Why Do Commercial Grills Rust? The Reasons May Suprise You

When getting a commercial steel grill the general thought seems to be that they won’t rust, however, commercial grills are made of steel or cast iron, which makes them vulnerable to rusting.

It is quite understandable that a piece of equipment simply can’t last forever and in this post, we will help you to understand why to do commercial grills rust even if they are made from highly durable steels.

In short: the reason why commercial grills rust is that the metal will be exposed to heat, water, and moisture over time. This causes it to corrode from the inside out, leading to rusting and flaking on the surface of the grill.

However, there are many variables that affect rusting further and the answer is a little more complicated, if you are thirsty for knowledge and how to prevent your grill from rusting, you should definitely read what we have to say and the advice below!

First, let’s see why do commercial grills rust in a more in-depth way!

Rusting Process

Rusting is the degradation of steel and iron and it occurs when oxygen combines with iron in a process called oxidation. Rust causes damage to metal objects, especially those made out of ferrous metals, and you can identify rust easily from its red or orange-brown coloration, but that’s not always how it looks (it may be black as well!).

Let’s see more closely what makes your grill rust in a commercial kitchen environment!


High-temperatures don’t cause rusting perceive, however, you might be surprised to learn that rusting does play a role in speeding up the rusting process. In fact, it helps water penetrate the surface and spread more quickly.

You shouldn’t worry about this aspect when working in a kitchen because well… Grills tend to be hot and there’s nothing that will change that so keep on grilling!

Water & Humidity

Water and moist conditions are the most known factor when talking about rusting and when working in a commercial kitchen, things tend to get moist very quickly from all the steam and heat.

How does this affect my grill, I don’t soak it overnight in the water? Well, you hopefully don’t, however when you think about it, all ingredients contain water and when grilling them, moisture will evaporate from the ingredients so there is moisture touching your grill nearly all the time.

Again, this isn’t something to worry about because there’s really nothing you can do about it and the humidity isn’t so severe that the grill won’t rust away in a year. Nonetheless, it is a factor in the long game that will result in the grill rusting.

Grease & Fat

Grease and fat can cause rust to form on your grill. This may make it harder to clean the next time you use it, as well as being a fire hazard. A thick layer of grease and fat over the griddles will also attract a lot of floating dust and dirt, therefore when covered in that, it won’t be as sanitary if used after proper cleaning.

As we can see there are too many factors that will affect and accelerate the rusting process but do not worry my friend because there are ways to prevent or at least slow the rusting process and the steps are really worth doing.


A commercial grill is an essential part of any establishment that serves food. For this reason, it’s important to take proper precautions when cleaning it, especially if you are working in a restaurant or other food-serving business. Below you can see a helpful video on how to clean your grill/charbroiler

Oh, by the way, you might want to check out our recommended Grill Brush and Grill Cleaner that are up for the task!


Grease and fat from food are often confused with the oiling of the grill grates, therefore there are debates claiming that grease is good for the grill and won’t affect rusting.

However, when the grill is rubbed with a thin coat of oil over the grates right after using it, it will protect them from grease and fat buildup for future uses.

Enamel Coating

One of the most important parts of keeping a grill in a good condition is to surface it with an enamel coating. This will help prevent rusting, corrosion, and other damage that can occur during regular and heavy use.

These are the reasons why commercial grills do rust and the best ways on how to make the process a lot longer, in addition to rust prevention oiling and enamel coating are a great way to make the grilling more safe and hygienic!

There are certainly more questions after reading this post and we are going to give short answers to some of them that might have come to your mind. Without further blabber let’s answer the questions!

Is It Ok To Grill On Rusted Grates

Yes, grills with rusted grates are still safe to use. It’s important to remember that rust is only a surface problem. The metal might not look great and should be replaced if it becomes too damaged however, it won’t affect its function unless there are holes or other cracks in the material.

Is There A Health Risk With Rusted Grates

The rust on the grill grates is not a health concern, but keeping an eye out for any signs that it might be growing and spreading will help avoid any future problems. So remember to clean it properly at this point.

When Should You Replace Your Grill Grates?

It’s time to replace your grill grates when they are too old for their original purpose, therefore when you notice that the bars have rusted badly and you can’t remove them it is time to get a new set.

Further cooking with seriously rusted grill grates will only worsen the problem and make it harder to get a clean outcome every time.


There you have it, the rusting process of a commercial grill and why does it happen. Don’t be too concerned about rust because it is inevitable in the end but be sure to take proper care of it and we have no doubt that it will last for decades.

Leave a comment below if you found this article helpful, would like to see similar content in the future, or just to share a story about your experiences with commercial grill rusting and your steps to prevent it.

Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS. While I love writing about food, I also enjoy peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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