How To Clean a Gas Grill Inside and Out

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated August 18, 2021
A father teaches his son how to grill
rez-art/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Use a stainless steel grill brush, soap, water, and a few other items to clean a grill's grates, flavorizer bars, catch pan, burner tubes, and lid

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Nothing beats a gas grill when it comes to both being easy to start up and also giving your food that chargrilled flavor you just can't in the kitchen. But wow, do they get dirty!

If you've reached your limit of opening up the lid to see caked on gunk on the grill bars and who-knows-what covering the burners below—and telling yourself that it's "seasoning"—it's time to give the grill a thorough cleaning. But where do you even start?

Fortunately, it's easier than you think. Just make sure you bring your elbow grease. This guide breaks down how to clean your gas grill until it sparkles

Difficulty: 2/5

Time: 1 hour

Tools and materials needed:

  • Paper towels

  • Rags

  • Water

  • Dish soap

  • Bucket

  • Stainless steel grill brush

  • Stainless steel wire brush

  • Steel wool

  • Scraper/knife for scraping off gunk

  • Gloves to protect your hands from heat

  • Hand-held vacuum

  • Spoon

What To Do Before You Start

The first thing to do is a quick safety check to ensure that the propane is turned off. Unhook the propane tank and carefully remove it entirely from your grill.

Remove the grates and set aside. Use a large spoon to scoop out as much of the dry ashes as possible, and then take a hand-held vacuum and suck up the rest. Now, your grill is ready for a scrub-down.

What Parts of a Gas Grill Do I Need to Clean?

Generally, cleaning the grill involves focusing on five main areas: inside the lid, cooking grates, flavorizer bars, catch pan, and burner tubes.

Inside of the Lid

Don't worry, that peeling stuff isn't toxic paint. It’s just carbon deposits that have built up over time and  started to flake off. It won't hurt to consume, but if it’s falling on your food it won’t help the flavor.

Use a stainless steel grill brush to scrub these deposits off the lid. Then, wipe it down with a paper towel and some water. There's no need to use disinfectant cleaner.

Cooking Grates

A man cleaning his gas grill using a brush
arinahabich - stock.adobe.com

The next thing to clean are those gunked-up grilling grates with the caked-on leftovers of grill-outs past, like little pieces of ground beef from Independence Day barbecue burgers three months ago.

First, preheat the grill for 15 minutes on high to get it nice and hot. Then, grab that stainless steel grill bush again and go to town on that grime. Make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands from the heat while you do it.

Note: If your grates are extremely dirty, it may help to first soak them in a bucket of dish soap to help loosen up that gunk before you give it that final scrub.

Flavorizer Bars

Some grills, particularly the popular Weber brand, feature what are called "flavorizer bars." These folded strips of metal act as a heat distribution system to proactively stop flare-ups from happening.

Because of their location under the grates, they build up grime, so use your grill brush or a scraper to scrape them clean. Wipe them down with soap and water.

Note: If these bars are too worn down, you can order replacements from the manufacturer. You can buy them online for between $40 and $70.

Catch Pan

The catch pan is located at the bottom of the grill and, as the name implies, it catches the debris that falls from the grates above. Debris can build up here and put you at risk of starting a grease fire. It may also attract small animals.

Remove the bottom tray beneath the grill and scrape the grill with a plastic scraper or small knife, or whatever else works best. Push those debris through the bottom. Then, clean the tray with water and soap.

Burner Tubes

The burner tubes are where the flames actually come out. They are long tubes with holes in the top where gas flows and escapes, getting lit as it exits the holes. If they're dirty, you'll get poor gas flow and some may not light at all, forcing you to restrict your cooking to one side of the grill.

Remove the tubes and use a stainless steel wire brush to clean out the gunk from inside. Use an up-and-down motion for best results.

Propane Tank Area

That area where the propane tank sits seems to be a magnet for bugs and spiders and general debris, so be sure to clean out that area as well. Use a broom to sweep out all the gunk, and then give it a quick wipe-down with soap and water.

Outside

Unlike the guts of your grill, the outside is pretty easy to clean. Rub it down with soap and water and then rinse it off, and your grill should be good as new.

Ongoing Maintenance

If you don’t have a grill cover, buy one—it’ll preserve your grill’s cleanliness for longer.

Also, oil your grates after you clean them, which will help prevent your food from sticking to the newly cleaned grates.

It’s a good idea to follow this cleaning checklist on a regular basis, perhaps once per month depending on how often you use it. It doesn’t take long to clean the grill when you do it regularly.

Does Your Grill Need More Work? Hire a Professional

Sometimes, a grill needs more help than a simple cleaning. You may be having issues with getting the gas to flow at all, or perhaps certain burner tubes aren't working even after a thorough cleaning. If so, that could be a sign that it's time to bring in a professional.

Whether you're looking for gas grill installation or need to get your grill working again, contact a natural gas plumber near you to come take a look and provide a consultation and price quote.

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