How to Clean a Grill

By Kealia Reynolds

A dirty grill can block gas flow and lead to an unsafe buildup of grease, which can cause dangerous grease fires. Though you should be cleaning your outdoor grill after every use, it’s a good idea to give it a deeper clean at least once a year (twice a year if you grill frequently) to ensure it runs safely and efficiently. Here’s how to clean a grill in nine steps.


  • Work gloves
  • Bucket filled with soap and water
  • Disposable sponge
  • Hose
  • Broom
  • Grill brush or wire brush
  • Putty knife
  • Handheld vacuum (optional)
  • Bristle brush (optional)
  • Paper towels (optional)

How to clean a grill in 9 steps

Before cleaning your grill, make sure all dials, as well as the gas supply, are in the off position and disconnect the propane tank from the grill.

The following steps to clean your grill should take no more than 20 minutes to complete.

  1. Using gloves, remove the cooking grates and heat plates and place them in a bucket of warm, soapy water.
  2. Use a grill brush to scrub the underside of the hood. Lightly brush the burner tubes and make sure the gas ports on the burner unit are clean and free of blockages.
  3. Remove debris from the bottom of the grill by hand or with a small, handheld vacuum and wipe down the burner with a sponge.
  4. Take the grates and heat plates out of the bucket and lean them against your grill. Scrub them with a wire brush and rinse them off with a hose. Note: using anything other than a wire brush can damage grill grates, especially if they’re porcelain.
  5. Remove the grease collection tray from under the grill. If there is grease in the tray, pour it into an empty, non-recyclable bottle, then throw the bottle away. For charcoal grills, remove the ash catcher and empty it. Clean the tray or ash catcher with soap and warm water before attaching it back to the grill.
  6. Insert the grates and metal plates and reconnect the propane tank.
  7. If your grill has a cabinet on the bottom for storage, remove it and sweep away any leaves and debris with a broom.
  8. If you find peeling black carbon flakes on the grill lid, use a putty knife or bristle brush to scrape them off.
  9. Gently scrub down the exterior of the grill with soapy water and a sponge. For extra shine, gently polish the outside of your grill with stainless steel cleaner. If you have a porcelain grill, you can use a porcelain cleaner to clean the outside of the grill. Avoid using steel wool or a coarse pad on a stainless steel grill, as those will leave scratches everywhere. Use a microfiber towel or paper towels to wipe down and dry the exterior of the grill.

How to maintain your grill

Now that you know how to clean a grill, here are a few additional tips to make sure your grill stays in top shape.

  • Routinely check for propane leaks on a monthly basis by running soapy water along the gas line and connections (with the propane turned on). If bubbles form, you’ll need to tighten the connection or replace the line.
  • Check your grease collection tray before grilling. A full tray can lead to a grease fire.
  • After preheating the grill, brush the grill grates with a grill brush or wadded-up piece of aluminum foil to remove any burnt food from your previous grilling session. Oil hot grates before grilling so food doesn’t stick.
  • After you’re finished grilling, wait for the grill to cool down then take your grill brush and clean off any remaining food particles from the grates.
  • Keep your grill covered when it’s not in use. Most grill manufacturers make covers that can be bought separately.

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