How to Clean Your Barbecue Grill the right way?
Cleaning your grill can seem like a chore, and this is especially true after you’re done feasting on some great barbecue with friends and family. In this article, we answer the most common barbecue cleaning related questions and explain quick & easy ways to clean your particular type of grill.
Cleaning Your Grill Grates
Before we discuss how to clean your grill grates, let’s address an important question:
Are Grills Safe to Wash in a Dishwasher?
If your grill grate is made of stainless steel, it is safe to wash it in a dishwasher, but if you have a porcelain enamel or cast iron grate, you should avoid it. The high temperature and force of the water jet damage the porcelain enamel grate. At the same time, the moisture causes a cast iron grate to rust.
A dishwasher is a real time-saver in the kitchen, but use it on the wrong equipment, and you will end up wasting both time and money. Before putting your grate in the dishwasher, ensure that the grate is made from stainless steel and follow the process described below. Not doing this will, at the very least, affect the grilling efficiency of your equipment, at the worst, cause permanent damage to your beloved grill and dishwasher.
If your grill is made of aluminum, porcelain enamel, or cast iron, you may want to skip to the next section.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Grill Grates?
Stainless steel grates are safe to wash in the dishwasher. So if you own both, you might as well make the best use of your equipment. Here’s a step-by-step process for cleaning your stainless steel grill grates in the dishwasher.
After you finish preparing the food, leave the grill grate on the coals for a 10-minute heat blast so that any food residue can be burnt-off. If you skip this step, the grease and leftover meat from the grate could clog up your plumbing.
Word of Caution:
After removing the coals, leave the grate to cool for an hour or so. This way, it will completely cool down and be safe to handle.
Dip the grill grate into a soapy mixture for about 30 minutes. If you use steel spatulas and prongs. It’s a good idea to rinse them with soapy water as well. This is an effective way to get rid of the grease that can otherwise cling to the dishwasher’s pipes.
Looking for Quality Dish-Wash Detergents?
Here are the best dish-wash detergents you can buy in the USA, Australia, Canada, and the UK.
Now put your stainless steel grate inside the dishwasher. Put the grill grate, spatulas, and prongs inside the dishwasher and set the dishwasher temperature to medium.
WHAT IF YOU HAVE A LARGE-SIZED GRILL?
If you feel your grill grate is too large, you can remove the top basket of the dishwasher. Most dishwashers allow you to take out the top basket and place taller items inside. In case your grill grate still doesn’t fit inside your dishwasher, you could still clean it manually or with a pressure jet.
How to Clean Grill Grates Manually?
If your grill is made of aluminum, porcelain enamel, or cast iron, or if the grates are just too big for your dishwasher, this method is for you.
The manual method may require you to work, but it is nothing compared to your regular workouts. In case you just hate cleaning the grill manually, you may want to read the pressure cleaning option mentioned below.
Here is a detailed process of cleaning the grill grate without using a dishwasher, and honestly, the results are remarkable.
After you finish cooking, leave the grate on the heat for about 10 minutes so that the food residue burns off. The advantage of burning the residue off the grate is that you don’t need to spend too much energy scraping off the residue in the next step.
Degrease with Baking Soda
If the grate is greasy, you should use baking soda. Sprinkle some baking soda on a damp grill and leave it for ten minutes. Baking soda works like magic for dissolving organic substances.
Degrease with White Vinegar
Alternatively, vinegar is a great solution (pun intended) for cleaning off grease and gunk from your grill grate. Make a mixture of vinegar and warm water in a bottle and spray the acidic mixture onto the grate. Let it stay on for a few minutes to see incredible results.
Use a Wire Brush and Soap
If you have stubborn gunk that isn’t coming off, you can use a wire brush and some soapy water to clean off the remains. A wire brush often scuffs the surface of the grate, so only use it when necessary. Using a long wire brush that is specifically designed to clean the grates will give you the best results.
Looking for Great Grill Brushes?
Here are the best grill brushes you can buy in the USA, Australia, Canada, and the UK.
Lastly, you need to thoroughly wash the grill grate with clean water and leave it to dry. Make sure to use the grate only after it dries out completely. Otherwise, you can end up unnecessarily stressing the metal of the grill.
Cleaning Your Grill Base
How to Clean a Charcoal Grill Base?
Cleaning a charcoal grill doesn’t require as much effort as a gas grill since there are much fewer parts and crevices to be cleaned. You can clean your Charcoal Grill Base in three easy steps:
Step one: Dispose of the bbq ash appropriately and store the charcoal pieces that are usable for the next barbecue. Be sure to store the coal in a metal box after dousing them in water. This prevents any chance of a fire hazard. Learn more about fire safety here.
Step two: Use a brush to scrub the inside of the base of your grill. Rinse it with a sponge.
Step Three: Don’t forget to clean the exterior of the grill base. Use a soft sponge and soapy water to avoid scuffing or damage on the outside.
How to Clean a Gas Grill Base?
Just like a charcoal grill, you need to clean your gas grill regularly. If you want to learn more about the different types of grills, read this article.
Step one: Scrub the burner protectors clean with a sponge and soapy water after taking them out from below the grill grate. The burner protectors get dirty because they stop the food from falling into the burner.
Step Two: Rub the burner with a dry sponge to remove all the grime. Clean the burners either by taking them out or cleaning them from underneath.
Step Three: Finally, you will notice a lot of dirt at the bottom. You can scrape out everything using a grill brush after removing the tray from the bottom.
How to Maintain the outside of the Grill?
Just like you clean the grill from inside, you should clean it from outside as well. A dirty grill attracts rodents and animals that can quickly become a nuisance. Cleaning the grill regularly will not only keep you safe from harmful bacteria but also increases the life-span of your grill.
Clean the Lid
When cleaning the exterior of the grill, avoid harsh scrubbers and brushes. The best way is to use a smooth sponge and soapy water. We all love the look of our glistening grill, and the best way to maintain this shine is by not letting it get dirty or scratched up. If you leave the grill outside when it is not in use, the lid gets dirty in no time. To prevent it from getting dirty, keep it covered.
Keep it Covered
It is very important to keep the lid of the grill closed so that nothing gets inside the grill. If you leave the grill open when it is not in use, there are chances of dirt and debris getting inside the grill. As the grate comes in direct contact with food, this could be harmful to you.
Though most grills come with their own BBQ cover, in case your grill doesn’t have one, you must buy a cover at the earliest. There are multiple options available in stores and online.
Looking for Grill Covers?
Here are the best grill covers you can buy in the USA, Australia, and Canada. You can get one regardless of your grill type, size, and brand.
How to Speed up the Grill Cleaning Process?
I don’t know about you, but I like getting things done quickly and conveniently.
To clean your grill grates in the shortest possible time, you have two alternatives, i.e., using a dishwasher or using pressure cleaning.
Using a Dishwasher
What Can You Wash in a Dishwasher?
After a BBQ party, you will have to wash a lot of utensils, but you can’t just put everything into a dishwasher. Some utensils can’t survive the hot temperature of a dishwasher. Therefore, you need to make sure that the utensils are dishwasher safe.
You can easily wash stainless steel and non-stick pans inside a dishwasher. Utensils made of plastic, pyrex, and silicone can also be washed without getting damaged. Moreover, you can wash kitchen sponges, spoons, and glasses too.
What Can’t You Wash in a Dishwasher?
You should never put anything made of cast iron inside a dishwasher. Cast iron needs oil for seasoning, if you put it inside a dishwasher, the soap will remove the oil from the pores of the cast iron, and increase the chances of rusting.
Wooden items, especially the spatulas, shouldn’t be put inside a dishwasher as dishwashing tends to make wood dry and susceptible to breaking. Some other items, including copper pans, grates, and acrylics, are not dishwasher-friendly either, so it’s best to avoid washing them in the dishwasher.
Tips for Washing Other Utensils in a Dishwasher
While washing the grill, avoid overcrowding the dishwasher. Ensuring that the utensils are placed stably in the dishwasher will help prevent damage.
Avoid stacking greasy utensils too close to each other. This prevents the appropriate amount of water from reaching the dishes and results in inefficient cleaning.
Place larger and smaller plates alternatively. This ensures thorough cleaning as the water and detergent can move effectively between the dishes.
Also, remember to place the dirty side of every utensil facing the center of the dishwasher. This ensures that the movement of the water is directed towards the dirty side of the utensils.
How to Use Pressure Washers?
Pressure cleaning is a process of washing the grill with a high-pressure water spray.
Sometimes as grill owners, we’re too busy (or lazy) to thoroughly clean our grills. At such times, pressure cleaning helps. The process helps save time and removes all the gunk from the grill.
However, pressure cleaning isn’t easy on the wallet. If you choose to do it yourself, you can get a pressure washer for anywhere between USD 70 to USD 300. You could also pay a professional to do it for you.
If you are going to pressure clean the grill yourself, you may damage your grill during the process. So be sure to take all the precautionary measures or hire a professional.
Here are the steps for pressure cleaning the grill yourself:
As always, safety comes first:
- You should wear safety goggles.
- Stand 20 feet away from the grill.
- Before cleaning, find a tree or fence in your yard that will keep the grill from moving.
- Also, beware that if you shoot the jet perpendicular to the grill, the water may shoot back at you.
If you have a gas grill, disconnect the gas connection from your grill and unplug it from all power sources. Make sure there is no gas tank or power lines near your cleaning area.
For a charcoal grill, you need to dispose of the ashes and salvage the coal from the grill. Then separate the grill base from the stand and keep the grill on the ground before cleaning.
- You can use any oven cleaning liquid to wash the grill.
- In my experience, a 15-25 degree pressure nozzle works best for grill cleaning.
- If the grime is too stubborn, you can use a 0-degree/ turbo nozzle.
- The force of the jet increases with the decrease in the spray angle. So be careful while choosing your nozzle.
Pros of Pressure Cleaning
- Speedy cleaning
- Very effective
- Washes off tough grime from hard-to-clean areas
Cons of Pressure Cleaning
- The high pressure may drive the gunk into the burners
- You’ll have grease all over the cleaning area
- Comparatively expensive
Looking for the Perfect Pressure Washer?
Here are the best pressure washers you can buy in the USA, Australia, Canada, and the UK.
How Often Should I Clean the Grill?
You should wash your grill after every use. If you grill regularly, you should clean your grill thoroughly by disassembling it after every six months of regular use. Skipping the cleaning process doesn’t just decrease the efficiency of the grill. It also increases the chances of you consuming the harmful germs in the residue left over.
How do you degrease a BBQ grill?
The best way to degrease a BBQ grill is to use Baking Soda or Vinegar. Either sprinkle some baking soda on a damp grill and leave it for ten minutes or make a mixture of vinegar and warm and spray it onto the grate.
Looking for Spray Bottles for Your Cleaning Liquid?
Here are the best cleaning spray bottles you can buy in the USA, Australia, Canada, and the UK.
How to clean a rusty iron grill grate?
Vinegar and baking soda are also helpful in removing the rust from grill grates, however, if the rust on your grill is difficult to remove, you can scrub the rust off using steel wool or a wire brush with salt paste. To learn more, read our article on removing rust from your grill.
Looking for Rust Removal Liquids?
Here are the best rust removal solutions in the USA, Australia, Canada, and the UK.
I’m sure this article helped you identify the best way to clean your grill.
If you have any more questions or suggestions, drop me a comment in the comment section below.
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