A Guide To Storing And Deep Cleaning Your Grill Before Winter

Cleaning a grill is never as exciting as preparing meals on it, yet regular maintenance is vital to make sure your grill lasts for as long as possible. Carbon buildup and leftover food particles that stick to the grill will eventually cause the parts to rust and break down. This can lead to having to replace parts or even buying a new grill. While we suggest cleaning the grates on your grill after every use, it is also necessary to perform occasional deep cleans to make sure it remains in tip-top shape.

Deep cleans include the top of the grill to the bottom, allowing the scraped-off gunk and debris to drop into the drip pan along the bottom part of your grill. This means you should not begin the cleaning process until the grates are clean. If you forgot to burn the leftover grime and grease off after the last cookout, here are a few steps to follow before you start the deep clean:

  • Close the lid and turn the burners onto the highest setting for around 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Turn the burners off, make sure the gas is disconnected, and take the lid off.
  • Let the grill cool down to around 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use a wadded foil ball or grill brush to scrub the grates from the back to the front.

Check over the grills a final time to ensure you haven’t left any grime behind. Once the grills are completely clean, you can move onto cleaning the rest of the grill.

grilled barbecues on black and gray grill

How To Deep-Clean A Gas Grill

If you use your grill frequently, you should be deep-cleaning the entire grill every 2 to 3 months. If you only use your grill once in a while, it is only necessary to clean the whole grill when the grilling season comes to an end. Since you will need to take out the burners and internal components, make sure you only start this process once your grill has cooled down completely. The gas line must be disconnected before you start cleaning the grill, and also make sure the burners have been turned off.

The first step involves removing the grates and putting them to one side. This will allow you to reach the flame controllers (tamers) that you need to scrub with a steel-wire brush. When removing the flame tamers make sure you look underneath to check for any residue left behind. Exposure to hot and direct flames will burn the drippings off eventually, but it is still worth your while to check these parts once you take your grill apart.

Once the flame tamers are clean you can move onto the burners along with the heat baffles (if the grill includes these parts). Clean each burner individually, using your grill brush to scrape the exterior. You can also use a paperclip or toothpick to unclog or unblock each gas port. If you have heat baffles make sure you give them a good scrub as well.

From here all the internal components besides your drip pan should be removed. You can now use a wire brush to clean the firebox walls and sidewalls. It is important to clean these parts to prevent corrosion and rust. Check the hood on the underside for carbon residue and remove it with your grill brush. Also, check on the temperature probe to remove any buildup. If you find any residue on this part use Carbon-Off and a sponge or soft cloth.

Remember what we said about cleaning the grill from the top to the bottom? The drip pan on your grill will most likely be very full at this stage, making it easy to pull the pan out and throw the grime and debris away. You will be grateful that you chose this approach.

The last step involves cleaning the exterior of the grill which is actually the easiest step. Clearing away grime, dirt, and dust from the body of the grill just involves wiping this part down with a clean damp cloth.

grilled meat

Cleaners For Gas Grills

Depending on how when last you cleaned your grill, you could just put the internal components back and be happy with the result. But since your grill is already in pieces, we suggest cleaning all the components excepting the burners with mild detergent, a sponge, and some water. Never expose your burners to moisture or water since they have to be dry before these parts will reignite.

You can use a mild detergent for a grill that only requires a surface clean, but Bars Keepers Friend is a lifesaver for grills that are harder to clean. This product is effective on rust, and comes in either a liquid or powder that you apply and then scrub on the components inside your grill. With dish detergent or Bar Keepers Friend, make sure everything is rinsed and dried thoroughly before you use your grill again.

Avoid using chloride cleaners, bleach, or a caustic oven cleaner on your grill. These cleaners contain abrasive chemicals and ingredients that will destroy and degrade the grill a lot worse than grime or grease ever could.

Tips On Cleaning A Moldy Grill

It is possible to still save your grill when mold has started to take over. This is nasty stuff that develops as soon as moisture starts combining with grime and grease in the grill. Mold spores are easy to inhale and present a health hazard. The easiest way to destroy mold is to use heat as opposed to brushes or cleaners.

Similar to the way you burn off when cleaning the grill grates, make sure the lid is closed and turn the burners to the highest setting. Leave the burners on for 20 minutes to kill off all the mold before going through the deep-cleaning steps we mentioned above. Once you have replaced all the components, perform one last burn-off for around 20 minutes.

Storing And Maintaining Your BBQ In Winter

Most gas BBQs require replacing once the metal body or gas burners start to rust up over the months of winter. Here are a few tips you can use to prevent corrosion and rust and to make sure your BBQ still works when you want to use it again in the summer.

1 Do Not Expose Your BBQ To The Elements

Rust starts to develop when metal surfaces on a BBQ are damaged and get wet. Make sure your BBQ is stored in a dry area such as a garage or shed, away from freezing temperatures, frost, and rain.

If you do not have space in these areas, buy a cover for your BBQ which costs anything from £15 to £60. Make sure the cover is easy to position and remove and that it fits well. Covers can blow off when the wind starts to pick up, so make sure you choose one that comes with durable ties or secure the cover with a rope.

2 Tips On How To Stop The Grates From Rusting

When the coating or surface on a cooking grill, grates, or grids are damaged, they become susceptible to rust. It is important to understand that each part should be treated in a certain way to prevent this from happening:

  • Cast Iron Grills

This material will rust easily and quickly if they are not kept seasoned. Once you have cleaned your grills with soapy warm water, remove any existing rust with a steel brush or steel wool. Make sure the surface is thoroughly dry before applying highly-saturated solid fats like palm oil or lard. Ignite the burners for a few minutes using medium heat, making sure the grills cool down completely before storing your BBQ away.

  • Stainless-Steel Grills

Once you have cleaned the grills with soapy warm water and a brush, allow the grill to dry before you apply an oil (vegetable) before you store them away.

  • Chrome-Coated Wire Grills

Do not use abrasive materials such as steel wire to clean these grills as these abrasive cleaning agents can scratch or damage the surfaces. Rather use soapy hot water to clean this type of surface. If necessary buy a cleaner made for chrome surfaces to clean your grills. To delay the onset of rust, wipe the grills with a good quality oil after you have rinsed and dried the grills.

Final Checks

When the time comes to pack your gas BBQ away, make sure you have checked on the following:

  • It must be dry and clean.
  • Check on the hose connecting the BBQ to your gas bottle and remove oil or fat deposits.
  • Make sure the rubber is still intact and there are no signs of splits or kinks.
  • Make sure the hose is away from direct sunlight or frost. Check on our outdoor storage and shed buying guides.

How To Store BBQ Cooking Gas

The gas canister for your BBQ should not be stored inside your home. The tap must be switched off before detaching the bottle from your BBQ.

Do: Make sure the bottle is stored upright in an area that is well-ventilated.
Gas bottles should be kept away from ignition and heat sources.
Store your gas bottle outdoors, far away from the exit or entry to a building, direct sunlight, frost, and drains.
Make sure your gas bottle is stored away from children and pets.

Don’t: Store your gas bottles close to oxidant or toxic materials or below ground level.