How to Clean Your Grill

For anyone who uses their grill on a regular basis, it’s important to make sure it’s maintained properly so you can enjoy it whenever you like.  Fortunately for you, we have some great tips you can use right now to keep your grill in tip-top shape:

Prep Your Grill Before Cleaning

Before you get started there is some prep work to do.  First, make sure the grill is completely off (gas grills) or extinguished (charcoal or wood-burning grills) and cool to the touch.  Safety never takes a holiday after all.  Next, inspect all the elements and components that make up your grill.  If you saved it, it would also be a good idea to reference your owner’s manual.  Having a full understanding of how your grill works can make the job even easier.

Prepare Your Materials and Tools

In order to clean your grill properly, you’re going to need some supplies.  While there is a wealth of cleaning solutions on the market these days, a simple combo of soap and water works very well.  Then there are the items you’ll need to really do a deep clean on the parts and pieces.  A wire scrubbing brush is a must, as well as a large metal hand shovel or scooper (for charcoal and wood-burning grills) and some aluminum foil (more on that later), paper towels, and of course a bucket large enough to hold the grill components.

Cleaning Your Grill Grates

Fill a bucket with some warm water and add a bit of dish soap.  Agitate the soap with a hose to create some bubbles.  Remove the grates, along with the flavorizer bars, from the grill and let them soak in the water for a bit.  This will allow the soap to start breaking down the residue on the grates (whether stainless steel or enamel-coated) so it comes off easier.  After a good soak, it’s time to start scrubbing.  Using a wire scrubbing brush, go back and forth over the grates to remove all the leftover food, grease, and residue from previous use.

Dealing with the Heating Elements (Gas)

Depending on how often you use your grill, you should clean the heating elements about once a month.  Many are removable and can also drop right into the soapy water along with your grates.  Dirty burner tubes can actually negatively affect the temperature performance of your grill.  With your wire scrubbing brush, brush the top of each burner tube along the same line as the openings.

Remove the Ash (Charcoal)

Charcoal and wood-burning grills should be emptied after each use using a large metal scooper.  Be sure to dump the ash into a non-combustible container and make sure all the embers are out before you throw them away.

Clean the Interior Walls and Grill Lid

The inside of your grill housing is another area you can (and should) clean.  If you have a gas grill, be sure to cover the cooking elements with foil before scrubbing the walls and other areas with a wire scrubbing brush.  Have you ever noticed that black flaky material on the inside lid of your grill?  While it may seem like a coating that’s peeling off it’s actually created by grease and the last thing you want is for that stuff to fall onto your next double bacon burger or filet of sole.  Finish the job by wiping it all down with a damp towel.

Empty the Drip Tray

If your grill has a tray to catch grease and other by-products of cooking, it should definitely be cleaned regularly to avoid smoke and grease build-up that could create a potential fire hazard.  If you haven’t emptied it in some time, you may have to put a little elbow grease (pun intended!) to scrape out the goop, so make sure you have plenty of paper towels for this step.  If the drip tray is just too far gone, you could always opt to replace it or start using a disposable tin foil insert to protect the tray itself.

Don’t forget those Surfaces, Knobs and Other Parts

Primarily for gas grills, you may have prep surfaces on either side of the grill that have seen better days.  Using the same solution of soapy water, take some paper towels or microfiber cloth and wipe them clean.  The same holds true for other components like handles and temperature knobs.  Not only does it help them last longer it also makes the cooking experience much more pleasurable since the parts you have to actually touch are clean.

Rinse

Remove and rinse all the parts and pieces you scrubbed in the bucket with a hose or use a bucket of cold water.  When you’re done, place everything back inside the grill and you’re ready to fire it up again!

Bonus Tip

For gas grills, make sure those gas connectors are free of debris like spider webs, pollen and other yard waste.