It’s spring, and barbecue season is here at last. But before you throw on those steaks there’s something you need to do — clean your grill, especially if you didn’t quite get to a thorough cleaning when you put it away last fall. A clean grill makes the food taste better, prevents flare-ups from built-up grease and food bits, and keeps the temperature even.
Here are some general instructions on how to clean your barbecue grill. Not all barbecues have the same features, so always consult your owner’s manual for specific guidelines.
1. Clean the grill interior.
Close the lid and turn the sear and grill burners on high. Let the grill heat for 10 to 12 minutes. Then turn everything off and allow the grill to completely cool. Remove the burner grates and briquette trays. Cover the infrared sear and other burners with plastic wrap to protect them from cleaning solutions. Spray the interior with fume free oven cleaner and leave it for at least 30 minutes. Wipe clean with a wet sponge or cloth, then use a cloth dipped in a water and vinegar mixture to rinse the interior thoroughly. Remove the plastic wrap when done.
2. Clean the burner grates.
While the grill is still hot after cooking, scrub the hot burner grates with a grill brush and water. The steam that’s created will help to loosen any food particles. Be sure to use mitts to protect your hands. Never clean the burner grate section in place over the infrared sear burner. Instead, rotate the grates for cleaning. In order to avoid damage to the ceramic tiles, don’t allow any liquid to come in contact with the infrared sear burner.
For a deep clean, remove the grates, and soak them in a bucket or tub of hot soapy water and baking soda for several hours, or overnight if you have the time. Rinse the grates and wipe off any remaining debris with a soft cloth or mild abrasive pad. Then dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.
If you spot rust on your burner grates, here are two methods to remove it:
Cleaning rust using vinegar and salt
- Mix 2 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of salt.
- Place grill grates in a large plastic bag.
- Cover the grates with the vinegar and salt solution, tie the bag shut, and soak for 8 hours.
- Take the grates out of the bag and wipe off rust with a cloth.
- Rinse them with water.
- Dry thoroughly.
Cleaning rust using baking soda
- Brush the burner grates with a soft brush to remove most rust.
- Put the grates on the grill, and sprinkle with baking soda.
- Turn on the grill to allow the baking soda to bubble and remove the rust.
- Turn off the grill and let the grates cool.
- Brush the grates again with a soft brush.
3. Clear obstructions from the grill burners.
Gently wipe any grime off the burners, then check the holes for spiders, insects, and other objects. These obstructions cause the gas to flow from the front of the burner, which is a very dangerous situation. It can cause a fire behind the valve panel, as well as damaging the grill and making it unsafe to operate. Signs alerting you to obstructed burners include: a grill that doesn’t reach the proper temperature or heats unevenly, yellow flames along with the smell of gas, popping noises, and very hot knobs. Clean any obstructions you find with a toothpick or pipe cleaner.
4. Clean the infrared sear burner screen.
Check the protective screen and clear it for trapped food particles. The heat should burn off most debris automatically. Never use liquids to clean the infrared sear burner, and don’t place briquette trays over it.
5. Clean ceramic briquettes and tray.
These usually burn themselves clean during the next cooking cycle. For periodic cleaning, turn the sear and grill burners on high and close the lid. Let the grill heat for 10-12 minutes, then turn it off and allow it to cool completely. Remove the trays from the grill, shake off any loose debris, and wipe them clean.
6. Clean the smoker box.
When the grill is cool, remove the smoker box, empty it, and clean it with warm water and mild detergent.
7. Clean the drip tray.
The drip tray should be cleaned after each use to avoid a grease fire. Once the grill is cool, slide it out, and clean it with warm soapy water, then rinse.
8. Clean the stainless steel.
When your grill has cooled, use a nonabrasive stainless steel cleaner and apply it with a soft lint-free cloth, or a microfiber one. You can also use vinegar and hot water, or mild dish soap and hot water. Rinse well, then dry with a clean soft cloth. Always follow the grain of stainless steel when cleaning.
For baked-on residue, use a mild abrasive pad with your cleaning solution. Never use steel wool or you’ll scratch the surface. It’s normal for intense heat from the burners to cause certain areas of the stainless steel to discolor.
Use a cover to protect your stainless steel grill from the elements, and if possible, keep it in a sheltered location.
Regular Outdoor Grill Maintenance
To minimize buildup of food deposits and grease, spot clean your outdoor grill after every use. If you don’t have the time to clean when the grill is still hot, you can still use a wet grill brush to brush off the grates and racks when they’ve cooled down. Wipe down the exterior and inside the hood with a vinegar and water solution, then rinse. Empty the drip pan, wipe it with a paper towel, and clean it with warm soapy water.
Perform a deep clean on all the parts at least once a year (or every few months if you do a lot of barbecuing). At the same time, check the fuel lines for any rips, holes, or cracks, and replace before your next barbecue. You can check for holes by brushing a mixture of soap and water on the fuel lines, turning on the gas, and brushing on more of the mixture. If you see any bubbles form, you have a leak in that area. Also, make sure your fuel lines aren’t bent, which prevents the gas from flowing freely.
You’ll also want to check the propane tank for any dents or punctures, and if you’re uncertain about its condition, have a professional gas supplier inspect it for leaks.
Make the most of the barbeque season. Call C&W Appliance Service at (855) 358-1496 or (214) 358-1496 for prompt, courteous service.