How to Clean Your Charcoal or Gas Grill for a Summer BBQ

Grilling season is here, which means it’s time to give it a deep clean before inviting your family over for a summer barbeque. Having a clean charcoal or gas grill helps prevent food from sticking, keeps leftover build-up away from your food, and extends the life of your grill. Below are a few pointers to keeping your grill in tip-top shape.

How to Clean Your Grill

Before you begin, find a suitable area to clean your charcoal or gas grill. You will be brushing off encrusted char and removing old ashes, so find a location away from walking paths and eating areas. Removing char and ashes extends the life of your grill, makes your food taste better, and creates a safer cooking process. Let’s get cleaning!

How to Clean a Charcoal Grill

  1. Using the scraper side of your grill brush, scrape off any loose debris left over from your last cooking season. Then, use the brush side to thoroughly clean the surface and in between the grates of the grill. You may also use a grill cleaning spray on the grate.
  2. If possible, remove the grill grate. Clear all the charcoal ashes by carefully placing them into a plastic bag for easy disposal. Don’t forget about the ash catcher!
  3. Wash the inside of the lid and bowl with soapy water and a scrubber brush.
  4. Reassemble the ash catcher and grill grate back together.
  5. Clean the outside of the lid and cook box with soap and water. Be sure to wipe off any excess water to prevent rust.

How to Clean a Gas Grill

  1. Start your gas grill on high for 10-15 minutes with the lid closed.
  2. Turn off the grill and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. With a wet wire brush, scrub away any stuck-on food off the grates. The added steam from the damp wire brush and contact with the warm grates should help loosen debris.
  4. Turn off the gas value from the propane tank and remove the propane tank from the grill. Let the grill cool completely.
  5. Remove the heat deflectors or any metal plates covering the burners and scrub clean with soap and water.
  6. Gently wipe any grime off the burners with a sponge.
  7. Clean the grease collection tray by scraping the grease into an empty bottle for easy disposal.
  8. Reassemble the grease tray, heat deflectors, and grate back together.
  9. Lastly, wipe down the outside of the grill and any side tables with soap and water or a stainless-steel cleaner.

Alternative Cleaning Solutions

Don’t have a bucket of soap and water handy? Don’t worry! There are plenty of alternative ways for a simple, yet effective scrub down of your grill.

  1. Aluminum Foil – Scrunch up a sheet of aluminum foil into a ball shape, no bigger than a baseball. Scrub down and between the grate. This is a great alternative if you do not have a grill brush handy.
  2. Clean Gas Grill with LemonLemon and Salt – Cut a lemon in half and dip the inside in a plate of salt. Then, rub the lemon up and down across the grate. The salt on the lemon creates an abrasive texture that loosens leftover grits while the natural acidity of the lemon juice sterilizes the grill.
  3. Vinegar and Baking Soda – The Grilling Wizard recommends mixing 1 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water into a spray bottle. Sprinkle the baking soda over the grate, then spray the cleaning solution evenly. Allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing. Lastly, wipe it down with a wet cloth.
  4. gas grill clean with onionHalf an Onion – Cut an onion in half and place the cut side down on the grate. Using your barbeque fork, rub the onion up and down across the grate. An onion not only seasons the grate by adding moisture but also picks up any stubborn bits and dirt. If you are using a charcoal grill, don’t throw away the onion after cleaning. Instead, place it directly on the hot charcoals to help flavor the food you are about to cook.

Bonus Tip: Season Your Grill Before Cooking

Now, you finished cleaning your grill and it’s in tip-top shape. You put on some steaks and hear that beautiful sizzle sound. It’s time to flip your meat over, but it’s sticking to the grill, and it’s nearly impossible to lift your steak up in one piece. Want to know how you can avoid this from happening?

The best way is to season your charcoal or gas grill. Before turning on your grill, pour a little high-heat cooking oil onto a napkin and rub-down the grill grates. You can also use spray-can vegetable oil as an alternative. Using this method before you begin grilling will prevent your food from sticking and provide you with that perfect sear.

Homeowners Insurance

Starting your grill without a proper clean can be a dangerous fire hazard. Grease buildup over time can cause flare-ups and even a full-blown fire. Make sure you have a Homeowners Insurance policy in place to cover your home and personal property. Luckily, most standard Home Insurance policies include fire coverage. Not sure how your coverage works in the event of a house fire? Speak with an Insurance Specialist about your policy limits at (888) 772-4247.


The information in this article is from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only. The definitions, terms, and coverage in a given policy may be different from those suggested here, and no warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

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