How to Clean a Gas Grill

This year I debated for quite a while about whether or not to write my annual how to clean a gas grill article. I am one who grills year round I just do not clean out the inside of the grill body during the long cold winter months. Generally speaking I clean my grill thoroughly, inside and out five times a year, early in spring, through the summer as needed, and once in late fall.

It is also important to note here that I will only cover the grill in the winter months, our grill is kept under an overhang on our porch. Leaving the cover off is hard on the finish of the grill but I would much rather look at my grill then a glorified tarp.

This particular year my spring cleaning will consist of disassembling and painting some of the parts and painting them with a high heat Rust-Oleum. Which is the reason I decided to write this article again this year. The main reasons for my thorough spring and fall cleanings are so that I can inspect the grill part for wear and tear and to oil (with cooking oil) all of the internal grill components.

Dirty grill grate

So lets learn How to Clean a Gas Grill:

Before you start you should put on some rubber gloves because it’s going to get messy.

Phase one: Remove all the grates, heat shields and anything that can be removed by hand scrape them with your grill brush and then soak them in hot water and degreaser. I let them soak for an hour or so and  scrub them again, change the water then adding soap let them soak again then scrub them clean and rinse.

Phase two: Using a plastic paint scraper, scrape out the inside of the grill body and hood of the grill. If you can scrape all of the gunk into the drip pan, if not scoop it out of the grill and throw it away. Remove the drip pan scrape out and discard gunk. These areas can be cleaned with soap and water or a degreaser after the built up layer of grease is removed. It is worth noting that an oven cleaner (never use oven cleaner near an open flame) will work to remove some of the thicker gunk built up in the body of the grill but it is harsh on the parts..

Phase three: To clean the outside of the grill rinse the grill than wash with soap and water rinse again with hose. If you have hard to remove smoke or grease use your degreaser just be careful of any painted surfaces. I let the grill dry in the sun be sure to check the inside of the grill for standing water that may have gotten into it.

This is the point where I removed the vent stacks (at the time we has the Char-Griller Duo) and lightly sanded then painted any part that was showing signs of surface rust.

Phase four: Oiling internal parts with cooking oil. Take a paper towel or rag with a cooking oil and wipe down all the interior parts of the grill a light coating will do, you don’t want a lot of excess. The most important part to oil up are the gas burners, this will penetrate any rust and slow the corrosion down extending the life of your burners considerably. If you oil nothing else lightly coat those burners!

Phase five: Replace the parts that were removed for cleaning and coat those with a light coat cooking oil as well. Let the oil soak in the cold grill for an hour or so. Then heat up the grill slowly just until the oil starts smoking and then turn it off and let it cool down. Heat expands metal allowing the oil to penetrate as much as possible. The next time you heat your grill up all the way the excess oil will burn off completely.

If you have any newly painted parts on your grill you will want to bake the new paint on. Follow your grill manufacturers directions for this. My particular grill calls for heating the grill up keeping it under 700 degrees for one hour to set the paint. This particular grill has a charcoal side as well.

Notes on how to clean a gas grill

On that side I Shop-Vac out any left over ash then clean and oil the grates and barrel as described above.

The inspection of my now 2-year-old cleaned Char-Griller Duo turned up a problem with the tabs that hold the heat deflectors they will probably give out sometime this year. I have a simple fix planned already I’ll just need to get the hardware.

dirty gas grill heat deflectors

Also the heat deflectors are beginning to show some rust and pitting, I think that the sanding painting and oiling should extend their life another couple of years.

The gas burners are in great condition for a low-end grill after 2 years. On the charcoal side there is some exterior rusting beginning on the lower barrel and the off-set firebox. At this point it is not anything that a little paint won’t fix and the charcoal grate is still in good shape all things considered.

Do you have other tips or tricks on how to clean a gas grill? Add your input in the comments section.


About the author: Mike is the owner of 4thegrill.com, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member.

Leave a Reply