How to Maintain a Grill – The Ultimate Guide

How to maintain a grill

A grill is no small purchase. You’ve spent a lot of time and money on the perfect grill and you’ll want to put the same effort into maintaining your grill. This will help keep your grill clean and working properly. It will also prolong the life of your grill so you get the most out of it. The most important part of maintaining your grill is cleaning it. We will go over how to clean your grill for daily maintenance as well as how to deep clean each type of grill. Regular cleaning and deep cleaning every once in a while will keep your grill in great shape. I’ll also share some other things you can do for each grill type that can help you maintain your grill.

There are many different types of grills out there. This will be the ultimate guide to maintaining your grill no matter what type of grill you own.

How do I maintain a grill? I touched upon this question in the introduction. Maintaining a grill is a combination of quick cleanings after each use, and annual deep cleanings (once a year).

How to Maintain a Gas Grill

The biggest part to maintaining a gas grill is regular cleaning. You’ll want to do a deep clean at least once a year. The regular cleaning is pretty straightforward. After each use, do a 15 minute burn-off to loosen up everything left on the grill. All you need to do is turn the burners on high and close the lid. After 15 minutes you can open the lid back up and brush off everything left behind. Burning it off first makes it much easier to brush off than it would’ve been if it cooled down. After you have scrapped everything off, season the grates so it is ready to go for the next use. If you need tips on seasoning the grates, check out my article on how to season grill grates.

Deep Cleaning Your Gas Grill

In addition to cleaning after each use, you will want to do a deep clean at least once a year. If your grill sees heavy use, I would consider doing it more often. At a minimum though, I would do a deep clean of your grill at the beginning of each grilling season. As the name would suggest, the deep clean is a lot more in-depth than the regular clean.

The first thing you are going to need to do is remove the grates so you can get underneath them. Next, scrape off all the caked-on grease and ash to the bottom. You may want to go over this a few times to make sure you get as much as you can. It’s important to note that it’s not going to look as good as new, but it will be an improvement over what it was. If you have heat deflectors or burner protectors you’ll want to remove those and let them soak to make scrubbing a bit easier.

Once you’ve scrapped everything off, you can remove the bottom tray and dump everything in it. Then give that a good scrub clean. If you’re struggling to get it clean, you could also let it soak for a bit. Don’t forget to clean off the burners too. The grime can easily clog up the burners if they are not cleaned regularly.

Once everything is all cleaned off, you can assemble it back together and you’ll be good to go. I would still season your grates after your deep clean so your grill is ready to go for the next time. If you need a more in-depth explanation of how to deep clean your grill, this video from Dave’s Ohio BBQ and More is a great video to follow along with.

Dave’s Ohio BBQ & More

Routine Maintenance For Gas Grill

Apart from cleaning, there are other things that need to be done to maintain your gas grill. Be sure to regularly check for propane leaks. To check, apply soapy water to the propane tanks gas line and where it connects while the propane tank is turned on (make sure the burners are off). If bubbles form, that means there is a leak. You’ll want to check for leaks every time you change your tank or once per year at a minimum. I think it’s better to check for propane tanks at least once per month.

While the grill is not in use, be sure to cover it to protect it from the weather. The biggest cause of rust is moisture. A good grill cover will help to protect your grill from getting wet. When you do put a grill cover on, just make sure that the grill is completely dry so no moisture gets trapped in. During the winter months, you’ll want to store your grill inside. This will completely protect it from the weather and prolong the life of your grill. A good grill can also protect your grill from the sun during the Summer months. Excessive sun exposure could cause structural damage to your grill. If you have not already, I would highly recommend investing in a quality grill cover.

How to Maintain a Charcoal Grill

One of the post important things you can do to maintain your charcoal grill is to clean it regularly during the grilling season. After each use you will want to clean the grates off. Do this while it is still warm from cooking because everything will brush off easily. After you brush them off, season them with a high temperature cooking oil. Cleaning after each use is an important step in maintaining your grill long term. Also, be sure to check that you have enough charcoal for the next use. In addition to cleaning it after each use, you will want to do a deep clean at least once a year and slightly more involved cleaning every few weeks. We’ll get more into both of those tasks.

Deep Cleaning Your Charcoal Grill

You will want to do a deep clean either at the end or beginning of each grilling season. Doing the deep clean before putting it away for the season will be doing yourself a huge favor when you bring it back out in the Spring. If you’re just taking it out now for the first time this season, here’s what you can do to get it back into grilling condition.

First, remove the grates and let them soak for a bit to loosen any debris. Once the grates are removed, scrub the bowl and lid with soapy water. If the debris is being stubborn, try using steel wool to get it all off. Make sure you really get in there and scrape off as much as you can. Once the grates are done soaking you can scrub away at any debris left on those too. After everything has been cleaned, you can put the grates back on the grill and reassemble everything. Before putting the lid back on, season the grates by applying oil to help prevent rust and food from sticking to them.

If you are done with your grill for the season, store it inside so it stays dry. This will protect your grill from the weather and prevent rust. Once next season rolls around all you’ll have to do is season the grates and you’ll be good to go!

Routine Maintenance for Charcoal Grill

With a charcoal grill, you’re going to want to empty the bowl fairly regularly. This is to help to prevent ash buildup. Ash buildup can make it harder to control the temperature of your grill because it blocks the air vents. You will want to do this once a month or however often you see fit. If your grill gets a lot of use, ash buildup may occur faster and you’ll need to do this more often.

While you’re emptying the bowl, you will also want to scrape off any buildup. Use steel wool or an abrasive pad to get rid of all the buildup and then wipe it with soapy water. You should also clean the lid too. When grilling, moisture and grease tend to collect on the inside of the lid. The grease can peel and fall into your food, and no one wants that. To clean the lid you should do the same thing you did with the bowl. Scrape off any buildup and then rinse with soapy water.

How to Maintain A Pellet Grill

As with all other types of grills, cleaning your grill after each use is the most important thing when it comes to maintaining your pellet grill. To make cleaning the grill easier, run the smoker on high for about 10 to 15 minutes to burn off anything left on the grates. After that, use a grill brush to scrape the grates clean. Then turn the smoker off and let it cool down so you can remove the grease bucket. To make cleaning the grease bucket much easier, get disposable bucket liners. They are cheap and save you from having to clean those nasty grease buckets. You’ll also want to wipe down the outside of the grill with some soapy water and make sure to dry to completely.

Once the grill has cooled off completely, replace the foil on the drip pan if there is buildup. This will help to prevent a grease fire. Make sure that the inside of your grill is dry because the electronics can be damaged by the moisture. The pellets could also disintegrate if they get wet. While cleaning after each use is important, a good deep clean at least once a year is also important in maintaining your grill.

How to Deep Clean Your Pellet Grill

You should do this at least once a year to make sure you get everything clean. It’s probably best to do this either at the beginning or end of each grilling season. First, make sure your grill is completely cooled off or hasn’t been used yet that day. Take out the grates and let them soak to make it easier to scrape everything off. Remove the drip tray and flame deflector so you can get underneath everything. Next, scrape off any debris and vacuum it all up with a shop vac. Spray inside the chimney with your cleaner of choice and give it a good scrub. Don’t forget to clean the inside of the lid and the walls of the grill too.

Once the inside is cleaned, you can get started on cleaning the outside. All you will need is some soapy water and a clean cloth to wipe off any debris. Make sure to dry it completely to avoid rusting. Once all the parts are clean, you can reassemble your grill. Place down a new drip tray liner and grease bucket liner and you’ll be good to go.

This video from Traeger Grills is a great step-by-step walk through of cleaning your pellet grill.

Other Tips for Maintaining Your Pellet Grill

When not in use, be sure to keep your grill covered. The cover will protect your grill from moisture and help prevent rusting. Make sure that the cover is completely secured so no moisture can get underneath. Also, make sure that the grill is completely dry before covering it. If you are done grilling for the season, store your grill inside somewhere to protect it from the weather.

Every once in a while, check for peeling paint. If you do notice that some of the paint is peeling, address it right away. Addressing the peeling paint early will help to prevent rusting.

How to Maintain a Kamado Grill

Kamado grills are incredibly versatile and allow you to either grill, smoke, or bake your food. One thing that is great about a Kamado grill is that they are incredibly easy to clean. Kamado grills work like a self cleaning oven. All you have to do is heat the grill for about 30 minutes with the lid closed. The grill should be heated at 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the grill has cooled down, brush away any remaining char.

You’ll also want to remove any excess ash buildup which could cause air flow problems. All you have to do stir the remaining charcoal and it will fall through to the ash collector, if your grill has one, for easy removal.

To clean the outside of the grill, you will just need soapy water and a clean cloth. Wipe off any grime on the exterior and be sure to dry completely. Check for any chipped paint or rust while you are doing this too so you can address that if necessary.

Routine Maintenance for Kamado Grill

In addition to regular cleaning, there a few other things you should check that will help in maintaining your grill. One thing you will want to check on from time to time is the gaskets. Over time the gasket material can degrade and will need replacing. The gasket may need to be replaced every few years but the lifespan could vary depending on how much you use your grill.

You should also check all bolts on the grill once per year. If you find any loose bolts, tighten them. Lubricating the hinge mechanism with light oil is also a good idea to keep your grill working properly.

When not in use, be sure to keep your grill dry to prevent any moisture. If you are done grilling for the season, store your grill inside to protect it from the weather.

Wrap Up

Maintaining your grill will help prolong the life of your grill. You spent a lot of money on your grill, make sure you get your money’s worth! Remember that with any grill, the best thing you can do is regularly clean it. This will keep your grill in good condition and prevent rusting. Also no one wants to cook their food on a dirty grill.

Once per year, give your grill a good deep cleaning to make sure all parts get cleaned. It’s best to do this either at the beginning or end of your grilling season. When not in use, make sure your grill is covered. If you’re not going to be using it for a while, store it inside somewhere. This will prevent your grill from rusting and protect it from being damaged by the weather.

There is a lot that you can do to maintain your grill, hopefully this guide helped you out. If you found this to be helpful, be sure to check out some of our other articles on grilling!

Sam Rebinskas

Sam is the co-founder of Improve Your Gameday and loves all Boston sports teams.

Recent Content