People like to argue over whether what’s better: a gas grill or a charcoal one. They like to argue that the grill they prefer is the easiest one to use, produces the best tasting food, or is the easiest to clean up. Although we can’t speak to those first two points, the one thing that we can say is that both of these grill types can be easy to clean—if the consumer takes the time to prepare them properly and takes a few steps to clean them up.
As you may have realized by now, this article is dedicated to helping our readers keep their grills clean. While gas grills are the easiest to maintain, charcoal grills can also be easily maintained if the consumer is willing to plan ahead and purchase the right tools for the job. With that said, let’s jump into things and find out how both gas and charcoal grill owners can keep their grills in good condition for a lot longer.
Setup Your Grill Properly
One of the first things that you can do to make their life easier is to make sure that their grill is set up properly in the first place. This means placing the grill in a well-ventilated open space that’s at least 10-feet away from your home. Make sure that there are no limbs or other combustible surfaces overhead and that the legs are properly installed and firmly in place.
If you have a gas grill, you’re also going to want to check over some safety protocols before using the grill. This includes making sure that the propane tank is properly installed or the natural gas connection is secure. For propane users, make sure that you check hoses for abrasions and make sure there are no gas leaks at connections every single time you use your grill. When lighting the gas grill, always make sure that the lid is open to prevent flash-off that can occur from gas buildup. And finally, do not attach or disconnect your propane tank while the grill is in use or while it’s hot.
If you’re using a charcoal grill, there are fewer things to check but that doesn’t mean that you can just start grilling. If the grill’s been used before, be sure to check that the previous charcoal debris has been removed from the grill and that the vents aren’t blocked. Also, make sure that the grill grate is clean and ready to go.
Regardless of whether you’re using a charcoal or gas grill, however, it’s important to make sure that the grill grate is properly seasoned. Seasoning the grates doesn’t mean that you’re altering the flavor of the food placed upon them, but only means that you’re making sure that food doesn’t stick to them. If you’re grilling for the first time, add canola oil to the grates while they’re cold, and then turn on the grill for 15-minutes. The oil will begin to smoke and will eventually burn off. Now, your grill grates are seasoned.
Clear Away Grease & Ash
Although gas and charcoal grills are different animals, much of the maintenance that has to be performed on each one isn’t all that different. For gas grills, make sure to remove the bottom tray and use a plastic scraper to scrape the grease into the trash. If using a charcoal grill, make sure to dump out the charcoals after they’ve cooled into a metal can.
Keep The Grill Clean
The next thing that you’re going to want to do to keep your grill in good condition is to clean it inside and out. For that job, you’re going to need a few tools. One of the most important tools to use is a great grill cleaner that’s made specifically for your type of grill. It’s also a good idea to have a microfiber cloth available, a sponge, a grate scraper, and depending on the type of grill you own either a window cleaner or stainless steel cleaner. The grill should be cleaned thoroughly after every 5 to 10 uses. Remember, a clean grill will not only last longer but will also be more effective.
Cleaning Grill Grates
To clean your grill grates, use a grill brush (preferably not a wire one as they can be dangerous) or grill stone. Scrape off any stuck-on food and grime thoroughly to avoid bacteria from building up on the grill surface or food ending up getting stuck to it.
To clean gas grills, make sure that the burners are off and scrub them thoroughly. When they’re clean use cooking oil to season the grates. Charcoal grills should have their grates clean while they’re hot. Sprinkle on a little water on the grates and then use a grill brush to steam clean the grates.
Clean The Exterior Of The Grill
The next thing that you’re going to want to do is to make sure the exterior of the grill is clean. How the exterior of the grill is cleaned is going to depend a lot on the type of grill that you use. Below are some common materials that grills are made from so that you can learn how each one should be cleaned.
If the grill has a stainless-steel lid, then you should clean the exterior with plain old soap or water, or a suitable grill cleaner. Use a sponge and scrub with the grain of the stainless-steel to avoid marring it. Once the grill is clean, rinse it off completely and then use a clean cloth to dry it.
Porcelain-coated lids have to be treated like glass. They’re very fragile and if mishandled will crack. Therefore, the best way to clean them is to use plain dishwashing soap and water. Rinse and dry it thoroughly after cleaning, and then polish it with a window cleaner and microfiber cloth.
Powder-coated steel lids can be cleaned with dishwashing soap and water, and then dried with a microfiber towel. Never use a stainless-steel polish on these lids. Some might have a stainless-steel look to them, but they aren’t stainless steel and you’ll end up marring their surface.
The problem with painted lids is that the paint tends to wear off and then they rust. If this hasn’t happened yet, then the grill can be cleaned with a microfiber cloth and dish soap—just make to thoroughly dry it after it has been cleaned. If the surface has begun to rust, then use sandpaper to remove the rust before washing the surface. After that’s been done, the surface should then be dried and new paint applied to it.