Frequently Asked Questions: How To Clean Your Grill

  • How do I clean my grill before using it for the first time this season?

Don’t worry, cleaning the grill is actually easier than most people realize, and you can usually forego the brushes, dirty sink and elbow grease if you start the day before you need the grill. However, use the following method only after checking with your owner’s manual. Some manufacturers warn against using oven cleaner on any part of their grill.

Lay a plastic bag on the ground, followed by a newspaper, then lay your grill on top of the newspaper. Spray liberally with an oven cleaner, and cover with another layer of moist newspaper. Follow this with another plastic bag and weigh down the edges so the whole mess doesn’t end up in your neighbors yard. Now instead of scrubbing and scouring, just let the oven cleaner do the work for you overnight. The next day, remove the grill and place all the saturated newspaper into one of the garbage bags. Wear gloves and follow all of the manufacturers safety precautions whenever working with caustic cleaners, such as oven cleaner. Rinse the grill thoroughly, and then wash off any remaining oven cleaner residue with some soapy water. Rinse again, coat with a light brushing of vegetable oil, and you’re ready to go!

It is a good plan to fire up your barbecue for 30 to 45 minutes on high to sanitize everything before the first use of the season.

  • How do I season the cooking grids for the first time?

For a new grill, you need to burn off the protective oils that are applied by the manufacturer by running the grill on high (without any food on it) for about 30 minutes. After the grill cools, coat the grids with a vegetable oil spray and run for 30-45 minutes on high. This will draw the oil into the grids and prevent foods from sticking.

  • How do I clean the cooking grids?

As soon as the food is removed from the grill, brush the grills with a grill brush for about 10 seconds. If you have porcelain-coated grills, make sure you only use a brass bristle brush, never scraping the grill with the scraper that (usually attached to brushes when you buy them).

Then turn off the grill immediately. After the grill has cooled down, spray vegetable oil liberally on the grill (this should also be done before you light the grill each time). This loosens whatever food is stuck to the grill, knocking it into the bottom of the grill where it will be incinerated the next time the grill is preheated.

Leaving your grill on for ten minutes is a lot like turning an oven to the self-clean setting, but it’s also burns up gas just like you’re cooking on it. In addition to that, it can be easy to forget you have it on at all, which could result in burning through all your gas or even damaging the grill itself.

If it seems necessary, doing it once a month won’t really hurt anything, but religiously brushing for ten seconds or so as soon as you’re done cooking and keeping the grills well oiled is all anyone should have to do.

To help make the grill easier to keep clean, don’t apply tomato based sauces until the last few minutes before the food is removed from the grill. Marinate and baste the food with vinegar, citrus, or soy-based mixtures to help make clean up easier.

  • How do I clean the burner?

You will from time to time have to clean the burner to keep the burner holes clean. The flame coming from the burner should be blue; if the flame is orange or red you may need to replace or clean the burner. At this time you should also check the gas supply (venturi) tubes to be sure that there are no obstructions. If you use your barbeque heavily you may want to spray a food safe organic cleaner or degreaser and let it sit for a while and hose the entire barbeque off. And for safety’s sake, you should only open the propane tank valve half a turn. It will work just as well and if there is ever an emergency, you can shut off the gas in an instant!

  • How do I clean the inside of my grill?

Remove the cooking grids. Using a soft brass wire brush, clean loose debris from casting sides and insides of the lid. Scrape sear plates with a putty knife or scraper, and use a wire brush to remove ash. Remove sear plates and brush debris off of burners with a brass wire brush. Brush all debris from inside the grill into the drip pan. Accumulated grease can cause a fire hazard. Do not line the drip pan with aluminum foil, as it can prevent the grease from flowing properly. The pan should be scraped out with a putty knife or scraper, and all the debris should be scraped into the disposable grease tray. This tray should be replaced every two to four weeks, depending on gas grill usage.

  • How do I clean the outside of my grill?

Do not use abrasive cleaners to clean any painted, porcelain or stainless steel parts. Porcelain enamel components must be handled with additional care. The baked on enamel finish is glass-like and will chip if struck. Touch-up enamel is available from your dealer. Exterior grill surfaces should be cleaned with warm soapy water while warm to the touch.

  • How do I clean the stainless steel parts of my grill?

According to the Specialty Steel Industry of North America, stainless steel needs to be cleaned for aesthetic considerations and to preserve corrosion resistance. Stainless steel is protected from corrosion by a thin layer of chromium oxide. Oxygen from the atmosphere combines with the chromium in the stainless steel to form this passive chromium oxide film that protects from further corrosion. Any contamination of the surface by dirt or other material hinders this passivation process and traps corrosive agents, reducing corrosion protection. Thus, some form of routine cleaning is necessary to preserve the appearance and integrity of the surface.

Like any surface that is exposed to the environment, stainless steel can get dirty. Dirt and soil can consist of accumulated dust and a variety of contaminants that come from many sources, ranging from the wind to everyday use. These contaminants will vary greatly in their effect on appearance and corrosivity and ease of removal. Frequently, warm water with or without gentle detergent is sufficient. Next in order are mild non-scratching abrasive powders. These can be used with warm water, bristle brushes, sponges, or clean cloths.

Ordinary carbon steel brushes or steel wool should be avoided as they may leave particles embedded on the surface which can lead to rusting. For more aggressive cleaning, a small amount of vinegar can be added to the scouring powder. Cleaning should always be followed by rinsing in clean hot water. When water contains mineral solids, which leave water spots, it is advisable to wipe the surface completely with dry towels.

  • How do I get rid of fingerprints and stains?

Fingerprints and mild stains resulting from normal use are the most common surface contaminants. Fortunately, these usually affect only appearance and seldom have an effect on corrosion resistance. They are easy to remove by a variety of simple cleaning methods. Fingerprints are probably the most troublesome marks to remove from the surface of smooth polished or bright finished stainless steel. Fortunately, they can be removed with a glass cleaner or by gentle rubbing with a paste of soda ash (sodium carbonate) and water applied with a soft rag. Once again, this should be followed by a thorough warm water rinse.

  • How do I clean the aluminum parts of my grill?

This is the beauty of cast aluminum…all you have to do is hose it down. About once a year, take some detergent soap that you would use to wash your automobile, and wash your aluminum grill. With die cast grills, you can leave it outdoors all year round, regardless of the climate.

  • How do I clean spider webs out of my venturi tubes?

If you notice that your grill is getting hard to light or that the flame isn’t as strong as it should be, take the time to check and clean the venturis.

Spiders and other small insects have been known to create ‘flashback’ problems. The spiders spin webs, build nests, and lay eggs in the grill’s venturi tube(s), obstructing the flow of gas to the burner. The backed-up gas can ignite in the venturi behind the control panel. This is known as a flashback, and it can damage your grill and even cause personal injury.

Shut off, then disconnect the gas supply to your grill. Disconnect then tilt the burner down below your control panel. Run a long handled pipe cleaning brush back and forth in the venturi tubes as pictured below. Reconnect the venturi tubes and gas supply.

About the author

Click here to add a comment

Leave a comment: