Honestly speaking, how often do you clean your outdoor grill? Or to put it more plainly, when did you last go about cleaning your outdoor grill? We are not talking about the occasional wipes here and there. We are talking about deep cleaning, scrubbing, rinsing, and removing all those contaminating residues to ensure your appliance remains spotless.
It's common for most of us to do some quick scrubbing on the grates once in a while or before/after use.
Today, however, we want to emphasize the importance of deep cleaning your outdoor grill, why you should do it regularly, and how exactly you should do it. Besides hygiene, there are many valid reasons why you should give your grates a deep and thorough cleaning. For one thing, your food will not burn or stick on a clean grill.
As grilling expert Diane Morgan once said, a well functioning and well-performing grill is clean and well maintained. Depending on how often you grill, following the instructions and cleaning directions provided by the manufacturer is crucial in maintaining your grill to ensure great functionality and performance. You don't want any unhygienic and unsafe residues building up on your grill. If you have a gas grill, the last thing you want to deal with is blocked ports, poor gas outflows, a strange smell, or frightening flare-ups.
Fortunately, an outdoor grill is a low-maintenance appliance and the efforts are rewarding. Whether you're dealing with a product from the top brand on the list or a standard appliance, here are step-by-step guidelines on how to keep your grill clean, properly functioning, and healthy.
How Often You Should Clean Your Grill
This is the reason why so many people have dirty, filthy, low-performing grills. Not knowing how often to clean an outdoor grill is the reason many people don't give their grills proper maintenance and are content with a quick down scrub once in a while.
However, as we have noted, cleaning your grill regularly improves its performance and functionality. It also ensures that health and safety are maintained. You should clean your grill after every use and do a thorough cleaning at least once every two months. For a better routine, follow the manufacturer's instructions.
What You Need For Cleaning Your Outdoor Grill
Unlike a simple grill cleaning, which will only require a wire brush to remove food particles stuck on your grill, deep cleaning requires some essential tools and materials such as those listed below.
Wire grill brush: There are many wire grill brushes on the market you can choose from. However, be sure to go for the best quality products that will give you value for your money. Since grill cleaning tends to be a rigorous chore, the last thing you want to deal with is a broken brush in the middle of a grill cleaning job. We recommend using a good-quality wire grill brush or wood scraper to scrape any residues on the grates. A curled scour pad or aluminum foil can also do a good job.
Grill brush: For the actual scrubbing, a long-handle grill cleaning brush is the ultimate tool.
Scour sponge: We recommend Scotch Brite Heavy Duty Scour Pad or steel wool . Not only is it one of the most popular products on the market, but customers love it so much that it's topping the reviews. Tough enough to get rid of stubborn grease, yet gentle enough not to damage your grill.
Multipurpose dish soap or degreaser: Our favorite is the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid that easily cleans off greasy messes. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner works just as well. Notice that these products are safe to use on the surface of your grill.
Dish gloves: Grill cleaning isn't a delicate job, so your delicate hands will need to be protected. Wear some good-quality dish gloves to protect your hands from the hot water, cleaning detergents, and the sharp metal components of your grill.
Instructions For Cleaning Your Outdoor Grill
Grates and Racks
Grill surfaces that hold grates and racks should be cleaned every time you finish using the grill. Wait until your grill has cooled, then follow these steps:
Brush Off Grates and Racks: Brush off the grates and racks to remove food particles from the grill.
Scrape the Grates: To remove burned food particles or greasy residues, use a scraper tool or built-in scraper if your brush has one.
Wipe the Grates and Racks
Use a damp rag or kitchen linen to wipe away any loosened bits, brush bristles, and residues off the grates and racks. If yours is a cast-iron grate, then complete cleaning would be ideal. Next, brush or spray some cooking oil for better results. Alternatively, use Weiman stainless steel cleaner and polish. This helps prevent the grate from rusting.
Cleaning Charcoal Grills
Charcoal grills generate a lot of ash. Here's a guide on how to maintain this kind of appliance.
Dispose of the ash: Cleaning the residual ash by emptying it after each use is a simpler way of cleaning your charcoal grill. Prevent the ash from accumulating and becoming solid after long exposure to moisture. Use a metal or steel bucket near the grill to collect the ash. Ensure the bucket is stored in a dry place.
Dispose of the ash once it's cooled down. To make the process easier, use lump charcoal instead of briquettes. The latter accumulates more ash. For a complete cleaning, start with the grates and racks, then under the hood, and finally to the walls and lower ends of the cooking chamber. To prevent rust, wipe off with warm water and a grill rag.
Cleaning Gas Grills
Don't think you are free from a grill cleaning routine if you own a gas grill. Although a gas grill is designed to self-clean, regular deep cleaning is still recommended as far as hygiene goes. As is the case with any grill, cleaning your gas grill also requires starting with grates and racks. The high temperatures can automatically bake the grease and food particles. Once they cool, they can harden and become difficult to clean. Therefore, ensure you clean it after each use.
Most gas grills are designed with V-shaped thin steel plates known as heat deflectors. They help control heat and prevent the food from being burned by gas flames. However, food particles and grease often leak down onto these deflectors. Using warm soapy water, scrub the heat deflectors with a nylon brush and dry them before putting them back in the cooking chamber. Repeat after every three uses.
Finally, conduct a thorough cleaning at least thrice a year, and be sure to wipe away every component of the grill to prevent rusting. While at it, inspect each part to ensure it's in good working condition and replace any parts that are worn out to improve the functionality of your grilling appliance.