When the weather is sunny and warm outside, there are few things more enjoyable than firing up your gas grill to cook dinner. In order to keep this essential appliance working at maximum efficiency, you’ll need to clean it regularly. Not only will investing a little time and elbow grease make your grill look better, it will last longer and be safer to operate. Make your outdoor kitchen as good as new by following these tips:
1. Turn Off Gas and Propane
Whenever you do any cleanup or maintenance work on a gas grill, it’s crucial to turn the gas off at the tank and disconnect the propane. This is a very important safety tactic, so check and double-check that you’ve done it before tackling your cleaning project.
2. Remove Burner Covers and Cooking Grates
Open your gas grill’s lid and take out the grungy burner covers, warming rack and cooking grates. These components are probably pretty filthy, so you’ll want to:
- Soak them in warm, sudsy water
- Scrub them with a scouring pad and dishwashing liquid
- Check for rust and pits in the metal
- Consider replacing rusty and/or worn-out covers and grates with:
- Porcelain enameled cast iron
- Stainless steel
3. Thoroughly Clean and Inspect Burners
Now that you’ve removed your burner covers, you can thoroughly inspect the burners. If they’ve been well protected by the cover bars, they may just need a bit of tidying up. Scour them with a wire brush or steel wool. Next, spray them liberally with a degreaser and scrub away the grit with a wire brush. Take a close look at the burner holes to make sure they’re clear, too. If the holes appear clogged, use a nail or straight pin to unclog them.
4. Scrape Your Grill
A putty knife can be used to scrape the inside of the hood and grill to get rid of as much build-up as possible. Take an all-purpose cleaner/degreaser and spray it over both hood and grill. After it’s had time to eat away the gunk, take out the garden hose and spray everything down.
If you’ve been cleaning your grill’s components on your patio or driveway, you now might want to move to an area off of the cement. Rinsing greasy grills on cement surfaces can stain them. After your grill is scrubbed, scoured and washed down, you’ll want to thoroughly rinse it to make sure you remove all traces of degreaser, dishwashing detergent, and residue. If you have a pressure washer, you can really make your backyard grill sparkle. If you do not have a pressure washer, you can still achieve good results by using your garden hose along with a soft bristle brush.
6. Check Functionality
Now that the grating of your grill has been cleaned, you’ll want to make sure the buttons, knobs and switches are working properly. If you find that some of them are no longer functional, find replacement parts and repair/replace according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Check your:
- Push button igniter switch
- Pressure regulators
- Batteries in ignition switch
- On/off switches
By repairing and replacing these components, not only will your grill work more efficiently, but it will be safer to cook on.
7. Touch Up Your Grill’s Exterior Paint
Now that your grill is clean, you might notice some chipped paint on the exterior. You can touch it up fairly easily, and make your appliance look as good as new. Do NOT paint the interior. To paint the outside, follow these steps:
- Use steel wool or a wire brush to get rid of any peeling paint or rust
- Apply a very thin coat of paint
- Allow it to dry
- Repeat with subsequent thin coats until the chipped spot is covered and the exterior color is uniform
8. Clean Your Grill Regularly
Many grill cooks wonder just how often they should scrub down their grills, and the answer will vary depending on the cook. The short answer is that a thorough scrub-down should be performed at the beginning of every grilling season. For most of us, this can seem a bit unrealistic, especially if we are in a rush to get dinner on the plate for our families. Some quick maintenance, however, really does need to be done every time you use it, including:
- Use your brush to clean off grates, sides, and lid
- Wipe off the barriers above the burners, such as:
- Metal plates
- Lava rocks
9. Avoid the Risks of Not Cleaning Your Grill
Not cleaning your grill is risky behavior. Grease and grime on dirty gas grills can lead to several issues, including:
- Foods absorbing unpleasant flavors
- Parts clogging and corroding
- Greasy buildup causing dangerous flare ups
10. Beware of Folk Remedy
There is a notorious grill cleaning technique that you should never do. This folk remedy can damage your food and cause a serious safety hazard. This method calls for covering the your grill’s grate with foil, turning the grill on high for 20 minutes, and then supposedly brushing away the ash. In reality, this method can:
- Damage cooking grates
- Crack ceramic igniters
- Break down burners
- Melt hoses and gas lines
- Combust captured gas
Although washing your grill can be a messy chore, it is an important one. Maintaining the cleanliness of your gas grill can extend its life for years longer than it otherwise would.