How to Maintain and Store Your Grill All Year Round

The next time you pull the grill out for a barbecue, all it will need is a quick wipe down before you light it up!

By Ashley Gebert

 

Smoked brisket, savory kabobs, grilled pineapple… Sounds delicious, right? The perfect backyard grill will aid you in creating succulent feasts that everyone in the neighborhood will be able to smell — and be totally jealous of. However, without following proper maintenance and storage habits, your grill could be in danger of rust, flare ups, bacteria, and other side effects that could shorten the life of your grill. Not to mention, a grimy grill is downright disgusting. Follow these tips to properly maintain and store your grill all year long.

 

view

Photo by shutterstock

 

Obtain the Right Tools for the Job

Every grill works a little bit differently, so be sure to consult the owner’s manual for information on which products could harm your grill and which are best to use for your particular model. Keeping that information in mind, gather or purchase some crucial cleaning supplies before you get started. Here are some great ones to have on hand:

 

  • Stainless steel wire brush (for cast iron grates)

 

view

Photo by shutterstock

 

  • Brass wire brush (for stainless steel grates)

 

view

Photo by shutterstock

 

  • Nylon brush (for porcelain-coated grates)

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

  • Grill cleaning spray
  • High-temperature cooking oil

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

  • Soap and water solution
  • Cook chamber cleanout tool
  • Sturdy cleaning gloves

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

After-Use Cleaning

After some intense grilling, you probably just want to eat and relax, but don’t sit down just yet. Cleaning your grill after every use will keep it in pristine condition for much longer, so while the grate is still moderately warm from cooking, scrub it with a wire or nylon brush to clear away charred food.

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

It’s important to note that precautions are necessary if you use a wire brush to clean your grill. Between 2002 and 2014, an estimated 1,700 Americans were hospitalized after accidentally swallowing wire bristles hidden in grilled food, according to a study published in the medical journal “Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.”

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

Don’t have an official grill brush? Instead, you can use a ball of heavy-duty aluminum foil to scrape away the buildup. When all of the debris is scraped off the grate, use the cook chamber cleanout tool to scoop out and scrape off any debris that has fallen to the bottom or sides of the cook chamber. Ash left in the grill for longer periods of time will contribute to corrosion. Then in finishing up, ensure the grill is completely cool before wiping it down with a wet paper towel to catch spills and smaller particles.

 

To minimize the amount of charred buildup on your grate after grilling, coat the surface with a high-temperature cooking oil before use to prevent food from sticking.

 

Deep Cleaning

You should give your grill a solid deep clean once a year, preferably at the end of your “grilling season.” If you grill year-round, try to deep clean twice a year in the spring and fall.

 

The first step in a deep clean is to, once again, take hold of your grill brush and start scraping away at any buildup. Scrub each part of the grill individually, including the grate, the burner covers, the cook box, and the burner tubes. Replace a gunky drip pan with a fresh one. Then wash each part of the grill with warm soapy water. When each part is clean, use a garden hose to wash away dirt on the exterior.

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

For more intense buildup, you can use grill cleaning spray to chemically break it down and aid in your scrubbing. Take care to wear sturdy cleaning gloves while using this kind of spray as the chemicals can hurt your skin. The chemicals can also eat away at paint and other decorative pieces of your grill, so only use the spray on the inside grate. Keep in mind that harsh chemicals can be difficult to completely remove from the grill.

 

Storing Your Grill

When your grill is clean and totally dry, it’s time to store it. If you’re storing it outside, choose a location that will keep the grill safe from harsh weather conditions and excessive moisture. For gas grills, you can keep the propane tank attached but be sure to disconnect the gas, remove the gas tubes from the gas line, and unfasten the burner. Then cover the entire thing with a weather-resistant grill cover to protect it even further.

 

view

Photo by dreamstime

 

If you’re storing your grill inside, you must remove the propane tank and store the tank outside. Failing to do so could result in an explosion. Keep the tank in an upright position away from play areas, furnace vents, and dryer vents. The rest of the grill can be safely stored inside. Once again, you’ll want to disconnect the gas, gas tubes, and burner. When storing your grill inside, you’ll also want to cover the exposed gas line opening to prevent nasty critters from getting inside.

 

With your grill properly stored away, you’re finished. The next time you pull the grill out for a barbecue, all it will need is a quick dust wipe down before it’s ready to go. Let the grilling begin!