Kitchen Hack: How to Clean Your Gas, Charcoal, or Electric Grill, Step by Step

July 26, 2016
by Annalise Mantz for Thrive Market
Kitchen Hack: How to Clean Your Gas, Charcoal, or Electric Grill, Step by Step

On a summer evening, grilling seems like the perfect way to make dinner. You can enjoy the sunshine while you cook—and there’s zero cleanup.

OK, maybe not zero. While you don’t necessarily need to wipe it down every time, even the sturdiest grills need a good scrub occasionally to stay in good working order.

How often is often enough? About once every five to 10 uses should do the trick, and it doesn’t have to be a big ordeal—gas, charcoal, and electric models are all fairly easy to clean. Just follow along below. (It also wouldn’t hurt to double-check the original instruction manual, if you still have it, for any tips specific to your model.)

Here’s to many steaks and veggie kebabs to come!

Gas

Gas grills are the most popular type—and also the trickiest to clean. Be especially careful to avoid getting any soap or water near the gas valves.

1: Disconnect the gas

Safety first: Turn off the propane, then detach the gas tubes to prevent any leaks.

2: Check the fuel line and burner tubes

Using warm soapy water and a dishrag, wipe down the fuel line. (Check out the photos here if you need help finding it.) Feel for holes or cracks as you go—if you find any, be sure to replace it before using the grill again. Use a gentle brush or damp dishrag to clean the burner tubes, checking that each port is open and free of debris.

3: Clean the grate

Remove the grate from the grill, then use a stiff-bristled grill brush to scrape off any baked-on grease. For especially tough-to-clean grime, spray a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar all over the grill and let sit for 10 minutes. Scrub the grate with balled-up aluminum foil and allow it to dry completely.

4: Empty the grease trap

If your grill has one, dump out the grease and wash it with warm soapy water. Some grease traps are even dishwasher safe—check the instruction manual or search your grill model online to find out.

5: Wipe down the rest of the grill

Almost done! Clean the lid, side tables, and any other surfaces with a rag and warm soapy water, then reassemble the grill. If you’re not using it immediately, put the cover on to protect the grill from the elements.

Charcoal

Beloved by barbecue purists, charcoal grills lend the smokiest flavor to foods—and they get bonus points for being very easy to clean.

1: Clean the grate

This time, you want to heat the grate before cleaning it. Fire up the grill and let the flames burn away any remaining bits of food. Then, while it’s still hot, use a grill brush to scrub off any remaining grease.

2: Discard the charcoal

Get rid of the spent charcoal every time you finish using the grill. If you let it sit there, cold, the pile of ash will collect moisture and eventually transform into a substance resembling cement—which is not exactly easy to clean out! Instead, keep an empty bucket next to the grill specifically for used charcoal and ash, then throw the contents in the trash once they’re cool.

3: Wipe down the lid

Almost done! Clean the lid, side tables, and any other surfaces with a rag and warm soapy water, then reassemble the grill. If you’re not using it immediately, put the cover on to protect the grill from the elements.

Electric

Because they’re usually more compact than their gas or charcoal counterparts, electric grills are ideal for apartment balconies and other small spaces. You also don’t have to deal with propane tanks or bags of charcoal, and cleaning them is a snap.

1: Unplug the grill

Let all surfaces cool completely before cleaning.

2: Empty the grease trap

If your grill has one, dump out the grease and wash it with warm soapy water. Some grease traps are even dishwasher safe—check the instruction manual or search your grill model online to find out.

3: Clean the grate or grill plate

If you can remove it: Clean it the way you would a gas grill grate.
If you can’t remove it: Sponge it off with soap and water.

4: Wipe down the rest of the grill

Almost done! Clean the lid, side tables, and any other surfaces with a rag and warm soapy water, then reassemble the grill. If you’re not using it immediately, put the cover on to protect the grill from the elements.

Photo credit: Alicia Cho

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This article is related to: Living, Summer

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