Cleaning Bluestar cast iron top grates
Looking for help! I've had my Bluestar now for about six years and of course it gets dirty. I've tried various methods to clean the top grates and the under grates, even including running them through the dishwasher, but nothing I've tried so far has gotten them back to even remotely factory clean. All those pointy parts and little crevasses, along with the weight of the things, make scrubbing them a huge job. So I was wondering if any of my fellow owners had come upon a magical solution that works, like some chemical that dissolves away the grease and grime and leaves the grates looking like new. :) A lot to ask, but there must be some good ideas out there.
John we chose our BS knowing the cast iron burners and grates would never require the same fussy level of wiping and polishing on a dat to day basis that our former s.s. range required to look 'presentable'.
Go into any commercial kitchen with open cast iron burner cookstoves and the cooktop aesthetic is one of variable dull grey/black metal, flame tinged, bit sooty, etc. but not a designer finish. Knowing that, the patina the cast iron takes on is a badge of honest wear rather than pampered luxury, realism instead of veneer.
That being our mindset we still believe in sanitation and general cleanliness so we do wipe up spills and splatters with a damp cloth after cooking. Serious spills like boiled over ice cream base or long simmered stock that takes on a baked on appearance warrants a run thru the dishwasher on a heavy scrub cycle, pulled out before the extended drying cycle, hand wiped and lightly coated with a quick wipe of cooking oil, then reassembled and heated for a half minute by firing the burner to make sure it really is dry. If I used too much oil I will wipe that off with a cloth but generally the result is a pretty clean assembly, no signs of crud or rust.
We use our BS frequently for stir frying taking the grate off and nesting our round bottom wok into the burner well. Great high temp performance but inevitably and inherently messy, splattering oil radiating outward from the wok by at least a foot in all directions. Clean up can be as simple as immediate wipe up (damp cloth then dry cloth) approach or for larger, more saturated messes, I use a commercial degreaser (from local hardware store cleaning supply) which I apply to the disassembled grates and burners in the sink, allow it to dissolve the stir fry residue for a couple minutes then rinse with hot water and either manually scrub with bristled brush or run thru dishwasher routine.
Results after 14 months of pretty intense use is not a pristine designer surface but one that is clean, reasonably uniform with a patina that literally is one of seasoned cast iron.
Some time ago, Trevor at Eurostoves where I bought our BS advocated using a scrubby pad and then giving a light coat of oil to get a shine to it. I generally hand scrub when necessary, using a tooth brush for the tight areas.
They are porcelain coated but not the shiny style porcelain. Our BS has burners that have started to take on a patina resembling a well used and seasoned cast iron pan. And no, it does not look like the day we uncrated and installed it. We/I do wipe the top and burners down with a damp soapy cloth after cooking anything that splatters and that keeps the serious cleaning to a minimum.
I have used a product Dawn Dissolve that works well and is not harsh like oven cleaner. I have also soaked the grates in ammonia, hot soapy water, tried the Mr Clean pads, etc. I have honestly found that wiping the burner grates as soon as possible before the splatters cook in makes the job much easier. In other words, after each use, sometimes during use. I hope this helps.
I figure after you've had any range for six months it will never look like new again. But we've tried to keep up with the BS we bought last year by putting a grate or two into every load of dishes. Aside from that, scrub brush and soap will get them clean but because they have a dull finish they'll always look slightly worn, no?