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How to Clean a BBQ Grill: The Ultimate Guide

Mar 9th 2021

Cleaning a BBQ grill by lighting it and burning away residue is one of the grill cleaning steps.

Whether you’re an avid grill-master that barbecues regularly or someone who only uses your grill occasionally, the need to clean your grill is something that you’ll inevitably encounter over time and use. The problem? Cleaning a BBQ grill is something that you must learn how to do first to avoid causing any unintentional damage to your charcoal or gas grill. If you want to ensure that you always have a clean grill, use this ultimate guide to walk you through each step of the process when it comes time to give your grill some TLC.

Keep reading to learn all about how to clean your grill:

Materials You’ll Need
Remove Existing Residue
Scrub, Scrub, Scrub
Clean the Interior
Reassemble and Start It Up Again

Photo of food on a grill

Step 1. Gather the Right Materials: What You’ll Need

Although the various types of cleaning hacks you may find online will require you to have different items on hand, there are some universal tools that you must have in order to get your grill grates clean. These crucial materials include:

  • Grill Brushes: Cleaning a BBQ grill requires some serious elbow grease, which means that you need the right gear to get the job done. One of the most important tools to have is a grill brush with strong bristles to wipe the food and grime off of the grates.
  • Rubber Gloves (or similar hand protection): Heating your grill is an inherent part of the grill-cleaning process and gloves can keep your hands protected from heat and grime as you clean.
  • Dedicated Grill Cleaner (or alternatives): A grill cleaning solution will work well for your grill grates. However, you can also use alternatives like grease-fighting soap and warm water, white vinegar, and baking soda, or other hacks you can find online.
  • Cleaning Rags: Cleaning rags will help you wipe off your grill grates and soak up the mess as you go about the process of cleaning your grates.
  • A Bucket: Hopefully, your grill grates aren’t so dirty that they need to soak. If they are, however, having a bucket that you can soak them in as well as store cleaning solution in can be a major help when cleaning a BBQ grill.
  • Tools to Help Clean the Inside of Your Grill: Tools that help you scoop out the ashes and other dirt will be necessary for charcoal grills. For charcoal grill ash disposal, consider an ash bucket. However, gas grills may require less maintenance.

Once you have all of the right materials, you’re ready to get started.

heating BBQ grill to clean

Step 2. Heat the Grill to Burn Away and Loosen Residue

The best way to clean BBQ grills is to start by allowing them to heat up. If you have a gas grill, turn on the heat, close the lid, and allow it to stay on for at least 30 minutes. If you have a charcoal grill, heat some briquettes and allow them to burn with the lid on. This allows some of the residue to loosen or burn away entirely, making cleaning a BBQ grill much easier. Once it’s been allowed to sit for a reasonable amount of time, turn the heat off or remove the briquettes and allow it to cool to the point where it’s possible to clean it (making sure to detach the propane tank from your gas grill if necessary).

scrubbing BBQ grill clean

Step 3: Once Grates Have Cooled, Begin Scrubbing Them Off (or Soak Them If Needed)

Once the heat has subsided, apply your cleaning solution to the grill grates and begin scrubbing to clean them off. If it’s been a long time since you last cleaned your grates, you may want to soak them first in order to further loosen the reside, which makes cleaning a BBQ grill much easier if the food and grease are too difficult to remove. You can always clean it in another area like your kitchen sink or in one of your soaking buckets if it makes the process easier. Scrub until the grate has returned to its original condition and apply a stainless steel polish if you desire.

cleaning inside BBQ grill

Step 4: Cleaning the Inside of Your Grill

Cleaning a BBQ grill doesn’t just mean cleaning the grates but the inside of the grill as well if it’s been allowed to sit for too long without being scrubbed. If you own a charcoal grill, you’ll find that scrubbing the inside until it is clean is relatively simple. If you own a  gas grill, make sure to strip down the grill and deep clean the inside, cleaning the individual parts you’ve removed separately. Keep in mind that the burners must be fully dry before they can be ignited again!

If the outside of the grill is dirty, gently clean it off with sponges or other light materials. Heavier materials like wool sponges can cause surface damage, especially on stainless steel grills.

Man after cleaning his BBQ grill holding a grill spatula and a can of beer.

Step 5. Reassemble Your Grill and Fire It Up Again

When you think about the best way to clean BBQ grills, chances are that you don’t think about turning the heat back on afterward. However, this is necessary after cleaning a BBQ grill as it burns off any chemicals or leftover residue that would be dangerous to have on your food. It also seasons the grates. Letting the heat stay on for about 15 minutes should be sufficient!

That’s All There Is to It!

Ready to apply these tips to your own grill? Shop  Fireside BBQ & Appliances to shop our wide selection of BBQ grills and outdoor kitchen appliances. With us, you’ll also receive competitive pricing and a 30-day price match guarantee, delivery, and installation for local orders, with financing available to you if you need it! Buy now or speak to one of our sales experts now via live chat or giving us a call.

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