How to Clean Your Grill

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how to clean a grill

We spent the day testing all the steps below on our pallet grill that hasn’t been cleaned in quite a while.

Multiple options for materials are listed including brush and cleaning liquid options. This makes our guide a bit more comprehensive. We tested each on our grill and gave feedback on what worked best. 

Keep reading to learn how to clean a grill before the next cookout.

Materials Needed:

  • Wire Brush (Wire-Free alternatives are included in Step #2)
  • Shop Vacuum
  • Plastic Putty Knife
  • Dish Soap
  • White Vinegar
  • Bucket
  • Medium Plastic Bin or tin foil tray (for soaking)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Old Towel or Rag

Table of Contents

Step #1 – Turn Grill on Medium/High Heat
Step #2 – Clean Grates
Step #3 – Clean Lid
Step #4 – Clean Flavorizer Bars
Step #5 – Brush Burner Tubes [Optional]
Step #6 – Clean the Bottom Tray and Change Grease Catch
Step #7 – Reassemble
Step #8 – Dry Out the Grill

Step #1 – Turn Grill On Medium/High Heat

Heat the grill up on high for 10 minutes or so. This step will burn off any food debris and other stuck-on items making it easier to brush later.

Step #2 – Clean Grates

While the grates are still warm, grab your wire brush and water bucket. Dip the wire brush in the water and brush the grates. Add a few drops of dish soak to the water for stubborn grease. Repeat until the grate is cleaned.

Alternative methods: Wire brushes can lose bristles on your grill and could possibly end up in your food. I avoid wire brushes after a close call. Here’s great options to clean grates using a bristle-free brush:

  • White Vinegar & Scouring Pad Sponge: Let the grill cool down from Step #1. Using 2 parts white vinegar and 1 part water, scrub the grates with a the scouring pad side of the sponge. Repeat until grates are clean. 
  • Bristle-Free Brush:  Swap the wire brush for a bristle-free option. Here’s two options we found:

Make sure the grates are cool then remove them and apply a thin cover of vegetable oil to prevent rust on the cooking surface. Step them aside for now.

Step #3 – Clean the Lid

After removing grates, use a plastic putty knife and/or brush to scrape the inside of the lid. Work from the top down to avoid having to do double the work. Vacuum up any loose pieces you’ve knocked off the lid.

Step #4 – Flavorizer Bars

Flavorizer bars are the “V” shaped bars placed over the burner tubes. Brush the loose pieces from the flavorizers. Remove and soak in dish soap. Scrub the bars clean and towel dry. Disconnect and remove the propane tank.

Step #5 – Brush Burner Tubes [Optional]

If your burner tubes are covered in burnt food, you’ll want to do this step to ensure the burner holes are clear. Lightly brush over the burner holes. It’s important to brush from left to right as not to push debris into the holes.

Step #6 – Clean the Bottom and Change Grease Catch

Depending on the layout of your grill, this step might be easier to access if you remove the burner tubes.

Vacuum up any loose debris from the previous steps then remove and switch out the grease catch container. Place a bucket under the hole in the bottom used for the grease catch. Using a putty knife, scrape all the grease and gunk stuck on the bottom through the opening and into the bucket. Brush and scrape to the desired level of cleanliness.

Step #7 – Reassemble

Reassemble all the parts of the grill. Ensure that any parts washed with water are towel dried before putting back in the grill. Double check to ensure the grill is assembled correctly. Reference an online manual for your grill if you have questions.

Step #8 – Dry Out the Grill  

We all know that water and steel is a recipe for rust. A quick and easy way to ensure any moisture is removed from the grill is turning the grill to medium/high heat for 10 minutes. This will evaporate any water remaining in the grill. 

Next: Check out how to grill the perfect steak!