How to Clean a Traeger Grill (9 Easy Steps)

Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: December 4, 2023

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 grill is easy if the correct measures are in place from the start. I’ve put together a few tips that will help you clean a Traeger grill easily.

Quick Summary

  • Cleaning a Traeger grill involves removing grease, vacuuming ash, and wiping the thermostat probe.
  • Different grill grates require different cleaning techniques.
  • The grill should be reassembled after cleaning, with special attention to the drip tray and the aluminum foil cover.

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 grill grates, 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, a scraper, a wooden grill scrape, a nylon brush, a 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 the cleaner until all surfaces are clean. There is no need to rinse.
  2. Open the grill lid and start with the porcelain grill grates. Lightly scrape the cooking residue off the grate using the wooden grill scraper. The slots cut into the scraper correspond with the grill grates, so push the residue off the grate and wipe it with the cloth.

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

Cast iron grill grates should only be scraped using a wooden scraper or nylon brush. The grill grates 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.

Close up shot of a person cleaning grill grates
  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 aluminum 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 grill 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 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 grease bucket and wash it with a detergent.

The porcelain grate has a non-stick surface that can be damaged if 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, from the bucket to the grill cover, and you're ready to go. Pay special attention to the drip tray and the aluminum foil cover.

When To Use Soap To Clean The Traeger Grill

Soap spray with gloves

Detergent soap can be used on a Traeger pellet grill, even on the grease bucket and drip tray. 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 wood pellet grill recommendation is to use soap on the stainless steel grate for cleaning.

The Traeger pellet grill cleaner solution is specially formulated to clean the grill without causing any damage, even with a grill brush. It applies to the grease bucket and drip tray.

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 grates back into use is done in the following few easy steps.

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

  1. Heat the Traeger grill grates until they are 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 heavy-duty paper towels 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.

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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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