How to Deep Clean a Grill

Got a dirty gas grill and want to know how to deep-clean it? Follow this eight-step process to get it sparkling and BBQ-ready.

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Introduction

As summer arrives each year, many folks are eagerly awaiting their first barbecued meal of the season. Outdoor grills are great, but maintaining them is just as important as cooking with them.

If your grill needs a deep clean, but you're not sure where to start, we can help. Keep reading for eight detailed steps on how to deep clean your gas grill. Before you begin with the steps here, remember to take photos as you go. You'll appreciate the visual reminder if you have trouble putting parts back correctly.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Heavy-duty rubber gloves
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Large garbage can
  • Flat-end putty knife
  • Shop vacuum (optional, but recommended)
  • Hand broom and dustpan
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Stainless steel wire brush

Materials You’ll Need

  • Dish soap and water
  • Grill cleaning spray
  • Heavy-duty shop towels
  • Stainless steel cleaning wipes, as needed

Project step-by-step (8)

Step 1

Degrease the Upper Cookbox

  • Disconnect the gas supply from your grill, then put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands from grill grease and cleaning products.
  • Mix a solution of 20 percent dish soap and 80 percent water in a spray bottle, then open the lid of your grill and spray down the inside of the upper cookbox. Leave the solution to dissolve the grease for a few minutes, then brush it thoroughly with a stainless steel brush.
  • Next, carefully remove the cooking grates and balance them on top of an open garbage can lined with a garbage bag, to prep them for cleaning.

Cleaning grillSteve Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 2

Scrape and Brush Burner Tubes and Lower Cookbox

  • Use a stainless steel wire brush to remove all debris from the burner tubes. Be sure to brush the tubes from side to side only, because front-to-back brushing could clog their holes and prevent the proper gas flow next time you light the grill.
  • With the burner tubes clean, use a shop vacuum or hand broom to remove any loose debris from the bottom of the cook box. Use a putty knife to scrape all remaining debris into your grill's grease tray.
  • Use a headlamp or flashlight to make sure you're not missing anything. If your grill has accessories in the lower cookbox, such as flavorizer bars, scrape and brush those clean, too.

Cleaning grillSteve Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 3

Clean the Cooking Grates

  • Use the putty knife and wire brush to remove all debris from the cooking grates, brushing it straight into the garbage can the grates are balanced on. Scrape the biggest pieces of gunk first, then use a wire brush on the top and bottom of the grates to get what's left.
  • Once all debris is removed, spray the grates thoroughly with grill cleaner, then wipe them clean with a heavy-duty disposable shop towel.

Cleaning grill

Family Handyman
Step 4

Inspect and Clean Igniters

  • Inspect and test the igniters at the ends of each burner tube one at a time to make sure they're clean and in good working order. Now is a good time to replace the igniters if they're not sparking reliably.
  • Carefully remove any debris and grease from the igniters with grill cleaner spray and a shop towel.

Cleaning grillSteve Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 5

Vacuum and Wipe Burner Tubes and Lower Cookbox

  • Use your shop vacuum (if you have one) to remove any remaining debris from the burner tubes and lower cookbox.
  • Spray both the tubes and box with grill cleaner, then use a shop towel to wipe them down thoroughly. This is the time to make them as clean and shiny as possible, so don't be afraid to use lots of spray and towels.
  • Once everything's sparkling, go ahead and replace the cooking grates.

Cleaning grillSteve Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 6

Clean the Grease Tray and Catch Pan

  • Open your grill's cabinet doors, then carefully pull out the grease tray and catch pan.
  • Dump all the loose debris into your garbage can, then spray and wipe both with grill cleaner. Make sure to remove all grease and stains from both the top and bottom of the tray.
  • If your grill's catch pan has a disposable aluminum liner, throw it out. Before installing a replacement, make sure the inside of the catch pan is perfectly clean.
  • With all grease-catching components clean, carefully put them back where you found them.

Cleaning grillSteve Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 7

Clean the Inside of the Grill Cabinet

  • With the cabinet doors of your grill still open, vacuum or sweep every surface.
  • Once all dust and loose debris is gone, spray and wipe everything with grill cleaner, paying special attention to the top edge of the cabinet doors. Depending on your grill's design, these might have caught some grease drippings during use.

Cleaning grillSteve Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 8

Clean the Outside of the Grill

  • Start by removing your grill's control knobs and wiping the surface under them. Wipe each knob individually, removing any grease and dirt.
  • Use grill cleaner to spray and wipe down all outside surfaces of your grill, paying special attention to grime-prone areas near the cookbox. If your grill has a side burner, lift the lid, vacuum or brush away all loose debris, and wipe down all surfaces.
  • If your grill is stainless steel, finish up by wiping down the outside of the whole unit once more with stainless steel wipes.

Cleaning grill