Before you get started, you'll need some cleaning supplies. For most winterizing jobs, we recommend purchasing a good stainless steel cleaner and grill brush. You can use hot soapy water, but we recommend using a cleaner especially if you have a stainless steel grill. We like using cleaners because in addition to their cleaning power they are ideal for polishing the grill. Whatever cleaner you choose, be careful using abrasive souring pads or chemicals to remove the heavy carbon buildup. If you're using that type of cleaner, you might want to test it on a small section on the back of the grill to see if the finish will be damaged.

Cleaning Grill Grates & Internal Parts

Cleaning The BBQ Grill Cooking Grates

Fire up your grill and let it run on high heat with the lid closed for about 15-20 minutes. This will make sure all the big chunks of food are burned off the grill and the grates will be much easier to clean. After it's cooled down a bit, take your grill brush and scrape any remaining food debris. When the grill has completely cooled, you can use some soapy water on the tough spots. Just make sure you completely rinse the soap away! It's also a good time to pull the drip pan all the way out and clean it as well.

Next, remove the cooking grids, flame tamers and other components like warming racks. Use a wire brush to brush away any remaining charred materials. You could soak the flame tamers in soapy water for an hour or so to dissolve the grease and food that might be stuck. It's your choice.

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Cleaning The Exterior

Most gas grills are built with stainless steel, which has different grades of quality and thickness. Much like wood, stainless steel has a grain and it's important to scrub and polish in the direction of the grain. This ensures all dirt is removed, which can get trapped in the grain and keep your grill from looking clean.

Covering the Grill

Even if you don't follow all of our cleaning guidelines, you should at least put a cover on your grill for the winter. This is especially true if you plan on storing your grill outside. Prolonged exposure to the elements can shorten the life of your grill, no matter how high quality it is. No one wants to replace a grill after a year or two of use. Grill covers are a good investment, when you compare their relatively low cost to the price of most grills.

After you put the cover on, you just need to decide where you will store the grill. If it's built into your kitchen, then most likely you'll be leaving it where it is. If you have a cart grill, then we recommend storing it in the garage, basement or possibly a covered patio. The most ideal choice is to bring the grill indoors, where it will be more protected from the elements.

BBQ Grill Covered on a Patio

Winterizing a Charcoal Grill

The procedure for winterizing a charcoal grill is basically the same as gas, it's just not quite as involved. First, make sure the cooking grate is cleaned off and no charred bits remain. Then, clean all the ash out of your grill and wipe it down with warm, soapy water. Rinse your grill well and then allow it to dry. After dry, put the grill cover on and pack it away in your garage, basement or storage area.


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