How to Clean Your Grill: Mastering General Grill Maintenance & How to Deep Clean A Grill

Cleaning your grill is, hands down, the most important thing you can do to keep it burning the way it’s designed to. This post will walk you through how to properly clean your grill before & after every use, plus how to deep clean a gas grill at the beginning of each grilling season, with step-by-step instructions & a video. Once you get into the habit of cleaning grill grates & deep cleaning your grill a couple of times a season, your grill will thank you!

Can’t wait to hit the grill? Be sure to check out Let’s Grill, Girls!, a grilling series here on PWWB created to help you grill more confidently & deliciously all summer long!

Jess of Plays Well with Butter standing next to her gas grill with a beer in her hand

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The Best Thing You Can Do to Up Your Grilling Game…

Can I let you in on a little secret?

Like…the-most-important-thing-you-can-do-for-easy-&-flavorful-grilling-all-summer-long kind of secret?!

&…the-easiest-way-to-get-the-most-life-out-of-your-(probably expensive?)-grill kind of secret??

Here’s it is: you gotta take care of your grill & keep it clean.

Yep, you read that right. Hands down, the most important thing you can do for your grill is to keep it properly cleaned.

Womp womp, kind of boring, right? I get that. But honestly, there are no sexy secrets here. Cleaning your grill is the most important thing you can do to keep it burning the way it’s designed to, keeping you grilling the way you want to.

Before launching the PWWB Let’s Grill, Girls! grilling series (learn more about the series here), Chris & I talked about whether it might be time to replace our Weber Genesis II, despite only grilling on it for 4 seasons. It was honestly in pretty rough shape and it looked nothing like the gorgeous, shiny grill we were so proud to buy shortly after we got married.

Worse yet, its performance was beginning to suffer. The burn was inefficient (we had to light it to its highest heat settings just to get “medium” heat) & inconsistent (the grillable space had reduced to just a couple hot spots). 

The reason our grill was in such rough shape wasn’t because of its quality or age – it was because we weren’t cleaning & maintaining our grill the way we should have been.

The bad news? That’s totally on us – it’s totally preventable, but we were majorly slacking. The good news? Regular grill maintenance is super easy & a deep clean is only suggested annually.

Jess of Plays Well With Butter taking marinated chicken wings out of a bowl and placing them on a gas grill to cook

How Often Should You Clean Your Grill?

Every single time you use it!

Simply put, a quick, general cleaning after every use prevents food residue & grease from building up on your grill. While it may seem a little overboard to clean after every single use, it really couldn’t be easier.

All you have to do when it comes to general maintenance is:

  1. Clean the grill grates
  2. Cover your grill

General Grill Maintenence & Cleaning Grill Grates with Each Use

Cleaning grill grates is the easiest & most important thing you can do to ensure your grill performs as intended. Because grill grates come into direct contact with your food, you want to be sure you are cleaning grill grates regularly. Not only will this help prevent your food from sticking to them as you grill, but it’ll also prevent rusting.

To properly clean your grill, each time you fire it up…

  1. Heat the grill to its highest temperature & let it burn for 5-10 minutes, allowing any residue or debris on the grill grates to burn off.
  2. After burning at high heat for 5-10 minutes, brush the grill grates using a wire brush. This is the wire brush we use, though you will want to find one made by the same manufacturer as your grill so you don’t damage your grill’s grates.
  3. Bring the grill down to cooking temp for whatever you’re grilling. Grill away!
  4. Repeat steps 1-2 when you finish cooking on the grill, then shut the grill off & allow to cool completely.
  5. Cover your grill. A grill cover is one of the best investments you can make when purchasing a grill. A good grill cover will protect your grill, preventing rust or other weather-related wear & tear. This is the grill cover we use for our Weber Genesis II, though you should buy a grill cover designed for your specific grill model to ensure proper fit & protection. {Be sure to check out the other must-have grilling equipment for your grilling set-up!}

Depending on how often you grill, we suggest also using a degreaser or grate cleaner for cleaning grill grates every few weeks, or at least once a month. Weber has an excellent grate cleaner that we love. If you don’t have access to grate cleaner, hot soapy water with a squeeze of lemon juice will do the trick!

How to Deep Clean a Gas Grill – Step-by-Step Tutorial (+ Video)

In addition to general maintenance, you should dedicate time to deep cleaning your grill at least once a year. Deep cleaning gives each component of your grill a little extra love & care to ensure your grill is in tip-top shape for seasons to come.

There are several major steps in an annual deep clean, which can be broken down by the area of the grill you’ll be focusing on:

  1. Grill Grates
  2. Grill Burners
  3. Grill Bucket
  4. Exterior

Watch our Step-by-Step Video here:

Deep Cleaning Grill Grates

First, check the integrity of your grates. If they’re a little dirty, a little grate cleaner & elbow grease should get them back into great shape!

If the grill grates are beginning to flake away actual metal (not just food debris), or if they are rusting through, it is, unfortunately, time to replace them. The good news is grill grates are very simple to replace (you just drop new ones on in!) & replacing grill grates is a heck of a lot more affordable than replacing an entire grill.

If needed, order replacement grates directly through your grill’s manufacturer.

Deep Cleaning Gas Grill Burners

If your gas grill burns unevenly, cleaning its grill burners should remedy it! Before deep cleaning our gas grill, it only gave flame in the back half of the grill – the front burner holes were plugged by debris.

  1. Check the integrity of your flavorizer bars. Flavorizer bars are the metal triangle pieces that cover the burners on a gas grill. The same logic from examining the grill grates applies. If they are just a little dirty, a simple scrape with a metal brush should knock any debris right off. If the flavorizer bars are rusting through, it is time to replace them. Order replacement flavorizer bars, as needed, directly through your grill’s manufacturer. Flavorizer bars are also very simple to replace – you simply drop new ones in.
  2. Cleaning gas grill burners: First, examine the burner tubes for any holes or damage. If there are any holes (other than the small pinholes where flames come through), it is time to replace the burner tubes. This is slightly more in-depth & we won’t go into it in this tutorial; check Youtube for some great step-by-step videos! If the burner tubes aren’t showing any damage, use a simple wire brush to scrape the burners clean. Be sure to scrape the burners across the pinholes, not along the line of them. If the burners are getting weak & you scrape along the line of the holes you can potentially break the metal & shorten the life of the burners (see video).

Deep Cleaning a Grill Bucket

With the grates and flavorizer bars removed from the grill, you will likely see burned food remnants, debris & ash that have collected in the bottom of the grill. Use a shop vac to remove all the debris from the grill bucket. Not only will this remove the debris, but it also helps with airflow, providing a more even cook moving forward.

As desired, you can also use a degreaser or grate cleaner to clean out the inside of the grill bucket.

Deep Cleaning the Exterior of a Grill

  1. Wipe down the exterior of the grill. We doing so using Weber’s porcelain grill cleaner. Again, we always suggest purchasing cleaning products from your grill’s manufacturer, since they are likely specifically designed for use on their grills.
  2. Treat stainless steel. Again, we like to use Weber’s stainless steel polish, but you can use any kitchen stainless steel cleaner you like best.

Wrapping Up!

With this small amount of general maintenance after each use & an annual deep clean, your grill should be working like new! 

Jess of Plays Well with Butter smiling and eating a grilled chicken wing

If this all still feels new to you, I encourage you to head over to this Grilling 101 post, where we dive into all the grilling basics – everything from how to light your grill to how to clean your grill.

All this talk about grilling have you feelin’ ready to hit the grill? Me too! Be sure to check out this post for my 13 go-to marinades you need this grilling season. At our house, a good marinade is at the heart of grilling season. I’m positive these marinades will be on repeat at your house this summer! For even more grilled goodness, be sure to check out all of our Grilling & Smoking recipes.

& lastly! Be sure to give @playswellwithbutter a follow on Instagram – I’ll be teaching you how to grill up some goodness all summer long, & we have so much fun on Instagram!

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Thank you so much for reading & supporting Plays Well With Butter. This post includes affiliate links for products I truly love & use on the reg in my own home. All opinions are always my own! Should you make a purchase using one of these links, PWWB will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, which helps me continue to bring you great original & free content.

Don’t forget to pin this post for later!!!

How to clean and deep clean your grill graphic with text overlay for Pinterest.

Your turn!: Do you have any other grill cleaning tips or tricks you love to use at your house? Or, do you have any other questions about how to clean a grill that I can help answer? Drop a comment below – I’d love to chat!!!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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