Grill Cleaning Tips:
How to Avoid a Fire at Your Next Cookout

Nothing compliments a warm summer evening like a platter of grilled hamburgers and a pitcher of lemonade. That might be why July is National Grilling Month—a time devoted to outdoor cooking as well as reviewing grill safety measures and maintenance basics. And, because poorly kept grills can cause fires, we’ve compiled some important grill cleaning tips.

 

Brush, burn, and preheat.

 

Use a dry wire brush and clean residue off the grates every time you use the grill. This keeps old food from flavoring your new dish, and it prevents your meet and vegetables from sticking to the metal.

 

And, before cooking—especially the first time you use the grill after storing it for the winter—burn off residual grease. Flip the briquettes over, close the lid, and turn the heat on high for 15 minutes. A thorough preheating will also clean and disinfect the grill before it touches your food.

 

Wash.

 

About every 10 cookouts, turn the propane tank off and clean both sides of your grates. Then, clean off the metal barriers below the grates and above the burners. Also, brush any grime into the drip pan and then clean or replace it.

 

Tip: Invest in aluminum liners for your drip to make cleanup easier.

 

Spring clean.

 

Once a year—preferably before you pack up for the winter—perform an extensive grill cleaning. After shutting off the propane tank, remove the grates and barrier to soak in hot, soapy water. Remove the gas tubes and burner, as well, and wash them in more soapy water. Brush out the interior and clean or replace the drip pan. Towel dry the parts.

 

Then, check to make sure the flames are even. If they’re not, clean the burners.

 

Next, cover the gas valves in aluminum foil, wash off the exterior, and scrub the grates and barrier before putting the machine back together. Finally, fire up the grill to dry all parts.

 

Don’t take grill cleaning for granted! If you don’t care for it, you might have to file a home insurance claim when a fire starts while you’re cooking. Of course, no one wants that, so keep your grill spotless.