I spent the better part of this past Saturday doing the dreaded task of cleaning the grill. If you are wondering how to clean a grill – I will share with you what I learned, so you can tackle this job too.
No matter what type of grill you have, I think the basics of cleaning are pretty much the same.
I happen to have a Weber Genesis gas grill similar to this one (except older and in black).
Our family loves to grill all summer long – and even on nicer days in the winter. But deep cleaning the grill is a different story.
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It's been quite a few years since we last did the deed.
Yeah – the grill was getting kind of gross, so I knew it was time.
I started planning to clean the grill about a month ago.
You see, you can't just decide one day to clean the grill and go out and do it.
You do need to do a little up front preparation.
What You Will Need To Clean A Grill
There are a few things that you should have on hand before you get started:
- steel wool pads – I used both SOS type soap pads and plain steel wool
- regular soft sponges
- rubber gloves (very important!)
- plastic scrapers
- large garbage can
- large trash bags to line can
- disposable drip pans
- dishwashing liquid
- wear old clothes you don't care about – they will get dirty
- newspapers to protect your deck or patio
Keep in mind that just about everything you use will get black, icky, and greasy. Be prepared to throw away most of your supplies. I used my cute rubber gloves and ended up tossing them – they were so dirty and must have torn because they were getting wet inside.
This is also a good time to see if you need any replacement parts or new accessories for your grill.
- Think about replacing your old grill cleaning brush with a new one.
- Replace your weathered grill cover.
- Get a new set of bbq tools.
- Replace damaged grill parts:
- flavorizer bars
- grates, knobs, starters, etc
- just make sure they fit the exact model of grill that you have.
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Do A Little Research on How to Clean a Grill
Another thing that I did before I started was watch the following video on how to clean a Weber grill.
Your grill manufacturer may have a similar video – but I think the general concept is the same.
What I did differently from this video was clean the inside first, instead of the outside.
Cleaning the grill was a messy process for us – and a lot of the mess from the inside (crumbs, soapy, greasy drips) got on the outside during the cleaning so it was pointless to clean outside first.
Grill Cleaning Safety First
It may be obvious, but I've got to say it – make sure your grill is cold before cleaning it.
Also, make sure your gas or propane is off.
We have a natural gas grill so I made sure the valve was completely shut off at the source before cleaning. I am not familiar with propane but I would imagine you could turn the valve off there or disconnect the tank before you start.
Also, pick a temperate day to clean your grill.
It does take a few hours (even though the guy in the video makes it look so easy!) and you don't want to be out in extreme heat or cold to take on this task.
Ready, Set, Clean Your Grill!
Once you have all your supplies together it's time to get started.
Put on your old clothes, fill the bucket with water, and spread out your newspaper.
Have your garden hose at the ready because you will be dumping out the water bucket and refilling with fresh water as you go.
That water gets dirty really fast!
Just a note – I did NOT remove or even attempt to remove the gas tubes inside the grill. In the video he leaves them in, so I did too.
How to Clean Grill Grates
The first thing I did was clean the grill grates. I scrubbed them down with a wire grill cleaning brush and then rubbed them down with the soapy steel wool.
I found that the best way to clean grill grates was by keeping them in place in the grill and then flipping them over and doing the underside.
I tried to make sure that the steel wool was kind of dry-ish so I didn't drip too much water onto the gas tubes. I don't know if this is the recommended way to do it – but it worked for me.
Clean the Flavorizer Bars and Heat Deflectors
My Weber Genesis 300 Series grill has flavorizer bars and heat deflectors inside.
Similar to the grates, I removed these and scrubbed them down with soapy steel wool and water.
The flavorizer bars are a little rusty but I think they will be fine for another season. I imagine that I will end up replacing these at some point in the future.
Scoop Out the Crumbs
The bottom of our grill was filled with charred crumbs of food and such.
I scooped as much of these out as I could with my hands and with the scraper.
In my grill the bottom tray is removable, so I pushed a lot of the cruft into the tray, pulled it out, dumped it and cleaned it.
I made it a point to put the tray back in right away because stuff will continue to fall into that tray as you clean. Most likely you will end up pulling it out and rinsing it off a couple times throughout the process.
The same goes for the disposable drip pan.
Junk will drip and fall into there – so dump the old one out a few times throughout the process and only replace it with a new one when you are all done with cleaning the grill.
How to Clean Inside of Grill Box and Lid
I used a damp sponge with Dawn dishwashing liquid and also steel wool to clean the inside of the grill box and the inside of the hood or lid.
Clean the Outside of the Grill
My grill is black enamel on the outside.
Typically it is a shiny black but there was a build up of grease that dulled the shine.
Personally, I used some regular steel wool with dishwashing liquid to cut through the grease and restore the shine.
You should use your judgment on whether you want to try this because depending on the brand and model of grill – it possibly could scratch the surface. You might want to test a small area first.
I would imagine that the steel wool would scratch a stainless steel surface – so be careful.
You could use a soft sponge or a soft cloth with stainless steel cleaner instead.
Finally I wiped down the side shelves and the cabinet under the grill.
Put It All Back Together
The last step in cleaning the grill was putting everything back together again.
That part was easy. 🙂
Have you cleaned your grill lately?
Please let me know in the comments below if this post about how to clean a grill was helpful for you.
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The Rule of Good Enough
Oh – and I almost forgot! Of all my grill cleaning tips this is the most important one.
For the love of all that there is, please put your inner perfectionist aside when you do this chore.
It's a dirty, messy, greasy task.
Your grill will never look all shiny and new again on the inside even if you scrubbed it all day long.
If you want shiny, go buy a new grill.
Otherwise, accept the used look. Put in a reasonable amount of effort and know when to stop.
Remember you will be using it again very soon. 😉