It’s almost time for summer, and grilling season has begun—it’s just not summer without cooking on the grill. But before you bring out the barbecue, let’s go over some of the best ways to clean a grill.

Once or twice a year, it’s a good idea to perform a deeper cleaning on your grill, but the best way to keep your grill in tip-top shape is to lightly clean it after each use.

Deep Cleaning

Before beginning a deep clean on your gas grill, make sure the propane or natural gas is turned off and disconnected. Also, remember to double-check the gas valves, burners, and tubes at least once a year. Make sure you remove the metal plates, briquettes, or lava rocks before cleaning the interior of your grill.

  1. Remove debris. Scrape away any leftover food or grease debris that may still be on the grates. If you have a gas grill, check the pan liner. If you have a charcoal grill, remove any ashes still in the ash catcher.

  2. grill grate with rustClean grill grates. Depending on how dirty the grates are, you may be able to just give them a good scrub with either a stiff wire grill brush or crumpled aluminum foil. If your grill grates need more attention, remove them from your grill, and scrub them with either soapy water or diluted vinegar. Soapy water and diluted vinegar will help make it easier to remove stubborn pieces that stick to the grates. If using vinegar, let the solution dry before returning with a wire brush. After scrubbing the grates with a brush or crumpled aluminum foil, rinse with a hose.

  3. Cleaning the inside. While many believe it’s best to clean the inside walls as well, there are others who suggest letting the inside “season,” much like with a cast-iron skillet. If you do decide to clean the inside walls of your grill, you can use the same soap or vinegar solution used on the grates for this part of the grill. After wiping it down with soap or vinegar, rinse with water.

  4. Exterior cleaning. If you do not have a grill cover, you may need to devote some time to cleaning the exterior of your grill once or twice a year. Again, you can return to the soap or vinegar solution, but there are also stainless steel and porcelain cleaners available. If there’s rust on the outside of your grill, use a fine steel wool pad to remove the rust before touching up with paint made for grills.

Regular Maintenance

After every use, sweep out any ashes or leftover charcoal once it has cooled. Doing this as soon as possible after cooking helps keep the ashes from becoming more difficult to remove later. The longer the ashes sit there, the more time there is for moisture to build up and turn the ashes into a less manageable, cement-like substance.

  1. Preheat. Turning your grill on high heat for about 10 to 15 minutes before use will ensure the grill is ready, and it will also burn off any residual grease or food left on the grates.

  2. isolated grill cleaning brushScrub those grates. After using your grill, use crumpled aluminum foil or a grill brush to scrub the grates. It will be easier to clean while it’s still warm, and it will also make your job easier come deep-cleaning time.

  3. Cover, cover, and cover. One of the best ways to keep your grill in good shape is to keep your grill covered. This reduces the risk of your grill becoming covered in rust and keeps water out of the grill.

Deep cleaning your grill once or twice a year will prolong the life of your grill, and performing regular maintenance after each use will make the deep-cleaning process much easier. 

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