Best Ways to Clean a Gunky Grill

Every time you use your grill, it accumulates all sorts of soot, ash, and grease.  

You're cleaning FOOD, after all!  While your overall grill needs a good, down-and-dirty cleaning at least once a year, you should be cleaning up after every use, too. Derrick Riches of About.com says," If people thought of their grills like they do their stovetops, there would be a lot less problems with grills wearing out.

Think of it this way, after you cook something on the stove you generally have to wipe up the spills." 

Related: Gadgets to Spice Up Your Grilling

Gas Grills

Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance and DIY grilling enthusiast  has great tips on how to best clean a gunky summer grill.  One of the best preventive measures to take when it comes to cleaning your outdoor grill is to coat your grates with a light layer of cooking oil before you add your meat.

This will reduce the amount of cleanup time after grilling. Just douse a little on a clean, dry kitchen washcloth or some other suitable rag, and very quickly wipe it across your grates as it heats up. It helps to hold your cloth with tongs as you're doing this due to the high temperature of the grate.  When your cookout is finished, a sturdy wire brush works great to clean the grates of the grill. (Works for charcoal grates as well).

Try to clean while the grill is still warm, as the excess will come off much quicker. If possible, clean both sides of the grates. Simply flip them over by using tongs.

Use the “clean” setting on your gas grill if you have it, but by no means does that complete the process.  Lift out your grates after they've cooled a bit, and remove the reflectors above the heating element. Clean these with your wire brush or a steel wool if you have it.

Related: Summer-Proof Your Gadgets

Once per year, the grill should be dismantled and cleaned almost piece by piece, but if you're not sure you can get it back together or don't feel comfortable working around propane gas, have it professionally cleaned or ask a friend or neighbor.

Charcoal Grills

 I can be easier to remember to clean a charcoal grill than gas because you have to dump the charcoal after every use anyway.

However, many people don't completely dump the ashes. Riches says, " Everything you cook on requires cleaning. So every time you use your charcoal grill, clean the grate and brush out the ashes and cooked on foods. This will cut down on excess smoke and bad flavors.

Periodically, get in there and really scrape out all that stuff that just seems to develop on the bottom of your grill. At least once a year, get out a bucket of soapy water and give it a really good clean." 

Most of all, enjoy your grill...well into the fall or even winter. Do you grill all  year? What's your best cleaning tip?

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