Barbecue season is upon us, and if you’re about to take your grill out for the first time this season, you better clean it first. This is important not only to keep your grill in tip-top shape for years to come and your food tasting delicious but, even more importantly, to prevent fires.
Here’s exactly to clean your grill—whether you have a charcoal grill, gas grill or pellet grill—and what you’ll need to do so (with the least amount of scrubbing possible).
How Often You Should Clean Your Grill
Long-lasting grills are cleaned routinely. In order to make sure you get the most out of yours, you’ll want to clean it after every use (not just seasonally). Though this may sound like a hassle, a post-BBQ cleaning doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming, promise.
What You’ll Need
Grill brush (preferably steel)
Cleaning rag and/or paper towels
How to Clean Your Grill, Step by Step
Before cleaning any appliance, it’s always best to read the owner’s manual to see if there are specific instructions for your unit. No manual? No problem. The following steps will get the job done—and they’re Home Depot-approved.
How to clean a charcoal grill
Once the grill has cooled, remove the charcoal and ash.* Since charcoal grills require a little extra maintenance to prevent fire, it’s important to make sure you’re dumping the leftover charcoal bricks and ash out after each use (if nothing else, make sure not to skip this step after every grilled meal). To do so, either remove the tray or use a grill shovel to scoop the remnants out, ensuring nothing is blocking the vent for your next cookout.
Scrub the grate using a brush to get rid of any excess food or buildup.
Wipe down the grate using a folded paper towel with vegetable oil on it.
Clean the grill bowl and lid interior with dish soap and a steel brush, rinse and dry everything down.
Put the grate back in place.
*Before dumping any charcoal or ash, be sure they are completely cool and the bricks are dead, since putting them in a garbage can while still active can cause a fire. To be safe, you can soak them in water before tossing them.
How to clean a gas grill
The steps for cleaning a gas grill are very similar to the charcoal grill cleaning process:
Scrub the grate with a grill brush to loosen up any leftover gunk post-grilling.
Wipe down the (cool) grates with vegetable oil on a folded paper towel to prevent rust.
Clean the inside of the grill with dish soap and a steel brush.
Remove the grill’s heat deflectors and wash them with soap and water. Rinse and dry them before putting them back.
To deep clean a gas grill at the beginning and end of grilling season, turn the grill on for 15 minutes to heat up. Then, turn the gas off, scrub the grate with a grill brush dipped in water (and dish soap, if extra greasy). Be sure to step away from the grill when doing this to avoid being burned by the steam. Once the grill has cooled down, wipe it down with a damp rag to remove bristles and leftover residue. Finish by cleaning the burner valve and grill interior with warm soapy water, then towel dry everything thoroughly.
How to clean a pellet grill
Soak the grate in a bucket of warm soapy water.
While it soaks, vacuum the grill’s interior to remove all remaining rubbish.
Use a grill brush to scrub the drip pan, chimney and grill interiors.
Wipe everything down with a damp rag and dry.
Not so tricky, right? Now you’re ready to throw some rainbow veggie skewers on the barbecue and get grilling.