Maintaining Your Grill Between Deep Cleans
Green notes “a tight-fitting grill cover will help protect your grill from moisture” and keep it cleaner in between uses. If possible, store the grill in a covered space like a garage or shed when not in use.
Though you should scrape down and oil your grill grates before each use, it’s a good idea to scrape them after each cooking session as well to remove stuck-on food bits before they have a chance to sit. Re-oil your grill grates with a high smoke point oil to re-season them. This will help prevent your food from sticking and rust from developing.
If you don’t take proper care of your grill, it can be susceptible to rust. Green explains that “it’s important to inspect your grill for rust before each use and replace anything that has a hole or crack in it.”
Inspect All The Parts
The annual cleaning is a good time to inspect all the parts and replace any that are worn or damaged. Grill burners can eventually wear out, as can the heat deflectors and other parts. Hardware stores sell many of the parts necessary to tune up a grill, and the grill manufacturer may offer them for sale online.
Wash And Rinse Grill Parts
If you have one and can use it where you wont damage grass, decking, or make a stain on a patio, blast all the components you removed with a pressure washer if not, rinse em all off with a hose. Then let it all dry. Use water and soaking wet paper towels to get as much filth out of the interior of the grill, then leave it open and let it dry, too.
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How To Clean The Outside Of Your Grill
Wait until the grill is cool to the touch before cleaning the outside. You can use soapy water or a glass cleaner to clean the outside of the grill. Over time, dirt and other debris from nearby plants or weather could dirty the grill, but you can keep it looking great by scrubbing away at the buildup on the exterior.
Clean The Heat Deflectors
Many gas grills have thin steel plates, angled in the shape of a “V,” that separate the burners from the cooking chamber. These heat deflectors serve to distribute heat evenly around the cooking chamber and prevent the gas flames from burning the foods directly overhead. Grease and food residue often drips down onto these deflectors.
Clean the deflectors after every three of four uses of the grill by removing them from the cooking chamber and scrubbing them with warm soapy water and a nylon brush or scrubbing pad. Dry them completely before putting them back in the grill.
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How To Keep A Bbq Grill Clean All Summer
During grilling season, here’s our step-by-step instructions to keep your grill looking great:
- Go over the grates while they are still warm with a brush or pad or even a ball of aluminum foil to keep food residue from building up.
- Regularly clean grates and outside surfaces with a spray like Parker & Bailey BBQ Cleaner & Degreaser. In GH Institute Cleaning Lab tests, it dissolved stuck-on messes better and faster than others we tried.
- Keep wire brushes in good condition and replace them when worn so metal bristles dont stick to the grates and get into your food.
How To Clean A Rusty Iron Grill Grate
Vinegar and baking soda are also helpful in removing the rust from grill grates, however, if the rust on your grill is difficult to remove, you can scrub the rust off using steel wool or a wire brush with salt paste. To learn more, read our article on removing rust from your grill.
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Keep A Safe Temperature
Step 3: Soak the Grates
Once youve scraped off as much of the stuck-on food debris and carbon buildup as possible, remove the grates, place them in a bucket full of warm, soapy water, and allow them to soak for at least 20 minutes.
Step 4: Clean the Burner Hoods
While theyre usually not as dirty as the grill grates themselves, the burner hoodsthe plates located directly above the burnersneed to be kept clean, too. To get started, dip a sponge into the hot, soapy water and use the scouring pad side of the sponge to remove all of the grease and grime from each of the burner hoods.
Vinegar And Salt Rust Remover
White vinegar is a very versatile natural cleaning product and can be used to clean just about anything, including rust. Combine 2 parts vinegar to 1-part salt into a spray bottle. Thoroughly cover the grates in the vinegar solution and store in an old plastic bag overnight. Once the grill grates have soaked overnight, wipe the grates with an old cloth to remove all the rust residue.
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Be Careful With Metal Bristle Brushes
Metal bristle brushes are a very effective tool to use when it comes to cleaning a grill or smoker, but you have to be very careful. Especially with cheaper brass bristle brushes. Sometimes, the bristles can become loose, fall out, and stick to the grill grates. This is the last thing you or anyone you are cooking for want to end up ingesting. That can quickly turn into a bad situation.
If you are using a metal bristle brush, make sure to wipe the grates with a damp paper towel or cloth to pick up any loose bristles. Some people even rub half a lemon or onion over the grates after brushing to eliminate any bristles. Look the grates over one last time before cooking just to be extra careful.
You will have less chance of stray bristles with a good quality stainless steel grill brush versus cheaper copper. But, if you do notice any bristles coming loose from your brush, dont chance more getting stuck on your grill and throw the brush away.
Prevent Rust On Grill Grates
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Cleaning The Grill Grate
After getting a fire going, the first order of business is cleaning the grill grate. The grill grate will see the most action and because of thisand the fact that food will come into direct contact with itmost of your cleaning attention should be focused here.
Cooking with high heat gives you a great advantage in easily achieving a clean grill grate. Each time the grill’s fired up, let the grate heat up over the new, intense heat for about five minutes. This will burn away some food stuffs that may be remaining, then a grill brush and a little elbow grease will easily take care of the rest.
If you haven’t already, invest in a good grill brush with a long handle and firm bristles or scouring pad.
Cleaning Your Heat Shields Orceramic Briquettes
Depending on the model, your grill may use heat shields or ceramic briquettes. A heatshield or heat deflector is a piece of metal that sits over the burner todistribute heat. Ceramic briquettes look like little tiles, or stylized piecesof charcoal, all the same size and shape.
Its also possible that your grill has lavarocks little clumps of volcanic rock that look like charcoal. Lava rocks arehard to clean. Their porous surface absorbs grease, and theyll fall apart ifyou try to scrub them. If you have lava rocks, we recommend replacing them withceramic briquettes.
Ceramic briquettes are easy to clean with awire brush. Remove them, and scrub until any debris falls off. If you have a heatshield, spray it with a degreaser, then clean it with a wire brush or brillopad and wipe it clean with a cloth. Do not use water or degreaser on briquettes as they will crumble.
Both heat shields and ceramic briquettes willwear out eventually, so you should inspect them carefully as you clean. If yourbriquettes are starting to crumble when you clean them, its probably time toreplace them. However, cracks or nicks on a few briquettes shouldnt be aproblem. As long as theyre mostly intact, they should work fine.
Heat shields, on the other hand, are often thefirst thing to wear out on a grill. If your heat shields are rusty or warped,they cant disperse heat evenly, and may not protect the burner from drippingheat. That means its probably time to replace them.
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How To Clean Grill Burners
Now, remove the burner tubes and clean themthoroughly. They may be attached with a screw or cotter pin, depending on yourgrill. Removing burners can be quite complex with some grills. Old Weber Genesis grills had a complex system,where the electrodes were mounted to the first burner, and a crossover tubecarried the flame to the other two. Over time, corrosion would tend to freezethe screws attaching the crossover tube, preventing you from detaching it,which required an elaborate workaround to change the burner .The point of this digression is that burners are complicated, and vary a lotfrom model to model, and brand to brand. If you cant look at the burner andfigure out how it works before disassembling it or if parts are frozen inplace feel free to . Wed be happy to talk you through it.
Remove the igniter and wrap the wire endscarefully in foil to keep them free of debris. Be sure to note exactly how theigniter fits into the burner failing to reinstall your igniter assemblycorrectly is one of the surest ways to have your grill refuse to light.
To insure you get the correct burner from your grill, measure the burner from end to end and compare the dimensions to what we list on our site.
How To Deep Clean A Gas Grill
Regular grill maintenance will help keep your grill working smoothly, but even if you’re diligent about brushing down the grates, your gas grill will need some TLC after a few months of use. Note that since you will be disassembling some parts of the grill for cleaning, you will need to know how to put it back together again, so take photos for reference if needed.
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Gear You Need For Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Grates
Heres what you need to clean your stainless steel grate:
- Stiff nylon brush or metal scraper
Cleaning stainless steel grill grates is a simple 4-step process:
Allow me to walk you through this simple process of how to keep your stainless-steel grill grates clean. Ready? Lets dive in.
Clean With Aluminum Foil And Baking Soda
- Make a paste of 1 ½ cup ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda and ½ cup water in a small bowl. It should be a thick liquid consistency that sticks to the grill grates.
- Using a brush or sponge, cover the grill grates with the baking soda paste and let sit for a few minutes.
- Tear off a sizable piece of aluminum foil and crumple into a ball.
- Scrub the baking-soda covered grate wires with the aluminum foil ball, working up and down each wire and across the grate.
- Rinse the grate with water and return to the grill.
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Grill Brushes Can Be Hazardous
Grill brushes are like a balding man. When one hair falls out, more are sure to follow. The difference with metal bristles is they can be fatal if swallowed. .
If you do use a grill brush, choose a brush with a solid head. Check to see tightly packed bristles before and after each use.
If you notice missing bristles, discard that brush immediately. Friction is what holds bristles in place. When one bristle falls out, there is less pressure holding the remaining bristles in, and they start to shed en masse.Use the brush only after you are finished cooking where you can rinse or inspect the grate before cooking again.
How To Clean The Outside Of A Grill
For the most part, cleaning the outside of a grill is much simpler than cleaning the inside of a grill. After all, the outside of a grill doesnt see all the food and grease that the grill grates or cooking surface do. Still, spills always happen and outside elements like dust and rain can dirty up the outside of the grill.
The best way to clean a grill on the outside is to wipe it down with hot, soapy water and a sponge, rinse it off, and dry thoroughly with a clean towel.
For stubborn grease stains on the outside of a grill, try making a paste of baking soda and waterthree parts baking soda to one part water and rub the paste onto any grease stains. Let it sit for up to fifteen minutes, then wipe away with a clean, damp sponge or towel. You can also use a food-safe degreaser. Just spray it on, let it soak in for a few minutes, and wipe away the grease and cleaner with a clean sponge or towel.
Photo via Home Repair Tutor
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How To Store Your Grill
Grill cover, grill cover, grill cover. It may be obvious, but covering your grill is amust if you’re keeping it outdoors. When I first moved into an apartment with a proper grilling space, I immediately ran to the closest Target and picked up one of those knee-high 12-inch square grills and passed on a cover. Fast forward two months: the thing was a rusty mess and beyond use. Sadly, I let that grill die an early death by keeping it exposed to the elements.
“Cheap-o grill is still going strong after six years.”
Back at the store, I opted for a 22-inch Weber kettle knock-off, this time purchasing a cover at the same time. I’m proud to say that cheap-o grill is still going strong after six years now enjoying a good life of churning out great food at my cousin’s place, thanks in large part to keeping it covered when it was not in use.
Looking back through these tips, it all seems so minimal. The daily maintenance endured is so minor compared to all the greatness that comes from the fruits of this labor. So take that little bit of time to keep your grill happy, then throw some food over the flames, sit back and reap the rewards for years to come.
How To Clean Pellet Grills
Pellet grills need a little more attention and TLC than charcoal or gas models, because pellet grills have more electronics and mechanical parts. You cant just hose down a pellet grill you have to remove the grates and grease pan to give them a proper scrub. Another reason to keep the garden hose away is that wood pellets expand when they get wet, which causes auger jams.
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How To Clean The Inside Of A Bbq Grill
With the grates removed, brush down the inside to clear out any loose particles that have collected in the bottom and around the sides. Scrape off any large peeling flakes of carbon and grease and if yours is a charcoal grill, empty the ash catcher. Dont forget to clean the drip pan and grease cup in warm soapy water and line them with aluminum foil so theyll be easier to clean next time.
Removing Rust On Cast Iron Cooking Grids
Prevent rust on your cast iron cooking grids by properly maintaining them and ensuring that they are well seasoned on a regular basis.
Inspect your grates for rust. If you have rust on your grates, this is the perfect time to remove it.
Minor rusting can be removed by gently scrubbing so make sure to try this first.
Stubborn spots of stuck on sauce and food can be removed by brushing those heavily built-up areas with oil and allowing them to soak for a while before scrubbing again.
Once cast iron cooking grids are clean and thoroughly dry, using a high-temperature oil like shortening, flaxseed oil, or canola oil, cover the grids completely, on both sides, with a thin coating.
Turn the grill on and heat the grill to between 350 and 400°F for 30 to 60 minutes. Remember to keep the temperature below the smoke point of the fat used, which will allow the oil to bond to the surface of your grids.
If your cast iron cooking grates are particularly dirty, you can wash them with soap and warm water, however, they will need to be completely dried and reseasoned immediately.
And there you go! You have freshly cleaned cooking grids that are ready to make more delicious meals and memories.
Do you have your own tips or hacks when it comes to cleaning your grill grates? Wed love to hear from you. Share your best cleaning tips for your barbecue grates on our social pages like Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag #NapoleonGrills.
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