How to Clean a Grill: Tips for Charcoal, Gas, and All Other Grills

Summer is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to start preparing for those backyard barbecues. However, you will need to know how to clean a grill before you start all the summer grilling. Without proper cleaning, grease and food particles can accumulate on the grates and other surfaces of the grill over time, which can not only impact the taste of your food but also pose a fire hazard and even create potentially hazardous carcinogens.

Whether you’re hosting a party or just planning on taking advantage of the weather to cook regular family meals outdoors, knowing how to clean your grill will allow it to work better during the peak grilling season and keep your food tasting great. And fire- and health-risk free.

To help you prepare for a season of outdoor cooking, Kevin Kolman, Weber’s grill master, and George Patrick Barry, executive chef at the Mystic Mariott Hotel and Spa, share their expert advice and DIY cleaning tips for cleaning all types of barbecue grills and for cleaning all their nooks and crannies, from the hood to the ashes.

What do you need to clean your grill?

Regular cleaning is an essential part of grill maintenance to ensure optimal performance and prevent any food contamination, and to prevent the grill cleaning from becoming too big of a job. However, cleaning a grill can be a daunting task if you do not have the right cleaning tools and materials.

Similar to cleaning your cast-iron pans and Blackstone griddles, the tools and materials you use to clean your grill will vary depending on the type of grill you have and the amount of gunk and buildup on the cooking grates and burners. And don’t forget about other outdoor grill components like the drip pan or the interior of the hood.

A grill brush, scraper, grill cleaner, gloves, degreaser, and a little elbow grease are all useful tools for effective grill cleaning. By using these products regularly, you can keep your grill in great condition and enjoy delicious outdoor cooking for years to come.

Before we dive into the cleaning process, let’s go over the tools and materials you will need to clean your grill and why they are effective.

Grill brush:

One of the most essential tools for cleaning a grill is a grill brush. This brush features tough bristles that are designed to scrape away stubborn food residue and grease from the grill grates. It is important to use a grill brush that is appropriate for your grill type, such as wire bristles for metal grates and nylon bristles for porcelain-coated grates. You should also choose a brush with a long handle to protect your hands from the heat.

Nylon Bristle Grill Brush

Grill cleaner:

Another important cleaning material is a grill cleaner. This product is specifically formulated to break down grease and food residue on your grill grates, making it easier to remove with a brush or scraper. There are several types of grill cleaners available, including foam sprays, gels, and wipes. Whether you choose a grill cleaner that is suitable for cast-iron, stainless-steel, or porcelain-coated grates depends on your specific grill.

Weber Grill Grate Cleaner


In addition to a grill brush, a scraper is another useful tool for removing stubborn stuck-on food residue from your grill grates. A scraper features a sharp blade that can easily scrape away burnt-on food and grease, making it an effective tool for deep-cleaning your grill. Use a metal scraper for metal grates and a plastic scraper for porcelain-coated grates.


Cleaning a grill can be a messy job, and you must protect your hands from heat and any chemicals or cleaning products you may be using. A pair of heavy-duty silicone or leather gloves allow you to get a better grip on your grill brush or scraper. These gloves are also useful for handling hot grill grates while cleaning.

Mr. Clean Reusable Latex Gloves


If your grill has accumulated a lot of grease and grime, a degreaser can be a useful product to have on hand. A degreaser is a powerful cleaning agent that can dissolve stubborn grease and oil buildup on your grill grates and burners. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. For a natural alternative, try a mixture of white vinegar and hot water.

Stanley Home Products Original Degreaser

What is the best way to clean a BBQ grill?

Step 1: Pre-clean

Before you start cleaning your grill, make sure it’s turned off and cooled down completely. You don’t want to risk burning yourself while cleaning the grill. Once it’s fully cooled, remove the grates, the drip pan, and any other removable parts from the grill. Place them in a bucket of warm, soapy water (use a dish soap like Dawn) and let them soak while you clean the rest of the grill.

Step 2: Clean the grill grates

Image may contain Brush Device Tool Bbq Cooking Food and Grilling

Photo: Kinek00/Getty Images

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