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The Best Way to Clean a Grill

Aug 4, 2020 | Meal Planning | 2 comments

How to clean a grill

Learn the best way to clean a grill so you can fire it up and enjoy some summer cookouts!

I don't know anyone who doesn't love grilling (or at least love it when someone else grills…) Cleaning the grill is another story though.

It's easy to put off or forget about cleaning the grill because it's not staring you in the face like a dirty stove would be. This is definitely an out of sight, out of mind situation.

But there's nothing worse than getting all ready to grill up a delicious dinner and then realizing the grill needs to be cleaned!

That's why I'm sharing my tips for the best way to clean a grill, whether it's gas or charcoal. I hope they help you fire up the grill more often!

Why you need to clean your grill

Since cleaning the grill is likely not at the top of your list of fun things to do, it's important to know the why behind the chore. Cleaning the grill is actually super important in terms of both safety and functionality!

Regarding safety, a clean grill can prevent grease fires and bacteria from old food stuck to the grates.

In terms of functionality, if you have stuff stuck to the grates of your grill, it's not going to heat evenly. Grates that haven't been cleaned in a while can also lead to food sticking when it's time to flip it or take it off the grill.

Supplies You'll Need

You do not need anything fancy to clean your grill, but a few good tools will certainly make the job easier.

I recommend the following:

If you're really into grilling (or really not into scrubbing), you can also try a steam powered grill brush to make the job easier!

How to Clean a Gas Grill

How to Clean a Gas Grill with Every Use

Completing these three tasks will help keep your grill safe, clean and working well all year!

1. Check the grease tray

Always check the grease tray before you grill to prevent buildup and potential grease fires! This one is obviously super important. Empty the grease into a can and throw it away after it hardens. Do NOT empty grease down a drain.

2. Brush with oil

Taking the time to brush a little oil on the grates before you put any food on the grill will prevent sticking. Preventing a mess is always easier than cleaning one up!

3. Clean the grates

Use a grill brush to brush any debris or stuck food off of the grill grates when they're still hot after you grill. Brushing off any bits of food that got stuck will be much easier while the grill is still hot.

How to Deep Clean Your Gas Grill

Deep cleaning your gas grill at least once a year is essential to keep it working well. It's a bit of a process, but if you do it semi-regularly, you'll quickly learn what to do.

1. Turn off the gas

Safety first!

2. Remove and clean grates

If you have a bucket big enough, fill it with warm soapy water and soak your grates. Then use a wire brush to scrub off any food debris. If there is still stuff stuck on the grates, try applying a paste made from white vinegar and baking soda and then scrubbing and rinsing clean. Dry your grates before returning to the grill to avoid rust.

3. Remove and clean burner covers

Basically, you want to remove anything than can easily be removed and clean it. This includes any type of heat tent or burner cover. Simply remove and brush clean.

4. Check burner tubes

Keeping the burner tubes clean is essential so that gas can flow freely through the tubes. Brush the outside of the tubes clean. Use a toothpick or similar object to poke through the holes on the burners and check for clogs.

The tubes are easily removed in many grills. If that's the case for yours, remove them and use a wire bottle brush to clean the inside.

5. Clean the grill bottom and lid

Use a wet dry vac if you have one and vacuum out the inside of your grill, with the grates removed. If you don't have a wet dry vac, simply brush and wipe out the inside of the grill, using a putty knife to scrape off any stuck debris.

6. Clean the grease collection tray

You should empty the grease collection tray every time you use your grill, but now is a good time to clean it with soap and water to prevent any buildup. Some grills have a disposable tray, if that's the case with yours, simply replace the tray!

7. Clean the outside of the grill

Clean with soap and water and wipe with a microfiber towel, avoiding any metal or abrasive sponges. Even paper towels can scratch stainless steel! Use a stainless steel cleaning spray after you've cleaned with soap and water if you really want your grill to shine!

8. Reassemble

Once all of the parts are clean and dry, put the grill back together and you're ready to go!

How to Clean a Charcoal Grill

Cleaning a charcoal grill is similar, but a lot simpler as it has fewer parts. Simply do the following:

How to Clean a Charcoal Grill with Every Use

1. Check the ash catcher

Empty the ash catcher as needed.

2. Brush with oil

Brush oil on the grates before you put any food on to prevent sticking.

3. Clean the grates

Use a grill brush to brush any debris or stuck food off of the grill grates when they're still hot after you grill. Brushing off any bits of food that got stuck will be much easier while the grill is still hot.

How to Deep Clean a Charcoal Grill

1. Clean the grill grate

Remove the grate if possible and scrub with a grill brush, grease-cutting dish soap and water.

2. Clean the charcoal grate

If your grill has a separate charcoal grate, as with a kettle charcoal grill, clean that in the same way.

3. Clean the grill bottom and lid

Just as with the gas grill, use a wet dry vac or a grill brush to clean the inside of your grill, making sure to scrape any debris off of the inside of the lid as well.

4. Clean the outside

For a kettle grill, wipe the outside with soap and water.

5. Reassemble

Put the grill back together and you're all done!

Looking for some great grilling recipes? Check out my lamb burgers, zesty citrus marinade and 5 fruits to grill! And make sure you have a quality source of meat like US Wellness Meats for best results.

Do you have any tips for the best way to clean a grill? Share your ideas and pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as @prepdish in all 3 places, or leave a comment below.

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  1. Derek Swain

    Thanks for mentioning how you should remove solidified grease from your grill’s grease tray in order to prevent potential fire hazards. I am planning on hosting an outdoor barbecue for my brother’s birthday this weekend, and I’d like to find some grilling equipment that is easy to maintain since I enjoy throwing parties during the summer. I’ll consider getting some quality equipment that I can take care of with ease.

  2. Darrien Hansen

    I didn’t know that you could use a toothpick to determine whether or not the burners have been obstructed. My cousin is interested in cooking some steak for his son’s birthday this summer, and he would like to find a barbecue that will be easy for him to clean since he typically hosts parties every weekend. He should consider his options before he makes a decision.


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