It’s official - spring is here and for millions of people that means time to clean up the yard, reconnect the hose, and get the grill ready for a new grilling season. Spring also signals the onslaught of blog posts on “HOW TO” do everything related to grilling, including cleaning your grill for the upcoming season.
This one is different. We’ve read all the blogs, vetted and consolidated all the cleaning “best practices”, and created this Ultimate Gas Grill Cleaning Cheat Sheet for quick and easy reference - now and throughout the year – starting with this short list of tools and supplies you’ll need.
- Work Gloves – Either cloth or nitrile gloves will work.
- Plastic Scraping Tool – Plastic putty and spackle knives work great.
- Cloth, Rag or Paper Towels – The more the better.
- Garbage Bags – For all the carbon, soot and grease you’ll be removing.
- Bucket or Pail and a Soft Bristle Brush – You’ll need this for the soap & water you’ll be using to the clean the exterior.
START WITH THE INSIDE OF THE GRILL
We suggest starting from inside the lid and working your way down into the fire box/cook box. This way all the debris gets channeled into the drip tray/ grease pan below for easy removal at the end. We prefer this dry method of cleaning rather than using degreasers, cleaning agents or even soapy water on the inside. It preserves the “seasoned” state you’ve achieved over prior grilling seasons.
1) Use a scrub brush (not a wire bristle type) or scraping tool (cheap plastic spackle or putty knife) to remove all the flaky carbon (the stuff that looks like peeling paint) from inside the lid of the grill. Close the lid momentarily when finished so the debris drops into the fire box/cook box, then reopen to continue cleaning.
2) Using the plastic scraping tool (or a worn-in wooden grill scraper if you have one) scrape the tops and side of the grill grates, then flip them over to clean the bottom of the grates. The bottom is where you’ll likely find a ton of built up grease. This is the stuff that easily catches fire and flares up during a cook. Once you’ve cleaned both the top and bottom, remove the grates and place them aside and out of the way until it’s time to put everything back in its place.
3) Time to hit the flavorizer bars. Use a flat edge scraping tool or stiff scrub brush to clean off the bars. Clean the tops/sides then flip them over to clean the back edges, just like you did with the grill grates. Once cleaned, remove them from the fire box/cook box and set aside out of the way until its time to put it back together.
4) You’re down to the fire box/cook box at this stage. Scrape and scrub away making sure to get in all the nooks, corners and creases that collect grease, and push/directing all the debris down into the drip pan and grease tray below. This is a great time, while everything is out of the fire box/cook box, to check the manifolds and burner valves for rust, corrosion or clogged holes. If the holes appear clogged use a bent paper clip to clean them out. Severely clogged or corroded burner tubes will need to be replaced.
5) Remove the drip pan and grease tray and empty into a 30 gallon garbage bag. While it’s in the bag, scrape/scrub it down until it’s clean and before removing it from the bag. Follow that by giving it a good wipe down with damp cloth or rag. Once it’s clean you might want to line the tray with tin foil to make the next mid-season deep cleaning easier and faster. Return a new drip pan and freshly foiled grease tray to the underside of the fire box/cook box.
6) Complete the internal cleaning by returning the flavorizer bars, then the grill grates to the fire box/cook box, alternating their position to ensure they all get equal wear. Move the ones that were in the front to the rear and those that were in the rear to the front positions. Close the lid and prepare to move on to the final stage – cleaning the exterior.
FINISH WITH THE OUTSIDE OF THE GRILL
7) Inspect all hoses for cracks and abrasions (they should not be crimped or brittle), and the tank and values for rust, connections, and leaks. Check for value leaks with soapy water. Dab a mixture of soap and water on the value. Be sure the burners are OFF when you turn the gas value ON. If bubbles form, there is a leak. Replace the value prior to using it.
8) Scrub down the exterior with a bucket of warm soapy water and dry clean with a cloth or rag.
9) Be sure you have a full tank of gas to start the season. Weighing it is one way to check. A full tank typically weighs around 38 pounds. Another method is to pour a cup of boiled water on the outside of the tank. The water will condense at the gas level indicating how much is in the tank.
Well, there you have it – a clean grill ready to be fired up on the first warm day of spring.
The types of food and your frequency of grilling will determine how often you should perform a deep cleaning, but generally speaking, cleaning the grill every month during the peak grilling season should keep you safe from dangerous grease fires.
Grill safe and often.