Cleaning your grill is an essential part of owning one. If you can’t remember the last time that you gave your grill a good cleaning, it’s time to scrub it down before your next use. You should clean your grill every time you use it and give the grill a good deep cleaning at least once every season.
Grills tend to attract a lot of gunk and grease residue if they are not properly maintained. This can cause enormous problems for you and even be dangerous and unsanitary. The good news is that it’s easy to maintain a clean grill and have it work properly for a long time by just following a few easy steps.
You will need to have a few tools on hand to clean both charcoal and gas grills. These are items that you probably have around the house anyway. It’s a good idea to collect all of your tools in advance so that you can clean the grill in a timely fashion without having to run out and find new tools.
Any antibacterial dish soap that you can get from the supermarket will work. You don’t have to buy expensive brands; just make sure that it is one that can cut through grease. You can even use the same dish soap that you use for washing your regular dishes.
Heavy Duty Sponge
Get yourself a good scouring sponge to work that dish soap into the cracks and hard-to-reach places in your grill. Sponges designed to work on pots and pans will be absolutely fine to use on your grill.
Wire Grill Brush
Your grill should already come with a wire grill brush. You can use it right after cooking to get the gunk and debris off the surface of the grill itself. Wire grill brushes come in handy for deep cleaning as well.
Keep your hands clean and dry with standard dish gloves. Not only will gloves prevent you from touching unpleasant food residue within the grill, but they also keep your hands protected from hot water and any sharp items that might be lodged in the grill itself.
How Often Should You Clean Your Grill?
Make a habit out of cleaning your grill every time you use it. This will help cut back on the amount of grease that you have to deal with for deep cleanings and help your grill function better, as a general rule. Surface cleaning should only take a matter of minutes, and you can do an excellent job in under 15 minutes on a charcoal or gas grill.
Cleaning Your Gas Grill
If you have a gas grill, you know that they’re super easy to use and that you can cook just about anything on them. They are also simple to clean. You just have to keep a few things in mind. Make sure that the grease pan is empty and the grill grate is clean.
Your grease pan or collection pan must be empty because if it is unattended or overflowing, these can cause grease fires. Not only are grease fires dangerous, but they can be highly inconvenient to the point where it almost makes sense just to get another grill. Empty out the grease pan every time that you use the grill.
Clean the grates with the wire brush or a heavy-duty sponge if you don’t have a brush. It’s best to do this when the grill is still hot because the remnants of whatever you were grilling will come off easier.
After you’ve cleaned off the big stuff, feel free to run an old dish towel over the grill to mop up anything that’s left behind. It’s a good idea to have a designated towel specifically for your grilling purposes.
One thing to keep in mind is that some ceramic grates can scuff if you brush them too hard. Striking a good balance between getting the debris off and over brushing is a good idea. Start off small and work your way up to brushing harder.
You should also clean your burner hood. Burner hoods can accumulate grease, which can be just as dangerous as your grease pan overflowing. If you don’t want a fiery accident, wipe down the hood every time to use it. You can use dish soap and a wet rag to do this.
Cleaning Your Charcoal Grill
If you’re a purist, you love cooking with a charcoal grill. All of that good flavor that you get from the charcoal will go to waste if you don’t clean it properly. Fortunately, charcoal grills are easier to clean than gas ones, and if you take a few minutes to maintain your grill after cooking, you will enjoy those delicious charcoal flavors for the long run.
As with gas grills, you need to clean the grates. You can do this with a wire grill brush or a heavy-duty sponge. Unlike gas grills, you don’t need to worry about damaging the grate, so feel free to scrape as hard as you want. Clean your grates when the grill is hot for the best results possible.
You should also get rid of any residual ashes after each cooking. Ash can clog up your grill or even get attached to your food. It’s a good idea to wait until the coals are cooled before dumping your ashes.
If your grill is exceptionally dirty, you can always clean the grates with a mixture of water and dish soap. You can even remove them and let them soak in a mixture of the two, which should cut through even the most stubborn grease.
What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Grill?
Not cleaning your grill could cause you significant problems with sanitation, food quality, and even catastrophes. If you fail to clean the hood or grease pan on your gas grill, you could be in danger of having a fiery accident. Grease is highly flammable and unpredictable. Major issues can be avoided by simply cleaning your grill correctly.
You could also have problems with bad-tasting food, bacteria, mold, or even rodent infestation. Maintain a clean grill, and you’ll use it happily for the long run.