man washing charcoal grill with power washer

How To Clean Charcoal Grill?

The charcoal grill is one of the best choices for grilling meats, kebabs, and other juicy goodness. However, cleaning the charcoal grill is quite a chore because its tenacious ash builds up and tends to rust on your grill.

In addition, its excessive inclination to form carbon buildup makes it a wrong choice for your grilling gear during a fancy barbeque party on your porch.

Therefore, you need to clean your charcoal grill once or twice during the grilling season to keep your grill functioning and serve the fresh grills to your family and friends. We have shared some excellent tips for cleaning charcoal grills to help you with the best ways to clean and preserve them.

How To Clean Charcoal Grill Outside?

There are different designs and types of charcoal grills available in the market. However, almost all of them have the same segments and main parts to clean them. However, some charcoal grills have a lid, and some have the standard roofing attached to the grill station.

For cleaning the charcoal grill, it is better to clean the outer portion of the grill first. While cleaning the outer part or top area, you can shove off the dust and charcoal buildup in its bottom. Next, use a putty knife or metal scraper to remove the carbon mass from the bottom wall of the grill.

After scraping the lid surface, spray degreaser or detergent over the surface and let it soak for a few minutes. Then spray the degreasing agent on the grill gates and scrub off the food residue, grease, and stubborn buildups with a nylon scrubber. Next, take the grill grates and soak them in clean water. Finally, brush away the remaining dirt with a clean rag from the lid and the grates.

How To Clean Charcoal Grill Inside?

After removing the debris off the lid and grill grates into the bottom of a charcoal grill, use a plastic scraper to knock off the heap of carbon mass inside the grill and its sidewall. Some charcoal grills have an easy-clean system hole in their bottom to push the debris outside.

After removing the left-out charcoals, you can shove them all in that removable bowl to eliminate the larger portion of charcoal ash. Then use a metal scraper to brush off the intense buildups of the sidewalls of your grill. Spray the degreaser on the grill when scraping all the mass of carbon and grease.

Scrub on the surface of the whole bottom area and rinse it all off with a hosepipe. Keep the wet grates, lid, and grill bottom dry in an open space, and wipe the moisture away with a rag. The remaining moisture on the grill surface can rust the grill.

How To Clean Charcoal Grill Grates?

For cleaning the charcoal grill, it is necessary to know how to clean the charcoal grates with a deep cleaning method. Deep cleaning the grates of your charcoal grill is an essential task before and after any grilling plan for maintaining the freshness of your grilled foods. Therefore, follow these tips to deep clean your BBQ grates:

Step 1: Remove the Grates

Remove the grates from the grill station and place them in a steady position to scrape off the debris from them.

Step 2: Scrape the Debris

Use a metal scrape to scrape the food residue, strong grease, and carbon mass on the grill grates.

Step 3:  Degrease the Grates

Degrease the grill grates by soaking them in soap water or spraying a degreasing agent. It will weaken the grease and carbon mass on it. Next, scrub the grates with a bristle brush or aluminum foil and brush off all the debris.

Step 4: Rinse With Water

After scraping all the dirt and debris off the charcoal grill, rinse it in clean water using a hosepipe or soak it in a large tub of water.

Related reading: How To Clean Grill Grates?

Step 5: Dry and Wipe

Finally, keep the grates in an open place to dry them. Then wipe off the remaining moisture with a clean rag to protect it from rusting.

Tools For Cleaning Your Charcoal Grill

There are some necessary tools for cleaning your charcoal grill. We have listed the tools in a list for your convenience-

  • Plastic Scraper: A plastic tool for knocking off the charcoal and grease buildups from the grill surface.
  • One-Inch Metal Scraper: A metal scraper for cleaning the stubborn carbon grease from the inside of your charcoal grill.
  • Bristle Brush: Bristle brush is used for brushing the remaining grease away from the grill grates.
  • Aluminum Foil: Aluminum foil is a safe alternative to a metal scraper to remove the grill grates’ food residues.
  • Hose Pipe: A regular garden pipe to clean the soap-soaked grill and its parts.
  • Rag/Clean Towel: A piece of cloth or fabric to wipe the moisture or water on the grill grates and other surfaces.
  • Degreasing Spray: A cleaning agent is used to decrease the grease and carbon junk from the grill. The degreasing substance weakens the strong carbon buildups from your grill and helps you to clean them easily.

Charcoal Grill Cleaning Tips

Here are a few tips for cleaning your charcoal grill.

Caution While Cleaning

There are some steps that you need to follow while cleaning. Let’s see what they are.

Avoid Using Bare Hands

Wear gloves to ensure your hand’s safety from the heated grill, mold spores, and germs on the food residues from your previous grilling. If mold is in the grill, direct skin contact can cause skin sensitivity and itchiness.

Avoid Using Metal Scrubber

Try to avoid using metal scrubbers on your grill grates. Since they can break into many pieces, they can be mixed with food. In addition, swallowing these fragments can cause serious medical concerns.

Be Careful with Inflammable Tools and Objects

Be concerned while using an inflammatory degreaser and check for cylinder and ignited coals nearby. Please remove it from the nearby place where you will be applying it. It can cause a severe fire hazard if not taken into account.

Use Face Mask

If you are cleaning mold off a charcoal grill, make sure to use a mask for protection. The spores of the molds float in the air nearby the primary source. It can get into your nasal system and cause severe irritations and medical conditions. Therefore, be careful while cleaning molds off the grill.

Avoid Metal Scraper

Do not use a metal scraper, scrubber, or bristle on the porcelain surface.

Charcoal Grill Maintenance Tips

Here are some precautions for not getting excessive grease and stubborn molds on the grill-

Clean After Using

After using your charcoal grill, clean it carefully to keep it grease-free. Suppose you keep it with grease and food residues after your BBQ night. It will gradually grow excessive debris on it. This ash of charcoal will block the windows for heating. It will create imbalanced heating on your grill and eventually degrade its grilling quality.

Use It a Few Times during Grilling Season

Have you ever counted how many times you have grilled foods and enjoyed grilling during a grilling season? It is usually more than once for maximum grill lovers.

However, grilling often but not cleaning the grill makes it unprepared and unhealthy for the next grilling. Due to the mass of carbon piling and grease on its surface, the grill becomes prone to mold. This mold and grease ultimately create rust in your grill.

Prevent Mold Forming

When a place or object lacks proper air and sunlight, any moisture in that place forms mold and increases it gradually. Similarly, when you keep your grill covered for a long time, the moisture from food residues and grease from grilled food creates a suitable ambiance for forming mold. Therefore, it is necessary to clean the grill after using it once a month, even if you do not use it frequently, and keep it in an open area.

Related reading: How to Clean Mold Off Grill?

Unclog the Ventilator

There is a heat-passing ventilator or holes between the grill and its pit. After using a grill for a while, the ashes of charcoals clog in that area. So keep that area clean to keep your charcoal grill performing better.

Related reading: How To Clean Pellet Grill?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should you clean your charcoal grill?

You should keep your charcoal grill clean to ensure the cleanliness and taste of grilled food intact. Food residues and grease from your previous cooking can ruin the taste of your freshly cooked foods.

How many times a year should you clean your charcoal grill?

Usually, it is better to clean your grill after every use. Nevertheless, you can clean your grills at the start and end of every grilling season. If you love grilling year-round, you can clean it once or twice a year.

What tools do you need to clean your charcoal grill?

You can use a few necessary tools to clean your charcoal grill, including a plastic scraper, one-inch metal scraper, grill brush, aluminum foil, hosepipe, degreasing agent, clean towel, etc.

How much time would it take to clean a charcoal grill?

The time you clean your charcoal grill depends on how you want to clean your grill. Usually, it takes 5 to 15 minutes to clean your charcoal grill. It takes 30 to 20 minutes to clean your grill for deep cleaning.


Grill lovers love to invest their passionate time and money in a decent grill. Be it a traditional komodo or modern charcoal grill. It will always keep an essential role in your grilling experience. Only using it for many years for grilling is worth the investment.

Cleaning your charcoal grill regularly keeps it running smoothly for a long time without any hassle. All you need to do is clean the grill segments properly with ideal tools and strategy. We hope that our insights on this article will assist you in cleaning your charcoal grill with ease and let you enjoy the best of juicy grilled cuisines!

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