Gas Grill Care and Maintenance

Gas Grill Care and Maintenance
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gas grilRegular maintenance of a gas grill  is the best way to make sure it will have the longest life possible. I grill year round, except for the cold, windy days of winter. The tips I'm sharing today are inexpensive and fairly easy to tackle, but will make a difference.

A quick note: there are higher end grills which have special instructions due to ceramic inserts and other components. I recommend checking the instruction booklet and locating company website to make sure you aren't doing something to damage the grill and its accessories.

Let's list the "Do Not" things as far as gas grills are concerned:
  • Never use oven cleaner on the grill inside or outside.  It removes paint and coatings.
  • Never paint the lid of the grill.  It's been specially processed at the factory.
  • Never use anything on the grill lid to spruce it up such as wax or that type of thing.
  • Never work on your grill unless the propane has been turned off and unhooked from the grill.

Cleaning the grates each time you grill will make less work than if you only do it every so often. Use a wire brush to clean off the grate.  Don't forget to turn the grate over because it will have residue on that side as well. I find it helps to turn the grill on high for about 10 minutes, then scrape the grate. I lift the grate with tongs that I hold with a mitt pot holder to clean underneath. It's also important to regularly clean or change the catch-pan liner since it collects the grease. This and the cleaning of the grates are the two things that should be done frequently.

If you have a grill that uses lava rocks, they should be replaced once a year. To clean them and get a little more use out of the rocks, turn them over, then after awhile, turn them again. You'll still have to replace them, but it will help extend their life. Igniters and burners can also be replaced if they have stopped working.

The inside of the grill is a little tougher to clean.  Remove the grates and drip pan to clean in hot, soapy water. As many people know, vinegar is a safe alternative to harsh cleaners. Combine 2 cups white distilled vinegar and 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Use this to spray the entire inside of the grill. Close the lid, allowing the grill to "soak" for an hour or so. I recommend buying a couple of cheap grill brushes from a dollar store for this because they will be nasty afterwards, but can be discarded.  Use the grill brush to scrub the interior of the grill that you sprayed earlier. Another tool to use for scraping is a putty knife. Use the thinner type (about 2 inches), and again, buy the cheapest knife you can find for this job. Brush out the scrapings every so often as you clean, rather than removing them all at the end. It will make it easier to see what you have left to clean. Once you've finished and removed the scrapings, take rags and wipe out the grill. Combining the same mixture of vinegar and water in a small bucket works well for this stage. When you are finished replaced the cleaned drip pan and the grates.

The outside of the grill can be cleaned too, but methods will differ, depending on if you have a cast iron or stainless steel grill. Again, check with the company website on the best way to clean the surface. If you have a basic, black cast iron body, use a good scrubber sponge or brush to clean the outside. If you find any rust spots, use fine steel-wool on these spots, then spray with a high heat-resistant spray paint (Up to 700 degrees F.). Do not use regular black spray paint, it must made to paint grills, fireplaces etc.

Painting your propane tank is a also good idea, especially if it's quite beat up. I checked with our local propane dealer, who recommended using a wire brush to clean the tank on the outside. Wipe it off with a rag, and spray paint a VERY light color such as white or cream. There is an important reason for the light color. A dark color will absorb the heat of the sun, and that is potentially dangerous since propane is combustible.

Cleaning the grill is not a top priority for most people, but it is crucial to extending the life of your grill. More importantly, there are safety issues involved when a grill has rusted and has a build up of grease, which can flare up unexpectedly.  Taking a little time for maintenance makes all the difference.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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