How Often You Should Clean Your Grill To Keep It In Tip-Top Shape

Warm weather calls for a boatload of outdoor activities, but there's one that stands out as a crowd favorite among community members: Grilling. As the weather gets hotter, you may feel inclined to invite friends and family over to enjoy a few beers, snacks, and a hearty steak hot off the grill. Once the party is over, however, you may forget to clean off the residue of grease, ashes, and food particles you've left behind. If you want to keep your grill safe and clean, you should clean the grates every time you cook something on the grill. Otherwise, you should be deep cleaning your grill once or twice a year. You'll also want to routinely clean any grease catchers every few months.

Besides overall cleanliness, there are several reasons why you should be cleaning different fixtures of the grill at different frequencies. For starters, a dirty grill can harbor cancerous carcinogens that can make their way from metal grates to the food on our plates. Many grillmasters subscribe to the myth that reheating the grill will burn off any remaining grease, but that isn't the case at all. Grease can seep from our grills onto our expensive patio wood, on our clothes, and even turn into a fire hazard if left unattended. By knowing how often you should clean all the compartments of your grill, you can better and more safely enjoy grilling this outdoor season. Let's dive in.

How often you should clean the different parts of your grill

Most modern grills are built with what's known as grease management systems (or grease traps), which may benefit you in the cleaning and maintenance process. The grease management system collects all the extra grease you use while grilling, disposing the substance into a grease tray or pan that sits below the grates. To prevent a greasy grill — which can lead to burnt and bad-tasting food — grill management keeps residual grease away from the source of heat. While the system does help you safely maintain your grill, you'll want to use a putty knife to scrape your grease trap clean every one to three months.

After every use, wait until the grates cool down before using a nylon brush and your favorite commercial cleaner to scrape off any remaining food, ash, or grease. Once or twice a year, you'll want to make a habit of deep cleaning the entire grill and all its adjoining compartments. During the deep clean, you may choose to soak any removable compartments in soapy water before scraping them clean and placing them back where they belong. To maintain the general aesthetic, you can create a mixture of warm soapy water to wash the outside of your grill using a microfiber cloth. Your grill should be back in tip-top shape, and by continuing to follow an effective cleaning protocol, you'll be grilling for years to come.