How Often Should I Clean My Grill?

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So you acquired a brand new grill, and your mind is already running as to which recipes and types of meat you’re going to throw on there first.

I bet one of the last things you fantasized about before getting your new grill was cleaning it.

It’s a task that nobody particularly likes to do, but it’s one that’s vitally important to extending the life of your grill.  Regular cleaning is also extremely important to ensure that the food cooked on your grates is high quality and tasty.

In this article, we’ll answer the question “how often should I clean my grill?”, and go over a few different methods for keeping your grill in pristine condition.

How Often Should I Clean My Grill?

The answer is two part.  There are certain clean up steps you should take after each time you cook on your grill.  These simple and easy tasks will go a long way to promote the long term health of your grill.  Additionally, it will ensure that your cooking grates are prime and ready to go the next time you want to fire up your grill.

The second part of the answer to the how often should I clean my grill question is that you should conduct a deep cleaning of your grill once about every 6 to 12 months, depending on how often you use your grill.  A deep clean is designed to get all of the hard to reach spots in your grill, and also to make sure all of your grill’s parts and burners are functioning properly.

Note that all of these techniques apply, no matter which type of grill you have.  If you happen to own a griddle or flat top grill, we’ve written a specific guide for how to clean a flat top grill right here.

Steps for Cleaning My Grill After Every Use

Here are a few simple steps to follow for cleaning your grill after each time you cook.  These steps take less than 5 minutes and are well worth the time investment.  The compounding effect of cleaning your grill after each use will add up and pay dividends over time.

  • If you’re using a charcoal grill, allow coals to cool and remove your lump charcoal or briquettes and dump out any ash.  If needed, scrape ash to ensure you get all of it so that it doesn’t clog up your vents.
  • Using a long handled, stiff wire grill brush, scrub the grill grates.  Pay attention and make sure that you scrape off all food particles from the grates.
  • (Optional) Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to your cleaned grill grates.  This will help to prevent future food build up on your grates and help deter the risk of rust build up.
  • Cover your grill.  There are a handful of benefits to covering your grill, and it’s good practice to place your cover securely on after each use.

Steps for Deep Cleaning My Grill (Every 6 to 12 Months)

Once every half year, or at the beginning of your grilling season, here are the steps you should take to deep clean your grill and remove grease spots.  Doing this periodically will also extend the life of your grill and ensure a sanitary cooking area for your food.

  • Using soapy water and some towels, clean the outside of your grill, including the outer shell and side tables (if applicable).  Once thoroughly washed, be sure to dry with a towel to ensure no rust can build up.
  • Disassemble your grill, remove grates, and clean hard to reach spots with soapy water, including the inside of your lid.
  • Check burners, grates, and cooking chamber for rust build up.  If you have rust build up on your grates, follow the steps in our article about how to remove rust from cast iron grates to get a fresh start.
  • To deep clean your grill grates, preheat your grill to high heat.  If you have a charcoal grill, you can also preheat your oven to about 400°F and remove your grates from the grill, placing them in the oven.
  • Allow your grates to heat for about 15 minutes, then turn the heat off or remove from oven.
  • While grates are still hot, dip a stiff wire brush in water then scrape the grates.  Show extra love to areas with tough to remove grease spots.  Be careful to not lean over your grates as the water on your brush will produce steam once it makes contact with the grates.
  • Once the grates have cooled, wipe down with a damp cloth.  They should look as good as new.
  • Place your grill cover back on the grill.

If you happen to have a kamado grill or a Big Green Egg, check out our guide tailored specifically to cleaning a Big Green Egg.

How Often Should I Clean My Grill?  Final Thoughts

I hope this article has clearly answered the question to how often you should clean your grill, and also provided a little bit of insight about how to do it and why it’s so important.  Remember, the goal here is to extend the life of your grill and help you make delicious food!  Cleaning your grill is a key component to accomplishing both of those things.

So after your next cook don’t view it as a hassle.  Get out your grill brush and view cleaning as a small investment into the quality of your next meal.

Got any other tips or questions for us related to grill cleaning?  Reach out to us in the comments section below.