How to Clean Your Grill for Cookouts All Year Long

Outdoor and Gardening
Decks and Porches
Outdoor Additions
By Emma Sarkisyan September 10, 2021

We tend to spend a lot of time outdoors when the weather allows. But sometimes, the weather is not the only determining factor. How inviting our outdoor living spaces are can really make the difference between just looking out at your patio and actually cooking out on your patio. Turning the backyard into a comfort zone makes the grilling season even more enjoyable. But whether it’s grilling season or not, you can still enjoy some outdoor cooking as long as it’s not raining. After all, the process of cooking with friends and family without watching the clock is always so much fun. The process of cleaning the grill, though, not so much. 

If you want your grill to take the heat for many years to come, taking care of it is not something you should overlook. Grill maintenance is not that difficult, especially if you get to the grease stains and food stuck on the rack after every use. Even if you don’t use your grill very often, it is important to take care of it so it doesn’t stop you from the few times a year that you will use it. 

How to Clean a BBQ Grill

Typically, all you need to do is disassemble the grill parts, scrub and dry every piece thoroughly, and put them back together. However, the recommended cleaning methods can vary a bit depending on the type of grill. 

What You’ll Need For a Traditional Grill Cleaning:

  • Stiff-bristled nylon brush
  • Stiff wire brush (for a gas grill)
  • Brush
  • Paper towels/rag
  • Drying cloth
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Bucket
  • Vegetable oil
  • White vinegar
  • Rubber gloves
  • Spray bottle
  • Dish soap
The Tools You Will Need to Clean Your Grill

The Tools You Will Need to Clean Your Grill

Step-by-Step for a Thorough Grill Cleaning

1. Clean the Grates and Racks

Use Stiff-Bristled Nylon Brush to Clean Your Grill Grates

Use Stiff-Bristled Nylon Brush to Clean Your Grill Grates

Before cleaning the grates, preheat the grill; it will help you to remove the grease and food residue easier. If you’re cleaning a gas grill, you will need to turn off the gas and disconnect the gas line for safety. Clean the grill grates and racks using the stiff-bristled nylon brush. If you don’t have one, you can use a ball of aluminum foil held with long-handled tongs. After scrubbing the grease off, dip the brush into a water and dish soap solution and wash the grates. You can also use a special grate cleaning formula instead of dish soap.

If you clean a flat-top grill, take a spray bottle and fill it with equal parts warm water and white vinegar. Heat the grill and spray the liquid on evenly, making sure to cover the dirtiest parts. Scrub the surface with a brush as you go. You can repeat this a few times until you get rid of all the dirty spots. Wait for the surface to cool off, and wipe it with a cloth. 

2. Rinse the Grates and Racks

How to Clean Your BBQ Grill With Soap Water

How to Clean Your BBQ Grill With Soap Water

Wash the grates in a bucket with warm water and put them aside to dry. You can also dry them in your oven if you need to use them soon.

3. Wash the Inside and Outside

Why It's Important to Wash The Insides of Your Grill

Why It's Important to Wash The Insides of Your Grill


If you’re cleaning a charcoal grill, first remove any leftover ash and charcoal from the base of the grill. Thoroughly wash the inside of the cook box and lid using a brush. 

If you’re cleaning a gas grill, remove the heat deflectors located over the burners. Dip the brush in the soap water and scrub the heat deflectors. Dry them with either a paper towel or a rag: this will reduce future flare-ups. Next, carefully remove the burners and wash them with a stiff wire brush dipped in soapy water. Run water through the burner valve to remove any debris. Wash the inside of the cook box and under the lid using a brush. Use a special stainless steel cleaner and a microfiber to wash the surface of the grill. 

You can clean ceramic, porcelain, and painted steel surfaces using soap water as well. A flat-top grill will have a drip tray and a grease drain; they need to be washed really well too, because grease and residue tend to pile up, and it may increase the risk of grease fires. 

4. Reassemble the Grill Parts

Don’t Forget to Season the Grates

Don’t Forget to Season the Grates

Towel dry the gas grill burners, reinstall them and put the heat deflectors back in their place. Once you place the grates back on, season them with some vegetable oil (this is to help burn off any leftover cleaning agents). To do so, soak a paper towel or rag in the oil and coat the surface. Heat the grill to 200 degrees for about 15 minutes and turn it off.

Tips on Maintaining Your Grill 

If you’re using a gas grill, try to inspect the parts while you clean them. Check for any damages or gas leaks and make sure that the burners are free of any debris. Try to clean the grates and heat deflectors after every 3 to 4 cookouts. Some people like to clean and season the iron grates after every use, but that’s not necessary. Try to wash all the other parts of your at least once a year or before and after the grilling season. 

If you keep your grill outside during the off-seasons, remember to cover it, otherwise, it will be covered in dust and dirt. If you do a home maintenance check-up in-between seasons, don’t forget to check your grill for rust or mold as well.

Written by
Emma Sarkisyan

Written by Emma Sarkisyan