Question about rust


Former desparate mom
<span style='font-size: 11pt'>Anyone who lives in a humid climate, I need some help. How do you retard rust on your stainless grill? We seem to be going through them at a rapid rate. They are enclosed in storage when not in use but they rust quickly due to salt water and humidity.
I just bought a new one. Any suggestions on keeping the rust to a minimium?
Thanks. You would think Stainless meant stainless. </span>


Active Member
Fran, we have gone through several grills in the past 12 years or so. We've bought Weber and then a big hundreds of dollars-stainless. We still have rust. We still have to replace the guts on them, because after one summer and they rot out. It's insane. Everything is disposable anymore. husband's parents swore by their Weber. They had it for years. We got one and it lasted two. (**Spitting on floor!**)

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
My father has always always used Rustoleum - I think that's the right product.

husband bought something similar for our grill & our fire pit.


Former desparate mom
<span style='font-size: 11pt'>The folks who live around here said that there is nothing to stop the brown rust but that the stainless won't rot.
Can Rustoleum or rust retardant be used on something that gets hot? We use polyurethane on outside light fixtures to protect them. I'll have to read up when I got to the store.
Thanks. </span>


Active Member
But engines aren't made of stainless steel. And according to husband, that's the problem. It's handy having a chemist in the family!

According to husband, when stainless steel is heated to the temperatures found in barbecue situations, it loses its anti-rust properties. And there's really nothing commercially anti-rust you can put on it to increase its life in this situation because as soon as you heat it again - same problem. Engines are oily.

BUT - there are things you can do. We barbecue a lot, we have a Weber and an outdoor cast-iron pizza oven. The pizza oven is looking rusty but I haven't done anything about it short of keeping water from collecting in it. Rain isn't a problem if it drains out again immediately.

Back to the barbecue - remember, where we live it's generally warm and humid. We also live within range of salty winds. We don't get salt splashes but we do get salt build-up on our windows, especially in stormy weather. So we know about this problem.

What husband does - he doesn't clean the barbecue until he's about to use it again. Leaving a layer of grease over everything is the best protection. Keeping the Weber covered and out of the rain is also good - the Weber can collect water in the drum. The book we got also said that using timber to start the fire or run the fire in a Weber can burn it out fast, too - it's only designed for charcoal. We do use timber but we go carefully and make sure the fire is kept small. We clean the ash out next day when it's cold, but otherwise we leave everything greasy. In fact, if it's not greasy enough we oil it all down after use.

Stainless steel is pointless for barbecues because the 'stainless' bit costs extra and is worthless when it gets heated too much. Black iron (or cast iron) works much better to distribute heat; it holds heat better and generally cooks better; it's cheaper and easier to get; it can be 'seasoned' (think - the best Chinese woks) and will then last really well.

I remember my mother being furious when my father threw out her cast iron cookware because it was all black and had gone greasy. It had taken years of loving care and regular use to get it like that. I used to hate washing it up because you could never tell if it was clean and it always felt greasy. But I now know that it was absolutely the best for the job.
A seasoned bit of cookware is non-stick. It cooks really evenly and cools down quickly when it's out of the heat. It can still rust so you need to dry it off after use, but unless water is sitting on it it should be OK. If you get a few rusty spots you scrub them back with steel wool and re-season it.

To season cast iron - you wipe it over with cooking oil, then heat it. The oil burns on with a shiny finish like very thin layer of cinder. You may need to do it several times over. NEVER scrub off the 'burnt stuff' unless it's recognisably food residue. Whenever we get a new wok (and we haven't had to for 20 years) this is what we do. it stops looking pretty and polished; instead it looks back and charred, but it works brilliantly. Occasionally after a long spell of wet weather and heavy seas (such as we're getting right now) we might see the wok with a speckling of orange - we clean it off and re-season, (because I can't risk getting too much iron from the cookware into my diet - I'm allergic to iron) But generally you just clean the rust off with maybe a scourer or something slightly stronger, then don't bother to re-season, just go ahead and cook. The process of cooking also helps to re-season small spots.
If you get a look behind the scenes in the most authentic Chinese restaurants, you will NOT see the latest deluxe model of electric wok; instead you will see some large, cast iron monster looking like it's not been cleaned in decades. An old, black, sad thing with metal loops or maybe a wooden handle. It is absolutely the cheapest, and also the best, wok you can ever buy. It can take a fire like a blast furnace and convert it to a searing but even heat which cooks most efficiently. And when it's finished the job all it needs is a wipe down then to be left to dry back on the heat for a few minutes more.

I think rusty stainless steel - you treat as for cast iron: clean rust off, oil it and cook it.

My best kitchen knife is a small cobbler's boot knife. It's black iron and therefore being softer metal, can get a sharper edge than just about anything. Of course that edge always needs stropping after use, but if we clean the knife immediately, it never goes rusty. My mother's old butcher knives were just larger versions of this - black iron with wooden handles. They got thin with regular use and constant stropping, but always did a brilliant job. But if you ever used it and put it down, forgetting to clean it for even five minutes, it starts to discolour and can rust in a very short time. I've had visitors disrespect my knives and cut a tomato then left it - the knife was going rusty when I found it an hour later. Cutting a lemon can send it rusty in much less time. It can be that quick. Easy to fix - scrub it back with steel wool, strop it and wipe it with oil for extra special TLC.

Our garden tools are shocking for rust if we're not extremely careful. We clean them after use then oil them before wrapping them in the oily cloth we just used. I suggest you store your grill oiled with cooking oil, maybe wrapped in an oily cloth (cooking oil again). Then don't bother to wipe off the oil before use, it will just cook on and season it. And after use - don't clean off the black stuff!



New Member
yep Ditto the grease or oil. My dad used to keep his tld shiny bright by coating them with a very thin layer of oil after every use. We lived on Li so salt air was a real problem but dad's tools lasted and looked new for the 30+ years in that environment. -RM