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Cleaning a dirty gas grill.

You would never cook dinner using a pan that’s covered in grease and burnt-on food, right? So why would you use a gas grill that’s in the same shape?

Keeping your grill clean is a must for not only protecting your investment but also making sure your food is cooked safely and your grill is performing at its best.

Cleaning up your grill isn’t the most exciting topic on earth, but it’s an important one no matter how often you use your grill. 

In this article, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about cleaning your gas grill, from the quick cleanups you do after cooking to the deep cleans you should do a few times a year.

We’ll wrap it all up with some frequently asked questions and get you on your way to having a sparkling-clean grill that’s ready for cooking at a moment’s notice. 

So keep reading — your grill (and your guests) will thank you!

Key Takeaways

  • Regular Maintenance: Clean your gas grill after every use by heating it for 15 minutes and brushing off residue with a grill brush, and applying a light coating of vegetable oil.

  • Deep Cleaning: At least once a year, disassemble your grill to clean the burners, grates, and cook box, removing any built-up grease and debris.

  • Safe Cleaning Agents: Use a mixture of dish soap and warm water or specialized grill cleaners. Avoid using harsh chemicals like Clorox wipes, as they can leave harmful residues.
Dirty Grates on a Gas Grill and How to Clean Them

Why You Should Clean Your Gas Grill

Regularly cleaning your gas grill is pretty important for a few reasons.

First, it helps get rid of the food particles left behind after cooking that could become rancid or moldy over time, increasing your risk of food poisoning. Charred red meat left behind can even become carcinogenic as its fat melts away.

Things that don’t belong in your grill, like leaves, pollen, and bugs, can also make their way inside, and you definitely don’t want to cook those next time you head out for a barbecue.

Debris and grime can also impact how your grill functions. Accumulated carbon can cause uneven heating, while grease build-up can clog up your burners, hinder gas flow, and even corrode your cooking grates.

Finally, an unclean grill is a huge safety hazard — layers of old grease can flare up and cause fires. All the more reason to make regular cleaning a part of your grilling routine!

How Often Should You Clean Your Gas Grill?

First things first — you should be giving your grill a quick scrub after every use. Doing this while the grill is still warm means scraping debris off of the grates and wiping down the hood is a pretty easy task.

When it comes to more in-depth cleaning, you should give the grates, flavorizer bars, and grease management system a deep cleaning once or twice a month, depending on how often you grill.

Once or twice a year, give your grill a thorough interior and exterior cleaning, where you scrape down the grates and interior of the grill to get rid of any lingering build-up.

If you notice your grill isn’t performing like it usually does, that’s a good sign that the burners are clogged with grime, and it’s time for a cleaning as well. But we recommend preventative maintenance and regular cleaning so your grill never reaches that point!

Tools You’ll Need to Clean Your Gas Grill

For every gas grill cleaning, you’ll want to grab a wire-free grill brush, a grill scraper, tongs, and some rags or paper towels.

If you’re undertaking a deep clean, you’ll also need a bucket, vinegar and baking soda, water, dish detergent, rubber gloves, and scouring sponges.

Depending on your grill and how long it’s been since you did a deep clean, you may also want to have a shop vac on hand, as well as a stainless steel or glass cleaner.

How to Clean a Gas Grill

Read the Owners Manual | Start With a “Clean Burn” | Clean the Grill Grates | Clean the Heat Shields | Clean the Burners | Clean the Interior | Clean the Grease Tray | Clean the Outside | Put the Grill Back Together

A well-maintained gas grill helps with even cooking, prevents unwanted flare-ups, and keeps those nasty carcinogens at bay.

But, how do you keep your grill in tip-top shape? Cleaning a gas grill might not be something you enjoy doing, but with the right approach, it can be as straightforward as grilling your favorite steak.

Now that you’ve got your supplies, let’s get ready to clean. Follow these steps to make sure you’re not only giving your grill the thorough clean-up it deserves but are doing it safely!

Review Your Grill Manufacturers Cleaning Suggestions

Before cleaning a new gas grill for the first time, it’s a good idea to read your grill’s owner’s manual. This handy booklet isn’t just for setup and assembly; it often contains tailored cleaning recommendations for your specific grill model.

Manufacturers are well aware of the materials and design intricacies of their grills and can provide insights on what cleaners to use, which parts need extra care, and any components that shouldn’t be submerged in water.

Start With a “Clean Burn”

Your grill can actually help you out with the first step of the cleaning process!

Turn your grill up as high as it can go, shut the lid, and let it sit for 30 minutes. This high heat will help incinerate stuck-on food and grease, so much of it is already gone by the time you bring out the grill brush.

Once that’s done, shut off and disconnect the propane tank or natural gas line to keep things safe for the rest of your cleaning process.

Remove and Clean the Grill Grates

Once your grill has cooled down, remove your grill grates and set them aside.

If they’re really in need of deep cleaning or have some stubborn baked-on grease, feel free to plop them into a large bucket or sink filled with warm water and dish soap to soak for about an hour.

Once the grates are done soaking, wipe them off with some old rags. If there are still some lingering stains or grease spots, grab your grill brush and scrub away!

If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your grates thoroughly, you may need to repeat the soaking process to loosen up particularly stubborn spots.

Here is a great and in-depth article with expert tips for cleaning grill grates: The Ultimate Guide on How to Clean Grill Grates.

Remove and Clean the Heat Shields

Next, remove the heat shields or flavorizer bars from above your burners. To clean them, you can scrape them down with your brush or grill scraper.

If they need a little extra TLC, you can let these soak in your soapy water for a while as well before scrubbing.

Clean the Burners

Next up, we’re going to turn our attention to the heart of your gas grill: the burners. Any grease build-up here can get dangerous since it not only reduces the grill’s performance but can also prevent gas from flowing through the tubes.

If your heat shields have been doing their job, your burners shouldn’t be too dirty, and you may be able to get away with just wiping them down with your grill brush or a rag or sponge soaked in soapy water.

The most important step to cleaning your burners is to take a look at the holes where gas flows out of the burners — anything stuck in there will prevent the burners from working correctly.

Check the burners for any blockages. Insects, especially spiders, can sometimes make homes in these tubes. Gently brush the burners and ensure all gas ports are open and clean. Do not use any sharp objects that might enlarge or damage the holes.

If you notice some clogging in your burner, grab a clean venturi or bottle brush to scrub out the burner holes. In a pinch, you can even use a straightened-out paperclip to do this.

Two important rules to remember here: first, always scrub the holes using an up-and-down motion, not side to side, to avoid pushing debris into other holes. Second, always use a clean brush when cleaning your burners — if you use a brush that has always been used on other parts of your dirty grill, it can transfer grease and other gunk into the burners.

Clean the Interior of the Grill

Moving on to cleaning the interior of your grill. There are a few ways to do this, depending on how dirty your grill is.

To start, use a grate scraper or a putty knife to gently scrape off large food particles, grease deposits, soot, and other residues from the walls and bottom of the cook box.

Grab your shop vac to suck up the loosened debris from the cook box.

Prepare a mixture of warm water and a mild dish detergent. Using a scrub brush, scrub the interior of the cook box, paying particular attention to areas with stubborn grease or charred buildup.

Once as much of the debris is removed as possible, prepare a mixture of warm water and a mild dish detergent. Using a scrub brush or sponge soaked in soapy water, give the interior a thorough scrub, being careful not to disrupt the grill’s gas system. Pay particular attention to areas with stubborn grease or charred buildup.

After you wipe down the interior of the grill with a cloth or sponge dampened with clean water, you may want to grab your shop vac again to grab any lingering debris or bits that you dislodged during cleaning.

After that, give the interior one last good wipe-down with a damp sponge or rag, and you’re good to go!

Clean the Grease Collection Tray

The drip tray or grease pan collects grease and debris that falls through the cook box.

If it’s working properly, your grease collection tray should be one of the nastiest parts of your grill to clean.

You can remove the grease tray at the start of the cleaning process since it also will need some quality time in a bucket or sink of hot, soapy water.

First, remove the grease tray and use your grill scraper to remove as much stubborn, hardened grease as you can. Then, plop it in the water and let it sit for a while.

The soaking process should loosen up the remaining grease and allow you to scrape it off pretty easily. Once you’ve scraped the grease tray clean, wipe it down with another rag and let it dry.

Pro Tip: Line the grease tray with tin foil for easy cleaning. Just replace the dirty foil after a few uses and re-line it again.

Clean the Outside of the Grill

Now it’s time to make sure the outside of your grill looks as good as the inside!

You can wipe down any splattered grease or outdoor debris like sap with a rag or sponge soaked in our trusty cleaning solution: warm, soapy water.

Be sure to pay extra attention to cleaning spots like your knobs and side panels since these can be magnets for grease and food particles over time.

To finish up, use a glass cleaner or stainless steel cleaner to give your grill a shiny finish, depending on the material it’s made from. Spray your cleaner of choice on, then wipe it away with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Put the Grill Back Together

Finally, it’s time to reassemble your grill with all of those clean parts!

Wait for all of the components to dry completely before starting this step. Otherwise, they risk rusting. Follow your user manual to correctly reassemble the burners, heat shields, and grates.

Next, reconnect your propane tank and wipe a thin coat of vegetable oil onto your cooking grates. Fire up your grill again with the lid closed and let it go for at least 15 minutes — this step not only helps to re-season your grates but will burn off any remaining cleaning residue and help confirm you reassembled the grill properly.

What to Clean on Your Gas Grill Post-Cooking

Doing a quick clean-up after every time you grill will go a long way in extending your grill’s lifespan and making deep cleaning a little easier.

After each use, turn your grill on high and close the lid for 10-15 minutes to allow it to burn away debris and loosen up grease on the grates.

Next, turn it off and let it cool down slightly before running your brush or grill scraper along the grates to remove burnt-on food or grease. If anything is really stuck on the grates, grab a spray bottle with some water and spritz it down before brushing or scraping again.

Your grates don’t have to be cleaned back to their original metal shine, you just want to make sure you’re brushing away any debris and grease from your grilling session so they don’t build up over time.

Once you’re done scraping and scrubbing your grill, grab a wet rag and some tongs to wipe up any remaining debris, then use a clean rag, brush, or paper towel to give the grates a thin coating of vegetable oil.

Give your grill a quick inspection to make sure there isn’t debris or build-up on your heat shields or burners — if there is, grab a rag or scouring pad to wipe them down. If your burner holes look clogged, grab a brush or paper clip to give these a quick cleanout as well.

Finally, check your grease tray to make sure it isn’t too full — overflowing grease is no fun to clean up from your patio or deck and it could even start a grease fire.

Regular Gas Grill Maintenance Tips

Performing a bit of preventative maintenance on your gas grill will help maximize its performance and keep it running great for years.

It’s important to regularly oil your grates after every grilling session to help prevent corrosion and food sticking. To do this, use tongs and a paper towel or a clean rag soaked in vegetable oil to rub on a light coating while the grates are still hot.

Get in the habit of checking your gas lines regularly during the grilling season. A visual inspection will help you identify any cracking or corrosion, while the soapy water test will help you find any pesky leaks. Here’s a good article on how to check for leaks: How to Test Your Grill for a Gas Leak

To protect your grill investment in the long run, it’s a good idea to buy a grill cover to shield it from the elements when it’s not in use. No matter what kind of climate you’re grilling in, a grill cover can go a long way in extending the life of your grill.

Cleaning a Gas Grill FAQs

Still looking for answers on cleaning gas grills?

Learn more in these frequently asked questions!

If you don’t find what you’re looking for, leave your question in the comments below or send me an email and I will get back to you.

Who knows, I might even add your question to this guide.

For a more in-depth frequently asked question guide, check out this article: The Ultimate Gas Grill FAQ.

How Often Should You Clean Your Gas Grill?

You should clean your gas grill after every use by brushing the grates and cleaning the exterior. Clean the grease tray after every three to five cooks. A deep cleaning, which includes checking burners and cleaning the cook box, should be done once or twice a year depending on usage.

Is It Okay to Cook on a Dirty Grill?

No, cooking on a dirty grill can impact flavor, pose health risks from old residue, and increase the chance of flare-ups. A dirty grill can also potentially transfer harmful carcinogens to your food. Regular cleaning ensures better-tasting food and a safer grilling experience.

What Is the Best Thing to Clean a Gas Grill With?

The best thing to clean your gas grill with is warm water mixed with dish detergent for general cleaning. Add a grill brush or scouring pad for grates, and baking soda for stubborn stains. Always read the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific cleaning recommendations in the owner’s manual.

Can I Clean My Grill With Clorox Wipes?

No, you should never use Clorox wipes or other caustic cleaners like oven cleaners or bleach to clean your grill. They contain chemicals that aren’t meant for cooking surfaces and can cause corrosion and damage to your grill over time. Instead, use a grill brush and a solution of dish soap and water.

How Do Professionals Clean Grills?

Professionals clean grills by scraping debris off of the interior and grates and then scrubbing them down with dish detergent and steel wool. For particularly stubborn messes, the pros may even use an angle grinder on the grates, flavorizer bars, and heat shields before rinsing them with water.

Final Thoughts on Our How to Clean a Gas Grill Guide

Keeping your gas grill clean is not only important for maintaining its longevity but also for ensuring the taste and safety of the food you cook on it.

The grilling pros at The Grilling Life have given you a guide on how to clean a gas grill easily and effectively.

By following the simple steps and tips outlined in this guide, you can tackle the grease and grime that accumulate after cooking and keep your grill looking great. Remember to clean off the grates after every grilling session, and give your grill a thorough deep cleaning once or twice a year.

With a little bit of grease — elbow grease, that is — you can protect your gas grill investment and keep it working its best for as long as possible.

Remember: a clean grill is a happy and healthy grill and one that will last for years of grilling enjoyment!


Pat G.

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DisclosureAt The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs.  If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission.  This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue.  Your support is truly appreciated.

Patrick Ginise

A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!

I have a passion for cooking with live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I’m a real person just like you, who loves outdoor cooking and BBQ. Food, fun, and time spent with family and friends are what it’s all about! It is my mission to take my passion and knowledge for outdoor cooking and all things BBQ and share this expertise in techniques and grilling equipment with you. In other words, Living The Grilling Life!

I have personally tested over 150+ Grills and Smokers and hundreds of grilling thermometers, temperature controllers, grill brushes, grilling tools, fire starters, and other BBQ products.