How to Clean and Protect Your Grill

Barbecued burgers, hot dogs, steak, veggies, and ribs are the taste of summer and are delicious all year round. Whether you host grand Labor Day parties or just like to grill for your family, you want your grill to last for years to come. To keep your grill in top condition, spot clean it after each use, deep clean it once or twice a year, and cover it when not in use.

Tools, Equipment, and Supplies You Will Need

  • Scraper to remove large debris
  • Wire brush to remove stuck on food that could not be scraped off
  • Rubber spatula to scrape off small debris
  • Sponges, along with soap and water, to clean more thoroughly
  • Empty bucket to put debris in for easy disposal
  • Gloves to keep hands clean
  • Grill Cleaner & Degreaser for tough stains
Grill Cleaner

Things You Need to Do Before Your Clean Your Grill

If you have a manual for your grill, read through its cleaning instructions. Otherwise, follow the instructions below:

  1. Burn off excess food and grease while the grill is still on.
  2. Allow your grill to completely cool. If you have an electric grill, let it cool until it is only slightly warm.
  3. Disconnect the grill from the power source. Unplug electric grills and disconnect the gas line from gas grills.

Cleaning Process

Once the grill is cooled, clean the grill grates and the exterior of the grill. Annually or biannually, clean the entire grill including grill grates, burner protectors, burners, venturi tubes, cook box, and exterior. Do this process before storing your grill for winter and a second time if you barbecue often.

How to Clean an Electric Grill

  1. Turn off the grill before beginning the cleaning process.
  2. Let the grill cool down so it is only slightly warm.
  3. Scrape the cooking grates with a stainless-steel grill brush.
  4. Take the removable liner off from underneath the grates and use a rubber spatula to scrape off debris. Then use a slightly damp rag or sponge to clean. Do not use too much water because you can damage the electrical components.
  5. Remove the grates from your grill and wash them with a wet sponge and soap. If they are very dirty, scrape them with a steel brush.
  6. Dry the removable liner and grates. Place them back in the grill.
  7. Wipe the lid of the grill with a damp cloth.
  8. Allow the grill to dry completely and then cover it with a grill cover.
How to Deep Clean Your Grates

Once a year, deep clean your grates to remove all caked on residue.

  1. Create a mixture of 1 cup baking soda and 2 cups vinegar.
  2. Place the solution and dirty grates in a garbage bag. Seal the bag with a rubber-band.
  3. Leave the solution overnight.
  4. Scrub off the burnt-on food residue.

How to Clean a Gas Grill

  1. Check the fuel lines for any damage.
  2. Turn the grill on high for 15 minutes to burn off caked on food.
  3. Brush the grates and wipe down the exterior of the grill.
How to Deep Clean a Gas Grill

Deep clean your grill once or twice a year, depending on how much you use it.

  1. Scrub the top and bottom of the grates with a wire brush and metal scraper.
  2. Remove the burner protectors. Wash them with soapy water and a sponge.
  3. Clean the burners. If you can easily remove your burners, use soapy water to scrub and rinse them. If they can’t be easily removed, use a damp sponge to wipe them down.
  4. Take out the plates underneath your burners. Use your grill brush to scrape off the large chunks.
  5. Pull out the removable bottom tray. Scrape off any chunks with a grill brush.
  6. Put your grill back together.
  7. Cover it with a grill cover.

Tips for Specific Types of Grills

Charcoal Grills

Clean charcoal grills after every use to avoid fires from built up ash and debris.

Wood Pellet Grills

Do not let wood pellets get wet when cleaning your wood pellet grill. The wood pellets can turn into a cement like substance that will clog the grill.


For smokers. you need to be careful about using too much water. Water can damage the electronic interior or cause the wood pellets to disintegrate and damage the grill. Cover it with a smoker grill cover, especially if rain is in the forecast.

Kamado Grills

Depending on the brand, some Kamado grills are self-cleaning, be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions.

How to Store and Protect after Cleaning

Once your grill is clean, you should cover it if you are not planning on using it for several days.

  1. Make sure your grill is completely dry before covering.
  2. Cover the grill. Make sure all straps are secured so that no animals or dirt can get in under the cover.
  3. If you live in a climate with extreme temperatures, store fuel sources in your garage.

Benefits of a Grill Cover

Protect your investment from dirt and weather damage with a grill cover. A grill cover keeps your grill clean so it is ready for your next barbecue. It also extends the life of your grill by protecting it from structural damage caused by the sun.

Protection from the Elements

Snow, rain, hail, sun, and high winds can all damage the exterior and the working elements of your grill. Moisture can rust the exterior of your grill and damage the nobs. Winds can cause dirt and dust to get inside your grill, making you have to constantly clean it before barbecuing.

If you live in an area with harsh sunlight, a cover will protect your grill from structural damage, fading, and cracking.

Protection from Insects and Animals

Insects and animals make their homes in protected areas, like your grill. When making their nests, they can destroy vital parts of the grill’s infrastructure. A grill cover resists critters from getting inside your grill and causing damage.

For more information, learn what features are most important in a grill cover.

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