How to Keep Your Grill Grates Clean

Posted by Emily Park on Apr 27, 2017 11:00:21 AM

Steaks on a clean grill grateIt’s a beautiful day and you decide to make the most of it with an impromptu cookout. You get the grill heated up, make the burger patties, and get the buns and fixings ready to go—but just as you’re ready to get those burgers sizzling, you discover your grill grates are coated in grime from the last cookout!

Nothing puts a damper on cookout night like a dirty grill. Or, if you’re planning for the week and you know a huge cleaning task lies ahead of you before you can enjoy a perfectly seared steak, you may just opt for take-out instead.  

Once you’ve invested in a quality grill, barbecue island, or a full outdoor kitchen, you’ll want to use it to its fullest. Thankfully, keeping your grill clean and useable doesn’t have to be an arduous task, as long as you get into the habit of cleaning it regularly.

Here’s a step-by-step grill cleaning schedule that uses several small tasks to keep things nice, eliminating the need for a large and overwhelming cleaning job.

Before you start

Before turning the grill on, check the ash catcher (for a charcoal grill), and if it's full, empty it.

Brush the grill grates with a long-handled wire grill brush. (The long handle is an important safety feature since it keeps your hands further from the grill surface.) Make sure the wires are free of rust and straight enough to clean effectively.

During preheat

First of all, you ARE preheating your grill for 15 to 25 minutes before adding the meat, right? Good!

While the grate is getting to the perfect cooking temperature, use that same wire brush to scrape off any food particles from previous sessions. The leftovers will come off more easily when they’re hot, and removing them lessens the chance of your food coming into contact with lingering bacteria.

Go ahead and oil your grill at this stage to prevent food from sticking as it cooks. Do not use a spray-on coating: it’s a major fire hazard over an open flame! Instead, soak a paper towel with cooking oil, and use tongs to rub the towel over the grate.

After cooking

As soon as you take the food off the grill, go ahead and brush the grate again while it's still hot. It’s a lot easier to clean at this stage than it will be later, and it makes the next grilling session go more smoothly, too.

This step is also beneficial because it gives you a chance to let your meat rest immediately after cooking, which enhances the flavor.

After cool-down

Put the cover down over your grill until the next time you’re ready to use it. This will protect the grate from pollen, dust, leaves and other debris.

Between sessions

It’s a good idea to disinfect the grill from time to time between grilling sessions. For a natural cleaning option, put white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray onto the cool grates. Let the vinegar sit for up to five minutes, and then use a ball of aluminum foil to scrape away debris.

End of the season

While you can continue to enjoy your grill throughout the colder months, if you know you’re shutting it down until the spring, be sure to turn off the propane supply (for a gas grill) for safety’s sake!


We hope these tips make your grill more readily accessible throughout the season. If you’re ready to upgrade your grill to a more effective model, call us at (888) 747-4554 or see what's available using the banner below.

Happy grilling!

Outdoor kitchen grills