Enthusiast Exclusive Content

Washing Your Grill

The Skinny:

Learn how to clean the interior and exterior of your grill.

The Breakdown:

One of the best ways to give your grill some sweet, sweet lovin’ is to give it a nice bath. It helps keep your grill in top condition while making sure that the food prepared on the grill is at its tastiest.


To get the job done right, basic tools are needed. While there are tons of specialized grill cleaners and cleaning accessories on the market, we’re keeping it old school here with this list. Here’s what’s truly necessary to get your grill nice and sparkling clean:

  • Gloves
  • Dish Soap (make sure it works well on grease)
  • Water
  • Soft cloths, rags or non-abrasive sponges
  • Bucket
  • Brush (soft or metal, depending on grill grate construction)

Cleaning Prep

Before you start cleaning, you’ll want to make sure your cleaning area is ready. Work in a well-ventilated space and put down newspaper to help catch any nastiness that drips as you clean. Be sure to disconnect any gas tanks and remove any control knobs to be cleaned if you have a gas grill.

Exterior Grill Cleaning

Warm, soapy water works best when cleaning the grill exterior. Since most grill exteriors are made of metal or porcelain, both can be damaged with a harsh cleaner, so avoid these harsh abrasive cleaners.

If the surface of the grill exterior is looking really bad, you can also repaint it with a heat-resistant grill paint. Be sure to clean and sand the exterior before applying the paint. Make sure that the paint has completely dried before using your grill.

Interior Grill Cleaning

The most time-consuming and dirtiest part is cleaning the interior and the grill grates. For the overall interior cleaning, work from the top down to make sure you clean every nook and cranny.

  • Interior Parts. Remove the grates, flavor bars or any other removable parts from the grill. If you’re feeling brave and know your way around your grill, you can also disconnect and completely remove the burners. Again, if you’re not sure you can reconnect everything correctly, simply clean around the burners. There’s no use having a clean grill that doesn’t work. It’s also a potential safety hazard.
  • The Lid. Clean the underside of the grill lid with soap and water. You may need to use a non-abrasive sponge or soft brush to scrub away any carbon buildup. The buildup may look like peeling paint, but it’s a result from grease and smoke.
  • Grates and Bars. There are many different tips, tricks and techniques to get the best possible cleaning results on your grates. Do you clean them warm or cold? Soak them or just clean them immediately? Whatever method you subscribe to, the basic method is always the same: wipe/scrub/soak the grates until all the caked-on junk is gone. Most people will use a metal grill brush to scrape away excess food debris.
  • Whatever method you choose, pay attention to the material your grates are made of. If you have porcelain grates, use a soft brush. If you have cast iron grates, a metal brush is fine—just be sure to heat and season the grates accordingly. If you have stainless steel grates, a wire brush or soft brush work. Just remember to cool your grates before using the soft brush.
  • Burners. If you have a gas grill, be sure to inspect and clean the burners. Scrub off any gunk and check to make sure the holes in the burner are open so that your food will cook evenly. You’ll also want to clean the inside of the burner to make sure there are no internal obstructions.
  • Walls and Bottom. Scrub the sides and bottom of the grill with a soft brush and soapy water. Move any debris toward the grease trap for easier disposal. Pay attention to the corners where grease can build up.
  • Drip Pan/Grease Trap. Clean the drip pan with soap and water. Avoid a potential fire hazard and be sure to clean the trap after every grill session.
  • Replace Items/Reconnect Tank. Replace anything you took out of the grill and reconnect the gas tank if needed. After the grill is dry, test it to make sure everything is working correctly before you start your celebratory after-cleaning cookout.

The best way to wash your grill quickly and efficiently is with continued regular maintenance of your grill. Be sure to clean your grill after each use, and you’ll spend less time doing the deep clean jobs later.

Until next time, Enthusiasts. Love your grill and it will love you right back.

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