How to Clean a Charcoal Grill

How to Clean a Charcoal Grill. A good cookout on a charcoal grill is a right of summer. If the charcoal grill has not been cleaned for a period of time, though, that Memorial Day cookout may have to happen indoors. Cleaning a charcoal grill takes a little time, especially if it has sat dormant for a while without being cleaned, but a clean grill will make food taste better and be healthier.

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Remove the grates and anything else from inside the grill and clean out the ash and old coals in the bottom. Be sure that the grill is cold and the embers are out to prevent anything from catching on fire. Take a small shovel or scoop, remove the ash and throw it away.

Clean out the inside of the grill with a thick rag, paper towels or newspaper, and water or a cleaning solution. A water hose is a good way to give the inside of a grill a good rinse. It is not necessary to get the inside of the grill spotless, but cleaning it up will make it look better and getting rid of some of the grime can prevent the grime from burning and negatively affecting the taste of food.

Wipe off the outside of your grill. This is mostly cosmetic. You can probably just wipe it off with a wet rag. Be careful not to use an abrasive cleaning method such as a wire brush or baking soda on a painted grill as it can remove the paint.

Place the grates of the grill on newspaper, spray them with oven cleaner and let them sit for a few hours. This will help remove the grime and build-up on the grates and reduce the amount of elbow grease it takes to get them clean.

Scrub the grates with a damp cloth or sponge. Rinse the grates after you clean them off and let them dry before placing them back into the grill.

Use preventative measures and good cleaning habits through your grilling season to keep the grill from building up too much grease and grime. Wipe the grill down after using it, keep the old charcoal and ash cleaned out and use a wire brush or sponge to clean the grates after each cooking. Be sure the grill is cool enough before you start cleaning so you do not get burnt.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use nonstick cooking spray on the grates before cooking to help the grates to stay clean. Do not spray cooking spray over an open flame, though, as it could flare and cause a serious fire.
  • Do not put your old ash and charcoal in a garden or compost heap. The chemicals in the charcoal can be damaging to plants.
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