How to Clean a Grill

Learn how to clean a grill and perform regular maintenance

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There’s nothing quite like a home-grilled meal, prepared in your own backyard. Keep your grills in tip-top shape throughout the grilling seasons year after year and follow these basic steps for the best way to clean a grill. 

Safety: When cleaning grills with bristle brushes, always thoroughly wipe down the cleaned area afterwards in order to remove any bristles that may have come off during the cleaning process and stuck to the grill. Also, cleaning while the grilling surface is warm can make the job easier, but remember to wait until the surface has cooled enough that it will not burn you.

What You Need

How to Clean a Charcoal Grill


Out of the many different types of grills, the varieties that heat using charcoal require the most cleaning. Keep your charcoal grill in peak condition by cleaning it after each use and thoroughly cleaning before and after each grilling season. 

After each use: 

Charcoal ash gathers at the bottom of the grill every time its used, so you must clean the grill after each use. Built-up ash can block vents in the bottom of the grill, making it difficult to control cooking temperature and increase fire risks. 

  • Once the charcoal has cooled, remove the bricks and brush out the ash. 
  • Clean the grilling grates with a long-handled stiff-wire brush. If you don’t have a brush, ball up some aluminum foil and hold with long-handled tongs. 
  • Use a rag or folded paper towels to apply vegetable oil to the clean grates. This will help prevent rust and food build-up. 
  • Clean the inside of the grilling bowl and lid using mild dish soap and a steel brush.


Before and after each grilling season:

In addition to cleaning out old charcoal, keep your charcoal grill in peak condition with regular maintenance. Follow these cleaning tips at the beginning and end of each grilling season, performing more often as needed.

  • Clean the outside of the lid and bowl using soap and water. You can also use grill cleaner. Towel dry to prevent rust. 
  • Keep the grill protected with a grill cover. 
  • Replace your grill brush annually.


How to Clean a Gas Grill


While gas grills don’t require the level of cleaning required of charcoal grills after each use, they should be thoroughly cleaned at the beginning and end of each grilling season in order to keep them in top grilling condition. These steps can be followed using either natural gas or propane-powered grills. 

After each use:

  • Clean grill grates with a long-handled stiff-wire brush. If you don’t have a brush, ball up some aluminum foil and hold with long-handled tongs. 
  • Use a rag or folded paper towels to apply vegetable oil to the clean grill grates. This will help prevent rust and food build-up. 
  • Clean the inside of the grilling lid using mild dish soap and a steel brush. 
  • Remove the heat deflectors located over the burners with dish soap and water. Dry with a rag.


Before and after each grilling season:

  • Pre-heat the grill for 15 minutes on high heat then turn off the grill. • Turn the gas off – either on the propane tank or the gas line. 
  • Clean the grill using a stiff wire brush dipped in water. Do not lean over the grill while cleaning, as this should create plenty of steam. 
  • For tough grease spots, add dish soap to the water or a grill cleaner. 
  • Once the surface has cooled, wipe the grate with a damp cloth to remove residue or brush bristles. 
  • Remove burners from the gas supply line and remove blockages to the burner’s gas ports using a dry wire brush. Clean the ports by brushing side-to-side instead of up-and-down, as the vertical motion may push debris into the ports. 
  • Clean the burner valve with soapy water and run water through the inside of the valve. 
  • Clean the inside of of the grill using a wire brush and warm soapy water and rinse with water. Towel dry the burners and reinstall. 
  • When washing the outside of a stainless steel grill, use a specially formulated stainless steel cleaner and micro fiber cloth. Ceramic, porcelain and painted steel surfaces can be cleaned using soap and water. 
  • If you have a propane grill, you can store it outside with the propane tank attached. If storing inside, remove the propane tank and keep outside away from direct sunlight. 
  • Keep the grill protected with a grill cover. 
  • Replace your grill brush annually.