Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: March 21, 2023

While everybody loves a good barbeque during hot summer months, no one enjoys the hassle of cleaning greasy barbeque grills.

However, many people emphasize the importance of cleaning the grill after every use, but is this necessary?

Regardless of the type of barbeque grills used, they must be cleaned after every use.

Furthermore, deeper and professional cleaning of your grill should occur a few times throughout the year. This is to improve the quality of the meat cooked on the grill and avoid sickness [1].

So while it may be a chore to clean barbeque grills after every use, this added level of cleanliness gives you peace of mind when cooking, as it significantly reduces the chance of food being contaminated while improving the grill’s longevity.

Quick Summary

  • Barbeque grills must be cleaned after every use and professionally cleaned every few months.
  • Different brushes must be used for different types of grills.
  • Although soapy water is important for cleaning grills, care must be taken to thoroughly dry them to avoid rust.

How Often Should You Clean A Barbeque Grill?

Man wiping his own grill using a towel

During the cooking process, flame-grilled meat produces carbon deposits that can be displaced on every surface of a barbeque grill, including the grates, hood, interior of the firebox, and the burner tubes of gas grills [2].

These deposits, when heated up, can react with meat being cooked on the grill, potentially exposing the meat to harmful bacteria.

This harmful bacteria can significantly hamper the taste of the meat or result in food poisoning.

Further to the above health hazards, carbon deposits contain very dangerous carcinogens, which can increase the risk of cancer.

Over and above the health hazards of not cleaning a grill is how a dirty grill will affect its efficiency.

An excessive build-up of carbon results in grills that heat unevenly, do not reach full operating temperature, and cause gas tubes to fail.

Therefore, a barbeque grill should be cleaned after every use, while deeper professional cleans should be done every four to six months.

What Tools Do You Need To Clean A Barbeque Grill?

Before looking at how to clean a barbeque grill, it is important to ensure you have all the necessary equipment to do so efficiently and effectively [3].

1. Wire Brush

Wire brush on wooden floor

A sturdy wire brush is a vital tool when cleaning grills, as the carbon deposits can prove very sticky and sturdy.

It is advisable to get a wire brush with a long handle, as this allows the user to get into hard-to-reach areas of the grill while also acting as a safety precaution against getting your hands too close to dangerous heat.

Cleaning a grill with a wire brush should also include using a pit glove for added protection.

In the absence of a wire brush, a ball of aluminum foil and tongs can be used for scraping.

2. Nylon Grill Brush

Nylong grill brush in dark background

A nylon brush is a gentler alternative to a wire brush that won’t leave any metal bristles behind after cleaning.

While a nylon brush may not be as sturdy or efficient as a wire brush, it is needed if your grill has ceramic, porcelain, or cast-iron grates.

This is because it won’t risk cracking or scraping surfaces in the same way that a wire brush would.

Just make sure that the area being cleaned has cooled down sufficiently to avoid damaging the brush.

Related: How to Clean Grill Brush

3. Specialized Grill Scrapers

While brushes are effective, investing in specialized grill scrapers may be necessary.

Grill scrapers are used when a grill has particularly bad carbon deposits or a commercial grill that sees extensive use.

Their design aims to get the residue out of hard-to-reach areas of a grill and eliminate stubborn residue.

Also Read: Best Grill Brush

How To Clean A Barbeque Grill?

Using a brush to clean the grill

While cleaning a barbeque grill can be labor-intensive, these step-by-step instructions should help you clean your grill efficiently and effectively [4].

1. Heat The Grill

The first step is to close the grill’s hood and let it come to full temperature for 30 minutes.

This helps loosen any residue on the grates that can be easily scrubbed off with a wire brush and some soapy water.

Once complete, let the grill cool completely before moving to the next step.

2. Soak The Components

Once the grill is cooled, remove all the grates, racks, trays, knobs, and bars and submerge them in warm, soapy water. Allow the components to soak for at least 30 minutes before removing them.

3. Vacuum The Firebox

With the components soaking, this frees up a lot of room to allow you to also soak the firebox with warm, soapy water. Once soaked and the firebox empties, allow it a moment to dry before vacuuming it.

While vacuuming up any loose debris, make sure the vacuum cleaner being used can house any wet residue, should any remain after the soaking process.

4. Scrub All The Components And The Firebox

Once all the components and the firebox have dried completely, use a wire or nylon brush to scrub everything thoroughly.

It is advisable to use a white vinegar and baking soda paste for stubborn residue while scrubbing.

This is also a presents an opportunity to scrub and clean out difficult-to-reach areas that may house insects or loose foliage.

5. Wash And Wipe Everything

Use a sponge with clean water and some added drops of dishwashing liquid to gently scrub the external parts of the grill. Ensure the sponge is soft and not coarse enough to scratch any finished surfaces.

Once done, use an absorbent micro cloth to wipe down and dry all surfaces. This is very important for cast iron grills that are prone to rust!

6. Final Touches And Precautions

Reassemble the grill in its entirety and heat the grill to its maximum temperature. Close the grill’s hood and allow the heat to burn off any remaining residue for 15 minutes.

Cover the grill with a certified grill cover to ensure protection from the elements and debris to ensure longevity and cleanliness.

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While it may seem excessive to clean your barbeque grill after every use, there are very good reasons for doing so, with the act of cleaning itself being fairly simple with the correct materials.


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