How to Clean Your Grill

June 17, 2022 12:00 PM CDT
Written by Emily C / April 3, 2022

Grilling season is upon us which means it’s time to get outside and scrub that grill. Before you start cooking, it is very important to make sure that all of the delicious food you made last year is long gone before you make anything for this season. The reason? Virtually every surface of your grill are covered with carbon deposits. These deposits harbor bacteria as well as, in excess, can cause the grill to heat unevenly, not reach full operating temperature, and gas burner tubes can prematurely fail. Here’s how you can prevent that!

What do you need?

For the best cleaning and scrubbing, here is what we recommend:

  • Long handled wired brush
  • Wire bottle brush
  • Five gallon bucket
  • Warm water
  • Dawn dish soap
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scouring sponges
  • Cotton rags

Make sure while cleaning your grill to avoid using chemicals. Instead, all you need is some good olf fashioned elbow grease. Note: If your grill has stainless steel exterior surfaces, a dedicated stainless steel cleaner will go a long way towards making it sparkle.

The Process:

The first step in cleaning a gas grill is to fire it up, close the good and let it come to a full temperature. Let the grill sit for at least 30 minutes for the extreme heat to singe off any stuck on food or grease. Then dip the wire brush into a bucket of warm, soapy water and scrub off all of the carbon from the grates. When you’re finished scrubbing, turn off the gas, then disconnect and remove the propane tank. Let the grill cool completely. For a charcoal grill, simply dump the old charcoal into a metal container and scrape away any caked on charcoal dust and debris with a putty knife. 
Once the grill is cooled, remove all of the grates and flavorizer bars and submerge them in a tub of warm, soapy water and let them soak for 30 minutes. Then remove anything else from the grill that you can easily take off such as the burner control knobs, warming racks, and grease trays. Stripping your grill down is the best way to give it a deep clean. 

With all of the racks and trays removed, the inside firebox is exposed and ready to be cleaned. Start by putting an empty bucket beneath the firebox, directly below the grease tray opening, to catch the soapy water and debris you flush out, then using a plastic putty knife, scrape off any caked on grease from inside. Next, use a wet/dry vacuum to help collect any of the remaining loose debris. We recommend that once the firebox is clean, rinse it out with your garden hose. 

Finally, after the grates and panels have all been soaked, take them out and scrub them with the wire brush. If you find any stubborn grease, mix a paste of white vinegar and baking soda and apply it directly to the worse caked on spots. Make sure to rinse all surfaces thoroughly to avoid rusting. This is also the best time to check the grates for any chips, which could eventually lead to rust. Make sure to inspect your burners for signs of corrosion or anything blocking the row of flame emitting holes. Make sure to take a wire bottle bush to these holes as these tubes are an inviting space for spider to lay eggs. 

Once the inside is all clean, scrub the outside of the grill with dish soap and water with a large kitchen sponge. Make sure to note that steel wool, metal sponges, and coarse scouring pads can cause scratches, so try to avoid using them on finished surfaces. To finish up, stainless steel cleaner works great for that final shine, just note that it will not remove heavy build up or baked on gunk. If there are any tough greasy spots, try using vinegar and wipe down with plain water. 

When the scrubbing is done, make sure to put back any of the other pieces you removed, wipe down the grates with a light coating of vegetable oil. Then finally, close the hood and fire up the grill for at least 15 minutes and then turn it off. This helps burn off any of the cleaning residue, season the grates, and confirm you reassembled everything properly.