Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: May 10, 2022

My Traeger Grill and I have been putting smiles on people's faces for over a decade. Whether cooking steaks, burgers, or chicken, the grill is always the central gathering point of every party.

Cleaning up after hosting people is never fun, but fortunately, cleaning the Traeger is easy if the correct measures are in place from the start. I’ve put together a few tips that will make your post-grill cleanup a snap.

Quick Summary

  • Remove all the grease from the Traeger Grill, inside and out.
  • Vacuum up all the cold ash inside the grill, including the firepot.
  • Make sure the thermostat probe is wiped clean after every cook.

How To Clean A Traeger Grill The Right Way

A clean Traeger grill

Traeger grills are unique in that the burning of wood pellets creates heat for cooking.

These are fed from the hopper into a small firepot by an auger. The temperature of the Traeger grill is controlled through a digital temperature setting dial [1].

An electrically powered, thermostat-controlled hot rod ignites the wood pellets as and when needed and keeps the grill temperature at the desired heat setting.

The all-steel design of the Traeger grill, of course, means that some care is needed to ensure the grill looks good and stays in excellent working condition.

Steel exposed to heat and moisture will rust and tarnish if not cared for adequately. The internal surfaces need to be cleaned regularly to ensure the internal protective coatings are not damaged.

Depending on the model, the Traeger cooking grid (where the food is cooked) is made either from stainless steel, porcelain-covered metal grate, or cast iron. These require different cleaning techniques.

Cleaning A Traeger Grill In 9 Easy Steps

Wiping off the grill with a cloth

You will need a soft cloth or paper towel, scraper, wooden grill scrape, nylon brush, Traeger grill cleaner, and a vacuum cleaner. Allow the grill to cool down completely before you start.

  1. Using a soft cloth or a paper towel, spray and wipe down the outside surfaces of the grill with Traeger grill cleaner until all surfaces are clean. There is no need to rinse.
  2. Open the grill lid and start with the porcelain grate. Lightly scrape the cooking residue off the grate using the wooden grill scraper. The slots cut into the scraper correspond with the grate, so just push the residue off the grate and wipe it with the cloth.

Stainless steel grates can be scrubbed down using a wire brush if needed and washed in a detergent; however, don’t use these on the porcelain or cast-iron grates.

Cast iron grates should only be scraped using a wooden scraper or nylon brush. The grate will have been seasoned to make it non-stick. It is therefore essential to preserve this layer.  Use a cloth to do the final cleaning by wiping the grate till clean.

  1. Once the grate is removed, the drip tray is exposed. Remove the drip tray carefully so that you do not damage the thermostat probe located against the left side of the grill. Remove the old foil covering the drip tray and discard. Replace the foil with one sheet of heavy-duty foil.
  2. Now clean the horizontal rails that the grate rests on. Using a metal scraper, carefully work around the grill rails, removing fats or food residues. Once done, use the nylon brush and cloth to finish cleaning the rails.
  3. Remove the firepot cover by lifting it out. The firepot, which contains ash, will now be exposed.
  4. Using a cloth or nylon brush, rub down the inside of the grill's lid and the side panels to remove any cooking and ash residue. If the residue is stubborn, use the Traeger grill cleaner to loosen it up.
  5. Now focus on the base of the grill. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up all the loose wood ash and bits of burned fat that might be lying on the bottom of the grill. Make sure to suck the ash out of the firepot too.
  6. Using a cloth, wipe the thermostat probe clean to ensure temperature readings won't be affected by debris covering the surface.
  7. The last step is to remove the oil trap bucket and wash it with a detergent.

The porcelain grate has a non-stick surface which can be damaged if it is scrubbed using a wire brush. The cast iron grill relies on the seasoning of the grate to make the surface non-stick. Using detergents or a wire brush on the surface will damage the protective coating.

Re-assemble all the parts, and you're ready to go.

When To Use Soap To Clean The Traeger Grill

Soap spray with gloves

Detergent soap can be used on a Traeger grill. However, harsh cleaning agents or power washers should never be used to clean the grill.

Using a moistened cloth dipped in lightly soaped water will avoid wetting the grill excessively. Wipe down the grill with a clean cloth after applying soap to any area of the grill.

The Traeger grill recommendation is to use soap on the stainless steel grate for cleaning.

The Traeger grill cleaner solution is specially formulated to clean the grill without causing any damage.

Chemicals in soaps tend to stick to the metal surface of the griddle even when rinsed thoroughly. These residues can end up in your next griddle meal and could affect the taste.

Avoid spilling water into the pellet hopper or firepot, as this will cause any pellets remaining in the hopper or auger to swell and block the auger.

Also, avoid getting the grills' electrical components excessively wet as these are not fully waterproof.

How To Remove Rust From Cast Iron Traeger Grill Grates

Before and after comparison of rust removal of a grill grates

The Traeger grill cast iron grate is prone to rust if it has lost its protective seasoning.

Getting your grill grate back into use is done in the following few easy steps.

You will need a soft cloth or paper towel, scraper, wire brush, nylon scourer, water, seasoning, and cast iron conditioner.

  1. Heat the cast iron grate until it is hot
  2. Using the scraper and the wire brush, scrape the grate's surface until the rust starts flaking off. Be careful not to scratch the plate by exerting too much force with the scraper. Take your time and keep the scraper at a shallow angle.
  3. Turn the heat down and let it cool enough to avoid burning yourself.
  4. Using a paper towel or a cloth, wipe the rust residue off the surface.
  5. Pour water onto the grill grate and wipe down with a cloth.
  6. Once it has cooled down, rub down the surface with a nylon scourer and rinse with water
  7. If any rust remains, repeat steps 3 through 5.
  8. Once the rust is gone, the griddle plate will need to be re-seasoned to prevent it from rusting again [2]. Seasoning will also restore the non-stick surface.

Conclusion

Cleaning your Traeger Grill is as easy as wiping down the grill and its parts after cooking.

All you need is a handy paper towel or clean cloth. Re-seasoning after every use is only essential for the cast iron grate to ensure the cooking surface does not rust.

If the grill's steel plate has rusted, the only solution is to remove the rust by scraping it off using a scraper and a cloth. Once clean and returned to a clean bare steel surface, the seasoning process needs to be re-done to restore the non-stick quality of the griddle and prevent future rusting.

You can apply this cleaning process with all kinds of Traeger Grills.


References:

  1. https://www.traeger.com/learn/how-it-works
  2. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/season-cast-iron-grill-grates-38386.html

Was this article helpful?

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.