How to Clean Grill Burners? (5 Simple Steps to Follow)

Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: June 20, 2024

Keeping your grill clean isn't just for aesthetics; it's also a way to ensure that your cooking produces food with the best possible taste.

Your gas grill burners are the heart and soul of your grill, and if you don't keep them clean, they will not be able to spread the flame evenly across your grill. This will result in your meal not cooking evenly or tasting as good as it should.

This article will set out some simple steps to help you keep your gas grill burning bright.

Quick Summary

  • Cleaning grill burners involves turning off the gas, removing and scrubbing the burners, unclogging the holes, and reassembling. Burner cleaning is simple and should only take 15-20 minutes
  • Cleaning grill burners is crucial for maintaining optimal taste and even cooking.
  • Regular inspection and cleaning can prevent issues like uneven flame patterns, stress cracks, and early burner failure.

Burner Cleaning Supplies

Gloves, brushes and spray in a bucket, scraping the outside of grill

Cleaning your gas grill burners is not difficult and only requires a few tools. Here is a checklist of what you will need:

  • Gloves
  • Putty Blade for Scraping
  • Nylon Brush or Wire Brush
  • Small Diameter Bottle Brush or Burner Rod
  • A Paper Clip, Small Drill Bit, or Toothpick
  • Cleaning Rags or Paper Towels

Steps for Cleaning Grill Burners

A dirty and rusty uncleaned grill

Grill burners are hollow tubes with gas inlet holes and flame outlet ports [1].

As you grill your food, seasonings, grease, juices, marinades, and sauces can fall upon and accumulate on your gas grill burners.

This buildup will start to form a thick residue that you will need to clean off.

That grease and grime will cause corrosion if not cleaned off, which will eventually result in uneven heating and early gas grill burner failure.

To keep your burners (and grill) working at peak efficiency, clean your gas grill following the steps outlined below:

1. Turn Off the Gas

As soon as you finish grilling, turn off your gas valve and let the grill cool down. You should disconnect the gas tank to ensure there is no leakage while you are working on the burners.

After you have turned off your grill, remove the grill grates and anything that is under them (lava rocks, ceramic briquettes, heat plates, flavorizer bars, drip pan, etc.) to expose your burners and any grease or debris sticking to them. Removing the grill grates will give you better access to the burners.

2. Remove the Burners

A person with gloves removing the grill burner

After removing the cooking grates, the next step of the cleaning process is to remove the burners.

Every grill manufacturer has a different way of securing the burners, but usually, burners are held in place at the front and back by some type of hardware.

This hardware may be screws, cotter pins, or clamps, but generally, it is easy to take off.

Remember to keep all the hardware together for easy reassembly of the grill.

After the hardware is removed, gently unseat the burner from the valve opening.

If your burner is directly associated with the ignitor or electrode, be careful while removing the gas burner tubes.

3. Scrub the Burners

Now that you have the burners removed, the cleaning can begin.

Before starting, note that you should not use water or any other liquid you would use for stainless steel surfaces to clean your gas grill burners.

Applying water to the burner can cause premature failure of the burner because of corrosion.

"You should think of a grill as a burner - it just happens to have grates. You shouldn't be intimidated by it."
- Bobby Flay, Chef

The proper way to clean your gas grill burners is to scrape them down with a putty knife and scrub the exterior surfaces with your grill brush.

This should dislodge any loose food and grime that is stuck to the burner.

Depending on how dirty they are, this process may take some time. Be sure not to skip any spots when scrubbing.

An important tip is to apply the grill brush in a side-to-side fashion rather than lengthwise up and down the gas burner.

Next, run the bottle brush through the interior of the burner to loosen and remove any residue.

Also Read: How to Clean a Grill Brush in 5 Easy Steps

4. Unclog the Burners

Unclogging the burners by poking the holes

After the burners have been thoroughly cleaned, use the paper clip, toothpick, or drill bit to unclog the holes and gas ports.

Gently insert the tool into every hole until they are clear of any buildup or corrosion.

You do not want to force the tool into the pits; just insert it gently until the bit comes out clean.

Then shake the burner tube to remove any food debris that may have fallen in.

Unclogging the burners is necessary for the grills to work properly. A clogged burner will result in variable gas flow through the remaining open holes.

This can lead to uneven flame patterns as you grill your food. Even worse, you may end up with stress cracks in the burner, which will lead to early failure and replacement.

5. Re-Assemble the Burners

Before reattaching the gas burners, you should do a complete and thorough inspection. Examine each burner tube to ensure there are no soft spots, holes, or cracks anywhere in the metal.

If you find a problem, you will need to replace the burner tubes. This is a simple procedure, but one that should be unnecessary if you clean them regularly.

If the burner is undamaged, reinstall it into its opening and secure it with the screw or clamp. Again, be careful not to damage any associated equipment as you re-assemble the burner.

Next, replace the flame tamers and grill grates, reconnect the gas line, turn on the propane tank valves or gas supply, and test the grill to ensure everything is working correctly. Observe the gas flame and ensure it is hot and blue.

After setting the propane tank, your gas grill will be ready to use.


Troubleshooting Damaged Burners

A person wiping the gas grill

If your burners are not operating properly, there may be a problem that you can troubleshoot without getting outside help.

For example, if your burners make a popping noise, you may have debris, spiders, or insects inside your burner. In this case, remove the burner and clean the inside as described above.

If you are getting either too much or not enough heat from your burners, you will need to check the holes. Clogged burners will generate low heat.

Furthermore, clogged burner holes can result in dangerous and annoying flame blowouts while you are grilling.

"Maintenance is terribly important."
- Manolo Blahnik, Spanish Designer

On the other hand, the gas flow will be increased if the burner has holes in it that weren’t there by design.

Cracks and holes in the burner metal will cause excess gas flow and hot spots in gas grills. They can also cause repeated flare-ups that can char your meat through the grill grates or burn off your seasoning.

If you see any cracks or holes in your burners, it is time to replace them.


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About the author

Timothy Woods
CEO / Co-Founder
Timothy Woods holds a Kinesiology and Exercise Science degree from Jacksonville University and is CCC & GMU Certified. He's also the main man behind Carnivore Style. This food aficionado combines science and experience to spread the word about the carnivore lifestyle.
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