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Getting Ready For Grilling Season: How To Clean A Grill [2021]

by Outdoor Cooking Pros May 29, 2021

blue and white rubber gloves

Keeping your BBQ grill clean and in its best condition is key to enjoying any outdoor parties you've got lined up.

Luckily, if you've diligently cleaned your grill after each cooking session, giving your grill a deep clean before the grilling season won't be too difficult.

With our expert step-by-step guide on how to clean a gas grill and a little elbow grease, you'll be ready to enjoy cooking and eating great barbecue in no time!

What You'll Need

  • Spray Bottle
  • Water
  • Paper Towels
  • Cloth Rags
  • Gloves
  • Grill Brush
  • Putty Knife
  • Grill Cleaner or Homemade Solution (dish soap, vinegar and/or baking soda with water)
  • Garden Hose
  • Vacuum (recommended) or Hand Broom & Dustpan

Grill Brush Alternatives

A grill wire brush can be made from steel or nylon that can be easily replaced by a wire or nylon scrubber/sponge— we recommend a NYLON BRUSH to gently scrape off any gunk in hard-to-reach spots.

While a steel brush or scrubber will be more abrasive against more stubborn stains, some people are concerned about steel brush bristles falling off and getting into their food.

grill being used outdoors

These safety hazards are also why people prefer to make their own solutions at home rather than use store-bought cleaners that could possibly contain harmful ingredients [1].

Cleaning Your Gas Grill

The better you treat and use your grill when cooking, the easier and faster it will be when you clean your grill! So here are a few great tips to make it easier for you when you use and clean your grill:

  • Season your grill by applying a light coating of vegetable oil on the cooking grate.
  • To prevent flare-ups, WIPE OFF any leftover grease after grilling.
  • Regularly check and make sure your grease collection tray doesn't get too full.
  • Cover your grease collection tray or drip pan with aluminum foil when cooking meat with lots of excess grease.

yellow spray bottle held by hand with purple glove

After each use when the grill is still a little warm, you should try and get rid of as much food particles or debris from the cooking grates as possible with your wire brush/grill brush alternative.

Remember, making sure to take these steps after each use will not only make the deep cleaning process of your grill much easier but will keep it working well for a long time.

Step 1: Cleaning Grill Grates & Other Components

If you're doing a deep clean, you'll want to preheat your grill first to help burn and dry up any stuck-on food.

  1. Put on gloves (no dirty nails!) before using your brush to gently scrape off the dry bits.
  2. Hot grates will be more prone to damage, so once you've scraped off as much as you can, remove them from the grill to let them cool completely.
  3. After this, you can disconnect your gas source.
  4. Once cooled, soak the grill grates in your cleaning solution or soapy water.
  5. You should be able to scrub off any leftover debris on the cooking grates, then you can just rinse and dry them.
  6. Depending on your gas grill model, you can choose to clean up the grates and other detachable components like metal plates on or off your grill— whichever way is simplest (Most components will be cleaned the same way as the grates).
  7. HOWEVER, for burners and burner tubes, be sure to brush them in a parallel direction to prevent debris from falling through or getting stuck where you don't want them.
  8. You'll also want to keep the burner tubes on the grill while brushing them.
  9. It's best to use a brush to clean all the nooks and crannies along the burner tubes.
  10. For cast iron grill grates, DO NOT SOAK to prevent rusting. You can simply wash them with water and dish soap, then use a cloth to wipe it dry.

Step 2: Cleaning the Body & Lid

  1. Clean from the top down, starting with the lid. This is to prevent any more debris from dirtying up a spot you've already cleaned.
  2. Use a putty knife to scrape off any hardened grease or oil (as much as you can) along the sides of the body and lid.
  3. You'll also want to make sure to clean the grease trap that connects the drip tray to your grease bucket. Blockages can cause spillage and grease fire.
  4. You can use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe off the thermometer probe in your grill.
  5. Use your vacuum to suck up the debris you knocked off into the bottom of your barrel.
  6. Next, spray your cleaning solution all over the main components. Then you can use your scrubber to rub the solution in (we suggest a very fine steel wool).
  7. If you choose to use a degreaser, apply and scrub it in first before washing with a cleaning solution or soapy water.
  8. Make sure to scrub thoroughly and rinse everything well with the hose and leave it to dry under the sun!

Cleaning Charcoal Grills & Pellet Grills

A charcoal grill will be cleaned similarly but much more easily because it is usually only composed of the grates, body, and lid. There's no need to worry about burners or burner tubes.

Cleaning a pellet grill is similar to cleaning gas grills, you'll just need to pay special attention to different parts with lots of build-up— like the vents and chimney— when scrubbing.

grilled sausages and patties on a grill

If you use anything like ceramic briquettes when you grill, you can clean this with your wire brush then wiping with a dry cloth— NEVER WET, or it will cause it to crumble.

Many brands and stores offer tutorials on how to clean their particular grill models, so be sure to look them up and check them out!

Step 3: Cleaning the Grill Cabinet

  1. Before replacing the propane tank, vacuum the insides of the grill cabinet to get rid of any fallen debris.
  2. Wipe the insides down with damp paper towels or cloth.

Step 4: The Outside & Drying Your Grill

  1. Rinse and wipe the outside.
  2. Use a microfiber cloth to prevent scratching any stainless steel components.
  3. You can now reconnect your gas source and turn it on to help dry off your grill and cook off any remaining cleaning solution.

Maintaining Your Grill

Just because grills were made to withstand extreme temperatures, that doesn't mean they can be treated carelessly.

So make sure to use a grill cover if your grill is kept outside and use gentler tools like a plastic putty knife and nylon scrubber as much as possible, especially on stainless steel.

Conclusion

Like we mentioned before, cleaning your grill regularly will keep it working well for years— if you liked our tips and tutorial, or have any of your own know-how tips, feel free to share and let us know!

Outdoor Cooking Pros
Outdoor Cooking Pros


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