How To Clean Your Grill And Keep It In Good Shape

updated: 04/07/2024

A grill will meat and vegetables on it

If you want the short version: start by brushing off food remnants from the grate while it’s still warm. Use a metal brush and aluminium foil to remove stubborn grease and burnt food particles. Wash the grates thoroughly with warm, soapy water and scouring pads to keep them clean and functional after each use, ensuring easier maintenance and prolonging the life of your grill.

But we know you want a much more detailed answer than this. Summer brings the love of outdoor parties, and if you’ve spent the weekend dragging out and cleaning the lawn furniture, you’re probably ready to tackle the grill.

What Makes Regular Grill Cleaning So Important?

Regular maintenance of your grill is crucial. Did you clean out the grill before you shut it down for the winter, right? One last grilling of the summer, you took all the racks out and scrubbed them, and all the charcoal dust came out from the bottom. The propane tank was checked, cleaned, and put away in the garage.

Or did you? Did you spend the last grilling day of the season hanging out with friends, slamming the grill lid down, and vowing to clean it really well before you put away the patio furniture?

Opening up the lid on the grill after it has been stashed for the winter can be a terrifying experience. Don’t let it happen to you again next year. Follow these simple grill cleaning steps to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

How to maintain your grills

What Materials Will You Need

To clean the grill, you will need the following cleaning materials:

  • a metal brush to scrub the burnt leftovers
  • scouring pads to clean the grate
  • Aluminium foil
  • Washing up liquid
  • A bowl with clean, warm water
  • Cloths

Professional Tips For Easy Grill Cleaning

The worst part of grill cleaning is always the bottom of the unit. Take out the grill parts, set them on newspaper and use oven cleaner to coat both sides liberally. Cover it all with plastic and let it sit for 24 hours. The best way to do this is to place the entire mess in a garbage bag; that way, in the morning, you can turn the garbage bag inside out, and the goop is contained. Wear gloves and, using a garden hose, spray off the remaining grease onto cement or a part of your yard that you don’t mind getting a little dry, as oven cleaner has a tendency to kill grass and burn your hands.

Remover the burner from the pit if at all possible; over the winter, spiders and other insects may have used the tubing for homes, so bang those outside and place any lava rocks you might have in the bottom of the grill into a plastic bag and bang them on the cement, gently, to remove the gunk on them. Poke the element holes with a coat hanger or thin wire to make sure the propane can get to every area of the element, this will keep food cooking evenly.

Keep an old coffee can under the drip hole at the bottom of the grill this year; it will catch the grease overflow and help the bottom of the grill gunk next year.

Now you can spray the entire grill down with the hose, and use a mild detergent on the outside. If you really want the grill to look like new, you can spray paint it with BBQ paint from your local home improvement centre. And remember, a grill cover can keep your masterpiece new looking throughout the winter, giving you peace of mind.

Replace the grill units and spray them with nonstick cooking spray or take a tip from an old restaurant worker, and keep a small, rolled towel saturated with canola oil on hand to wipe it down before and after grilling. This makes clean-up much easier and seasons the metal, helping it last longer.

Soot and grease removal for grills - know-how

How To Clean Your Grill Immediately After Use

After you have finished preparing your food on the grill and it is still warm, get ready to clean it a bit. Brush the food from the grate with the metal brush, and with the help of the aluminium foil, try to go between the grates and clean all burnt food and grease from there.

You will notice that scrubbing the grates regularly will be easier than leaving them to scrub them immediately when they become filthy. Wash the grates properly with warm water with the help of the washing-up liquid and the scouring pads. You should repeat it a few times until you get them clean and shiny. Getting them to shine after a few uses without cleaning them will be almost impossible, which is another reason you should do the cleaning after each use.

Cleaning the grill from the inside isn’t necessary, as it will not make a big difference. Grills from inside should be in a clean condition when you buy them, but not after you have started using them.

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.