How to Clean and Maintain Your BBQ Grill All Summer Long
ummer is here which means summer cookouts and warm summer nights. It also means it’s time to clean and maintain your grill throughout the summer months. Grease can stick to your grill and harbor bacteria, and carbon buildup can cause your grill to heat unevenly or prevent it from reaching full operating temperature, and burner tubes to fail.
Brush your grill grates after every use and thoroughly clean them every couple of months, depending on grill usage. We suggest giving your grill a thorough cleaning at least twice a year which will help cook your food easier and the overall quality of the grill will last longer. Listed below are the basic steps for cleaning gas or charcoal grills and if you follow these steps, you will notice a change in the cleanliness of your grill all summer long.
Grill Cleaning Equipment
There are several different grill cleaning tools to choose from but some of the most essential include the following:
- Long Handled Wire Brush
- Wire Bottle-Style Brush
- Five-Gallon Bucket
When you clean, try avoiding using any toxic cleaning formulas because they can negatively effect the taste to foods and may not be necessary. Instead, use warm water, dish soap, vinegar and baking soda which are guaranteed to get the job done.
If your grill has stainless steel exterior surfaces, a good stainless steel cleaner even using vinegar makes a huge different in the shine of your grill. Before you clean, make sure you have a pair of durable gloves as well as additional rags and sponges.
For gas grills, start by turning the grill on and letting it come to full temperature. Then, dip the wire brush in a bucket of soapy water and scrub all the carbon you can from the grates. After you have completed that task, turn it off, disconnect the propane tank and set it aside and let the grill cool completely. For charcoal grills, simply dump the old burned coals.
When the grill is cool, remove the grates and put them into a full bucket of soapy water. Let them soak for about 15 minutes or more. Remove anything else from the grill that you can take off without tools, such as the grease tray. This will make it easier to clean. Most gas grill burner tubes are removable as well.
Use a Vacuum
While the grill grates are removed and soaking in the soapy water bucket, start removing the caked-on gunk in the firebox. Put another bucket underneath the firebox where the grease tray sits to collect debris. The easiest way to start is with a wet/dry shop vacuum.
Since wet/dry vacs are mostly workshop items, you won’t feel bad about using one to suck up the gunk that’s collected in your grill. You can use the grill brush to help loosen the remaining gunk on the grill. Once you are finished vacuuming, use a hose to rinse it out when it’s clean.
After the grates and panels have soaked, take them out and scrub them thoroughly. For really stubborn gunk, a paste of vinegar and baking soda helps the brush scrub off the worst bits. Then rinse them clean. Take care to thoroughly dry cast-iron grates.
Inspect your burners for signs of corrosion or anything blocking the row of flame holes. Burner tubes are inviting spots for spiders to lay eggs if your grill goes unused for a while. Use a wire brush and clean them by brushing back and forth over the holes, not down the length of the tube. The wire bottle brush can clean out the inside of each tube.
Replace the soapy water in the bucket and scrub down the entire outside of the grill with a household sponge. Steel wool, metal sponges, and even some coarse sponge pads can leave scratch marks, so avoid them. Microfiber towels are great for wiping down and drying the outside.
To complete the cleaning process, stainless steel cleaner works great but it shouldn’t be used for any heavy cleaning. Spray it on, and let it sit for a couple minutes before wiping away with a clean dry cloth. Another way to effectively clean and wipe down stainless steel, you can use vinegar.
Finally, re-connect your propane tank and fire up the grill; let it heat for at least 15 minutes, then turn it off again. This will help burn off any residues from cleaning, season cast-iron grill grates, and serve as a check that you re-assembled everything properly.
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