How to Clean a Grill

The cooking season is only a few weeks away, and if your gas or charcoal barbecue is still covered with leftover cheeseburgers and Hawaiian chicken from last year, now is the perfect time to freshen it up. as part of your spring cleaning routine. These quick tips from the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cleaning Lab come from years of testing outdoor grills, plus the cleaners and tools you need to keep them working well (and your food tasting great).

Here are the three main steps:

  1. Remove and clean the screens
  2. Clean the inside of the grill
  3. Clean the outside of the grill
    1. Step 1: How to clean the barbecue grates

      They are the workhorses of your cooker, and because they come in direct contact with your food, they should be clean. Starts with remove cold grates and wipe or brush off as much loose large debris as you can with a mesh or nylon scouring pad or brush. In a sink or large bucket, mix a soapy solution of a dishwashing liquid, such as Dawn, and hot water and place the grids to soak. If they don’t fully fit, submerge half of it, dip it in, then flip it over to get the other side. After soaking for 15-30 minutes, put on rubber gloves (such as GH Seal backing, Playtex) and rub the grids with a heavy-duty grill brush or scouring pad. Be extra careful with the porcelain grates, as you don’t want to damage them.

      If the grates are really dirty, soak them a second time to help soften and remove more grime without spending more elbow grease. Or try the new Sienna Grilltastic Grill steam cleaning system. Fill this electric washer with water, plug it in and in seconds the combination of the dishwasher-safe stainless steel brush head and hot steam will blast the grease off your grates. (He cleaned our GH Test Kitchen grill so well, our recipe testers asked if they could keep it.) Finally, rinse the grates well and let them dry.

      If scrubbing isn’t your thing, there’s Carbona’s 2-in-1 Grate & Grill Cleaner. This kit contains a large zipped bag and a 16 oz. bottle of cleaner. Simply place your screens in the bag, pour in the liquid, seal the bag and gently shake so that the cleaner coats the screens. Let it sit (away from children and pets) for eight hours, or even overnight. Then remove the supports from the bag, lightly rub any stubborn residue and rinse well. In our tests at the GH Institute Cleaning Lab, even a charcoal smoker’s grates came out clean with virtually no effort, thanks to this product.

      Step 2: How to clean the inside of a barbecue

      With the screens removed, brush the interior to remove loose particles that have accumulated at the bottom and sides. Scrape off the large flaking carbon and grease flakes and if yours is a charcoal grill, empty the ash collector. do not forget to clean the drip pan and grease cup in hot soapy water and line them with foil to make them easier to clean next time.

      Step 3: How to clean the exterior of a barbecue

      Mix another bath of warm soapy dish soap and water and wipe down the exterior, handle, side trays and all bottom doors with a sponge or cloth or use an all-purpose cleaner to cut grease, such as Mr. Clean Clean Freak Deep Cleaning Mist.

      In our GH tests, it cuts grease on contact and cleans stainless steel without leaving streaks. Rinse and dry. Finally, light the grill to make sure none of the burner holes are blocked and all gas lines and tubes are securely connected and in good condition.

      How to keep a barbecue clean all summer

      During grilling season, here are our step-by-step instructions for keeping your grill in good condition:

      • Run over the grates while they are still hot with a brush or pad or even a ball of foil to prevent food residue from building up.
      • Regularly clean grates and exterior surfaces with a spray such as Parker & Bailey BBQ Cleaner & Degreaser. In the GH Institute Cleaning Lab tests, it dissolves stuck-on messes better and faster than others we’ve tried.
      • Keep the wire brushes in good condition and replace them when worn so that the wire bristles don’t stick to the grates and get into your food.

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