris as possible off the surface.
You don’t need to apply oil before sanding here. Instead, you can work on the surface while it’s dry.
After you’re done with the sanding step, pour some vinegar on the surface and scrape again with a ball of steel wool.
Vinegar works well in stripping off rust layers and is a good sanitizer for your griddle. But make sure not to overuse it because it’s still abrasive.
Wipe everything off with paper towels and start your seasoning process as normal.
This method should do it for you and leave your griddle looking all shiny once again.
What Does Seasoning a Blackstone Griddle Mean?
Seasoning is what gives your griddle that dark, non-stick coating. It’s the process of creating the anti-corrosion layer of your griddle.
That layer doesn’t only protect your griddle but also adds that distinctive, delicious grilled flavor to your food.
By putting oil on your griddle and turning it on high heat, you burn off the organic compound of the oil. This breaks down the liquid, causing it to oxidize, especially with the presence of a good catalyst. In this case, it’s the iron of your griddle.
After the oil oxidizes, it combines into larger molecules with carbon and other impurities. Then, it creates a strong, impermeable layer on the surface of your griddle. This process is called polymerization.
The tough layer adheres to the pores or crevices of your griddle’s surface.
When the oil dries out, the polymerization process is done. However, don’t turn off your griddle at that stage.
It’s better to wait for the oil to carbonize as well. This is what creates the non-stick, matte-black surface.
Oil carbonizes when you pass its smoking point. That’s why you must leave the griddle on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes to form that black layer.
How to Protect My Blackstone Griddle From Rust
Before we tell you how to protect your Blackstone griddle from rust, you must first understand how rust forms on it.
See, your Blackstone griddle is made of iron. When iron is exposed to oxygen plus water, a chemical reaction called oxidation takes place.
As a result of this chemical reaction, iron converts to iron oxide, which is the flaky reddish-brown layer you see on your griddle’s surface. Unfortunately, iron in this state loses many of its properties and becomes fragile.
So, if your griddle stone is exposed to moisture while being out in the air, it’ll rust. The same goes if you store it in a room with high humidity.
Now that you know how rust forms, let’s see how you can protect your griddle from corrosion:
- Seasoning is your number one friend. It’s important to season your griddle every time you resurface it or scrub the protective layer off of it.
- After each use, apply some oil to the surface and wipe it down with a paper towel. This prevents air and water from eating up the top surface of your griddle.
- Store your griddle in a cool, dry area with low humidity.
- Cover your griddle with a canvas cover to protect it from rain and moisture.
- Clean your griddle after every use and avoid leaving food debris on it.
- Check your griddle’s condition at least once a month if you don’t use it frequently. It’s best to deal with rust in its initial state than wait until it eats up the entire top surface of your griddle.
Here you have it; a complete guide on how to clean Blackstone griddle rust. The two methods we shared above work equally well; you can choose between them depending on your griddle’s state.
There are also alternatives to most tools required, so you won’t find it hard to collect them. Remember to keep your griddle out of humid rooms and season it after every thorough clean.
It shouldn’t be too hard to keep it form rusting if you live in an area with a dry climate.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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