Leftover bits of food on or below the grates can attract bugs and rodents. Must we go on? A once-a-month deep-cleaning of your gas or charcoal grill makes it all better.
1. Polish the Outside
For an enamel grill, just spray a paper towel with glass cleaner and wipe the exterior. For stainless steel, use Simple GreenStainless Steel Cleaner & Polish; buff with, not against, the grain, using a microfiber cloth.
2. Heat and Cool
Fire up the grill, cranking it to high for 15 minutes to burn off any food residue. Use a stainless-steel grill brush ($7, amazon.com) to scrape anything loose off the grates. Then turn all the knobs off, disconnect the propane tank (or, if your grill is connected to your main gas line, turn off the gas line), and wait until the grill is cool to the touch.
3. Soak and Scrub
Remove the grates and the metal plates underneath, and place everything in a bucket of hot, soapy water. After a few minutes in the bucket, give the grates and the plates a good scrubbing with the grill brush; dip and redip it in the soapy water as needed. For trouble spots, scrub with Weber Grill Stubborn Stain Remover. Give the grates a rinse with the garden hose and set aside. Use the grill brush to scrub the inside of the hood with hot, soapy water (that stuff that looks like peeling paint is a harmless buildup of carbon), and use steel wool for hard-to-get nooks. Remove and clean the drip pan, then toss it into the soaking bucket. Let sit, then scrub with the grill brush and rinse with the hose. Reassemble the grill (no need to dry anything), and reconnect the propane tank. If there’s a cabinet below, give it a good sweeping with a whisk broom, then wipe it out with a damp paper towel.
4. Wrap It Up
If you don’t have a grill cover or never use the one you do have, change your ways. It could reduce your monthly deep-cleans to once a season. Best are vented covers, which allow moisture to escape.
For more help, see How to Clean a Grill.