It doesn’t matter if it is a gas grill, a charcoal grill, or an electric grill. If you didn’t clean it before you put it away last season, you know they will be there. If you are reluctant to get your grill out because you don’t like spiders, get a big stick, some leather work gloves, and a bunch of courage. A couple of the neighbors might be a good idea as well. And the stick? That’s to rattle the grill with so that the spiders scamper off.
If you are not in the habit of giving your grill a good clean before you put it away, you probably know that it will be housing some spiders and their prey by the time your are ready to bring it out for the first barbeque. Here are some tips for you to follow to get your grill ship shape and ready to go. These maintenance tips will work just as well when you need to clean your grill to get ready to barbeque, and also as the last thing you do when you put it away for the season.
1. Remove the obvious dirt. If your grill is a gas grill and has loose food residue on it, use a cloth or small brush to remove it. If you have a charcoal grill and it still has the last set of ash in the pan, remove as much as you can. Next, if there is a lot of dirt, ash, dust, or cobwebs on your grill, take your garden house and wash it away. If you don’t, it just makes the real cleaning job that much harder.
2. Remove any loose parts. Remove anything that is not affixed to the grill. This includes the grill rails, tool hangers, rotisserie, propane tank or canister, grill lid, and grill shelf. I like to clean the grill itself first so that I can replace these parts as I finish cleaning them. Check for any loose screws and either remove them, or tighten them. Sometimes it is easier just to remove them, but make sure you keep them safe. A good place for small bits is in the lid of the grill. Soak everything in hot water and the cleaner of your choice. I like to use…….yes, Skin So Soft. The grease just falls off nicely once it has soaked for a while.
3. Clean the grill. If you have a stainless steel grill, don’t use a wire brush. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to the use of abrasives. We want to have a nice sparkling grill but we don’t want to ruin the finish at the same time. I find that my charcoal grill does not have a lot of grease and food debris in the pan as the ash catches these. My propane grill though, gets very greasy and there are usually bits of molten food around the inside.
4. Check balance and fit Once the grill is all clean and dry, check the balance and fit. If some of the screws loosened during the previous season your grill may sit a bit lopsided. Loosen the screws, you don’t have to remove them completely unless necessary, and get everything lined up. Tighten the screws and replace any that you removed in the earlier steps. If there are paint chips, touch them up with heat/flame resistant paint. You don’t really need to do this step but it will make your grill look new again so it is well worth it.
5. Clean the rails and accessories Now it’s time to clean the rails and other bits that you took off at the beginning. Empty the dirty water they have been soaking in and freshen it with hot soapy water. Give everything a good scrub and clean. Not all grill rails are created equal so only use a wire brush if you have rails that can take it. Don’t use one if they are stainless steel. Also, if you are using abrasive cleaners make sure you wear heavy rubber gloves. Don’t use the cheap single-use disposable kind as they will fall apart in the first few minutes of hard scrubbing.
6. Put everything together. Now everything is clean, put all the parts back together again.
That’s it! Time to fire up your grill, or, cover it and store it away so that it is ready to go for next season.