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Getting Ready for Summer: How to Clean a Gas Grill

Is your grill looking a little worse for wear? Bringing it back to its former glory just takes a bit of time and some elbow grease.
Whether you've been BBQing through the winter months or you're just wheeling the grill out of storage, now is the perfect time for a thorough cleaning. Summer is just around the corner and there's no better way to celebrate than whipping up a feast for friends and family. But before you send out the invites, take this chance to make sure your grill is in top shape for the season to come.

Why It Matters

Gas grills highlight the flavors of your meal without overshadowing them. As grease and char build up on the grill, they start to tint the taste of your favorite dishes. While some grillmasters might enjoy the seasoning, grease and char can also lead to hot and cold spots around the grill. Plus, that caked-on grease around the grill is a hotbed for bacteria. So roll up your sleeves, grab a grill brush, and let's get to work.

Before Getting Started

Gather your supplies:

Perfect. One last thing before we get to cleaning:

Safety First

Before you start scrubbing grates, make sure your fuel source is safe. Use the soapy water test to check for leaks on your gas grill:
  1. Confirm that the burners on your grill are all off.
  2. Mix together a 50/50 solution of water and dish soap.
  3. Open the fuel line but DO NOT adjust the grill's control knobs.
  4. Spray or sponge the soapy water over the hose, connections, and propane tank (if you have one).
  5. Closely inspect all components for growing bubbles
Soapy water will always have a few bubbles. The bubbles will grow like a balloon being filled with air in the case of a leak. If either of the connections appears to be leaking, turn off the gas, resecure the connections and test them again. If the leak persists, replace the part. When the hose itself is the source of the leak, there's no need to retest. Just replace it.
If you notice your propane tank leaking, move it away from your home and call the fire department.

Cleaning the Inside of Your Gas Grill

After making sure the grill is safe to use, it's time to get to work. While most grill masters give their grates a good scrub with a wire brush before or after each barbecue, starting the season with a more thorough cleaning is a good idea. Be sure to inspect the grates as you go. If you notice deep rust spots that won't come out or seriously chipped porcelain, consider replacing the grates. An uneven cooking surface can lead to hot spots on the grill and inconsistent results for your favorite recipes.

To Clean the Inside of a Gas Grill:

  1. Turn on the gas and set all of your burners on high for about 15 minutes.
  2. Turn off the gas and burners and while the grill grates are still hot, scrub them with stainless steel wire brush. Scrubbing the hot grates with a halved onion or a crumpled ball of aluminum foil can also be surprisingly effective.
  3. Disconnect the gas and wait for the grates to cool.
  4. Remove the grates and soak them in a bucket of soapy water. While the grates soak, take out the metal plates covering the burners and the burner tubes themselves. Let all of these components soak when you continue cleaning. (Burner tubes are typically held in place with screws or cotter pins. If you aren't comfortable removing them, do your best to scrub them in place. Most importantly, make sure all of the holes are unobstructed.)
  5. Check the drip tray. If it's reusable, let it soak with the other components. If not, replace it.
  6. Use a shop-vac to vacuum out any debris left inside the grill.
  7. Scrub the inside of the lid and the firebox (the section below the grates, where the fire usually is) with soapy water and a wire brush. If you need something more abrasive, try using vinegar and baking soda mixed together into a paste.
  8. Head back to the soaking components and start scrubbing. The soap and water should have loosened any stubborn debris, but don't hesitate to use the vinegar/baking soda paste on these items as well.
  9. While scrubbing, make sure all of the holes in the burner tubes are clear. Toothpicks are the perfect tool for clearing any obstructions you find.
  10. After scrubbing all of the components clean, let them dry. Don't forget to check the grill grates for bristles than may have fallen off your brush. No one want to bite into a burger peppered with stainless steel bristles.

Cleaning the Outside of a Gas Grill:

Thankfully, cleaning the outside of your grill is a much simpler process.
  1. Start by scrubbing the outer portion of the lid with a soapy kitchen sponge.
  2. Continue scrubbing. Make sure to get the legs, side tables, and any other surface exposed to the elements.
  3. If you have a stainless steel grill or even a grill with stainless steel accents, restore its shine with stainless steel cleaner. Alternatively, vinegar can bring back a bit of luster.
  4. Let the grill air dry. Or, if you're in a hurry to finish, microfiber cloths are great at wicking away moisture without leaving streaks.
Once you've finished cleaning the inner and outer portions, all that's left is to reassemble it. Take a moment to appreciate your hard work and imagine all of the delicious meals your newly cleaned grill will provide.
Done? Good.
Now call some friends and family over for a barbecue!

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