Blog - What is Stainless Steel & How to Care For It

What is Stainless Steel and How To Care For It

It’s no secret that Napoleon makes amazing grills, many of which are made from high-grade, stainless steel. However, what is Stainless Steel, and how do you care for it? In this article, we will explore why your barbecue is made from stainless steel, and how to clean a stainless steel BBQ.


What is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is an environmentally friendly material (because it is 100% recyclable) that has many properties that make it perfect for exterior and culinary applications. Stainless steel is an alloy made from iron, has at up to 18% chromium, and 8% nickel with a little carbon mixed in. It is this combination of elements melded together that form a material that is ideal for use outside, for barbecues and grills, and so much more.

Blog - What is Stainless Steel - Iron
Blog - What is Stainless Steel - Chromium
Blog - What is Stainless Steel - Nickel
Blog - What is Stainless Steel - Carbon
Blog - What is Stainless Steel - Molybdenum
Blog - What is Stainless Steel - Manganese


Stainless steel has a low carbon content is easy to work with when it comes to fabrication, and is particularly resistant to rusting, which is a good reason why your barbecue is made of stainless steel. The chromium will bind oxygen to the surface of the stainless steel preventing it from oxidizing the iron. How’s that for a science-y way to say it won’t rust easily? That doesn’t mean that your Napoleon Grill is completely impervious to everyday use, and the environment that it’s living in. You need to know how to care for a stainless steel grill too.


Did you know that when talking about the thickness of steel, you refer to the gauge. More interesting though, is that the higher the gauge, the thinner the steel is. That means the lower the gauge number is, the thicker the steel is.


Why is my BBQ made of stainless steel?

Napoleon chose stainless steel for both the interior and exterior of their grills because it doesn’t need extra finishing or harsh chemicals to ensure longevity or cleanliness. The elements that make up stainless steel also contain no other chemicals that will leach into the food you are cooking. This makes it particularly great for culinary applications.


How to clean a stainless steel BBQ

Cleaning the outside of your Napoleon Grill is easy. We recommend cleaning your stainless steel BBQ for both aesthetic reasons and to make sure that your grill continues to resist corrosion as intended. Warm water and mild dish soap will easily wash your grill off. Use a soft, clean, cloth to gently wipe any grease and food spatter from your grill. Dry the grill, following the grain, with a soft cloth. When the grill is clean and dry, polish in the direction of the grain with stainless steel polish/protector. The more you use your grill, the more often it will need to be cleaned.


Not Actually Rust
Clean Stainless Steel


The environment is not friendly to grills. Sometimes discoloration shows up on your grill and looks like rust. Trust us, it isn’t. Dust, sand, chlorine from the pool can all land on your grill causing spots like the image on the left. Just follow the instructions above to remove them.


If your grill is located in a hot or humid environment, like near a pool or hot tub, or you live in a costal area, your grill may require more frequent cleaning. For more information about how the climate affects your grill, read our article about covering your grill.


Cleaning the interior of a grill is a little more intense. After taking the food you just cooked off the grill, crank it up to high for about five minutes, then use a grill brush to remove loose debris from the cooking grids and warming rack. This should be done after every grilling session. Alternately, you can preheat the grill to as hot as you can and brush the grids then, however, this leaves possibly corrosive food debris, like sauces and rubs, on the grids until the next time you grill. You will also have to wait for the grill to cool down if you are cooking something that requires a lower temperature.

Find out more about caring for your cooking grids.

Once your grill is safely cool, remove the cooking grids; you can wash these in the kitchen sink with dish soap, same with the sear plates. Gently scrape the stainless steel sear plates with a putty knife to remove any debris. Remove the sear plates and brush any debris and ash off the stainless steel burners, into the drip pan. Use the putty knife to push the debris and grease down into the disposable grease tray, then exchange the old grease tray for a new one.


Things to remember when cleaning your stainless steel BBQ

  1. Use a soft, clean cloth

  2. Use a non-abrasive cleaner, like mild dish soap, preferably something without dye and heavy perfumes

  3. Use warm, soapy water and a soft cloth to clean everything, especially places that have screen printing on them

  4. Too much soap may leave a filmy white residue when dry

  5. Your cooking grids and sear plates can be hand washed but are not dishwasher safe

  6. Never use anything corrosive or abrasive like bleach or chlorine, steel wool pads, or abrasive sponges

  7. Avoid oven cleaner on any part of the grill

  8. Over time, stainless steel does discolor to a golden brown hue due to heat. This is called a patina and is a occurs naturally over time

  9. Clean the drip pan and grease tray every 5 to 6 uses, or more if you are a prodigious griller

  10. Never line the drip pan, or grease tray with foil, sand, or anything else that can prevent the free flow of grease. This is a fire hazard.

Now that you know what stainless steel is and how to clean your stainless steel barbecue, you are ready to grill up a storm. You can find out more fantastic information on maintaining your grill for years to come by reading our articles about grill maintenance here. What is your best tip for keeping your grill squeaky clean?

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