Summer is around the corner and with it, BBQ season.
Whether your grill runs on gas, electricity or charcoal a few months of neglect can make your grill a less appetizing place to cook for the family. Performing a seasonal maintenance check is also a good way to prevent accidents or long-term damage to your grill.
Keeping your grill covered will help, but if you want to keep your grill-master status, getting your grill ready for summer by giving it a pre-season cleaning is a good idea.
Ready to Get Your Grill Ready for Summer?
Take the following steps:
- Power Down for Safety
- Take It Apart
- Clean the Elements
- Clean the Interior
Power Down for Safety
The first step in cleaning your grill is to make sure that it’s safe. Propane and sparks don’t mix, neither does electricity nor water. Take the following steps before you start cleaning your grill.
If you’re using a gas grill, turn all knobs to off, then disconnect the gas lines, both where they connect to the burners, and where they connect to the tank. This is also a good opportunity to check gas lines and the exterior of the tank for dents, erosion or damage.
If you are unsure about the condition of your gas tank or gas lines, don’t take chances, talk to a professional gas supplier.
Remove and safely discard old charcoal bricks and residue. Take extra care to unclog all air vents.
Unplug your grill and check the power cord for wear and tear.
Take it Apart
Taking your grill apart will allow you to access and clean every part of your grill. Every grill is different, so you should consult your grill manual on how to do this, or contact the manufacturer. Another easy trick is to take pictures of each step with your smartphone so you can reference them later. Have a drop cloth ready so you know where all your parts are.
For All Grills
- Remove the grill plates and set them aside.
- If applicable, remove the grease trap and smoker box
- Disassemble the burner tubes, valves and venturi tubes. When you remove the ignition wires, wrap them in aluminum foil to keep them safe.
Clean the Elements
Once your grill has been disassembled, you can start cleaning off the individual elements.
These are the true workhorse of your grill, and the section that touches your food, so you want to get the grill grates as clean as possible.
You can clean the grill grates including spray-on grill cleaner, or soak in warm soapy water. Then simply scrub clean with a grill brush or scrubbing sponge.
Be sure that you clean both sides of the grill grate. When your grill grates are clean, make sure to rinse thoroughly and dry.
Once clean, rub the grates with vegetable oil. This will help prevent rust and keep food from sticking to your grill in the future.
Use a wire or brush to clean out the tubes and rinse with water. If the small holes in the burners are blocked and obstructed, use a small paperclip or pin to poke through the debris and clear the holes. Clean the ports by brushing side-to-side instead of up-and-down, as the vertical motion may push debris in deeper. If the holes are cracked or deteriorating, replace them with new burners.
Once complete, rinse the tubes with plain water and let dry.
Finally, remove any residue that is stuck to the outer surface of the tubes with your grill brush.
Grill Control Valves
Check your valves to make sure they’re working. A clogged or malfunctioning valve can affect your ability to control the grill temperature. Clean them with water or a degreasing solvent to remove any dust or grease.
The venturi tubes are the pipes that connect the burner tubes to the grill control valves. These tubes allow the air and gas to mix together, altering the intensity of the flame. Unfortunately, these can get clogged with dirt as well as insects that nest there during the off-season. Rinse these out as well and let them dry before re-assembling.
Clean the Interior
After your remove the grill grates, burners and tubes, clean out the interior of your grill with a grill cleaner or warm soapy water. If you see spots on your stainless steel or fragments that look like peeling paint, these are signs of built-up grease. Use a cleaner with a de-greasing agent to remove.
Remove as much residue as possible, the cleaner your grill, the better your food will taste. Wipe the interior dry, you don’t want any moisture to pool inside your grill while it’s waiting to be used.
Clean the Exterior
Once the interior is clean and dry, clean the exterior. Don’t use a grill cleaner, it will damage the paint and stainless steel. Instead, a simple solution of soap and water will do the trick.
Once everything is clean and dry, reassemble your grill. For a gas grill be careful to check wires and make sure burner tubes are connected properly.
Please note: Failure to re-assemble your grill burners correctly could result in a fire hazard. If your burners are not easily removable (or you’re not confident that you could properly replace your grill burners), do not disassemble, simply use a sponge lightly moistened with water to wipe down the burners.
If you want to keep your grill cleaner between uses.
- When you’re done grilling, turn the heat up for 10-15 minutes, and then turn off the grill. Food and residue will be easier to brush or scrape away while your grates are still warm.
- Keep your grill covered. This will keep dust, bird droppings and other environmental pollutants from staining your grill’s exterior. It can also keep insects out of your venture tubes.
When you get your grill ready for summer, you’ll enjoy better tasting food, have greater control over your grill, and you can extend its useful life for years to come.
Please Note: All grills are different. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations before disassembling, cleaning or reassembling your grill.