Why and How to Clean Your Grill

grilling cooking food

Cleaning Your Grill

Many of us enjoy the wonderful taste of food cooked on a grill, but cleaning the grill — not so much. Regular grill cleaning is important to help extend the life of your grill as well as for food safety purposes. Plus, it makes your food taste better.

The easiest way to remember to clean your grill is to do so immediately after using it. This way, you don’t forget about it, and you are not faced with a greasy, caked-on mess the next time you go to grill.

You must have the right tools to properly clean your grill. These include a wire grill brush or other type of scraper, a 5-gallon bucket, durable gloves, and disposable sponges and rags. You will also need warm water and dish soap, and/or a paste comprised of 1 cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar. If you have a grill with exterior stainless steel features, you’ll want to add a stainless steel cleaner or vinegar to your material list.

After cooking, remove the food and allow the grill to continue burning to remove residue. Once the residue has burned off, turn off the grill. When the grill cools but is still slightly warm, use your wire brush to remove any remaining debris on the grates unless your grates have a nonstick coating. If they do, use either a wood or heat-resistant plastic scraper to clean your grates.

If your grill still has a lot of residue, you may want to soak the grates and other removable parts in either warm water and dish detergent or a mixture of 2 cups vinegar to 1 cup baking soda. If the grill components fit in your sink, they can soak there. If not, use a 5-gallon bucket. You can use your wire brush again after the grates have soaked. Allow grill parts to air dry before putting them back on your grill. Remember to wash your brush after each use.

Avoid foodborne illnesses! Use a disinfectant to clean surfaces like the grill’s side table that may have had exposure to uncooked meat. Keep raw and cooked food separate by using different plates and utensils for each.

Depending on the type of grill you have, you may have additional cleaning considerations. Consult your owner’s manual for these details.

More information related to grilling, cooking, and nutrition is available at the Oldham County Extension office.

cooking grilling food

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.


Written by Sarah Hanks, Senior Extension Associate. Edited by Lauren Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Program Assistant.

One thought on “Why and How to Clean Your Grill

  1. Pingback: Tips for Tackling Spring Cleaning | Oldham County Cooperative Extension Blog

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