7 tips and tricks for cleaning and maintaining your grill

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Some foods simply taste better on a grill. The key to grilling isn’t a charcoal versus propane debate, it’s keeping your grill in top condition. Dirty grates, clogged lines, and a build up of debris reduces your grill’s usage and life.
These easy tips and tricks will keep your grill ready to craft a masterpiece meal at a moment’s notice. You don’t need commercial cleaners or gadgets, these budget-friendly ideas use items you may already own.
1. Create a non-stick grill surface (h/t Skip to My Lou)
This is a simple solution for those items that tend to stick to your grill surface. Cut an onion in half and rub it over your hot grates. The oils in the onion create a light, non-stick surface that won’t interfere with the flavors of your food.

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2. Protect your barbecue grill grates (h/t The Maids)
Resist the urge to clean your grates after using your barbecue grill. The oils and char from cooking can actually protect your grate from rusting between usage. Instead, clean right before grilling by heating the grate up and giving it a good brushing with a barbecue grill brush or a ball of aluminum foil.

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3. Deep clean your grates (h/t This Grandma is Fun)
Although grill grates are not expected to be spotless at all times, you may feel your grates need a good deep cleaning. To deep clean grill grates, simply grab a trash bag and a jug of household ammonia. Place the grates in the trash bag and add 1 cup of ammonia. Seal the bag tightly and allow to rest overnight. The fumes do the magic for you, so make sure you have a good seal. Carefully open the bag and remove the grates. A quick scrub and rinse and they will be shiny again!

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4. Clean your gas grill burner tubes (h/t Noshtastic)
The majority of a gas grill can be cleaned using scrubbing sponges and a bucket of warm soapy water. However, you need to be careful with your burner tubes to avoid pushing debris into the holes. The proper way to clean your gas grill burner tubes is to use a dry grill brush to gently brush across the holes in the tubes.

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5. Cover heating elements and burner tubes with aluminum foil (h/t The Spruce)
Although most of your grill comes apart for cleaning, heating elements and burner tubes are a permanent part of your gas grill. To protect them while cleaning the interior of your grill, simply cover them with aluminum foil. This will keep cleaners from damaging the tubes.

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6. Give a charcoal grill a seasonal deep clean (h/t The Kitchn)
Although you regularly clean your grates and dump the charcoal, to work properly most charcoal grills benefit from a good seasonal cleaning. The key to really getting the bottom of the grill clean is to first remove all ash and loose residue. Then use a putty knife to gently pry up the layers of baked on ash and grease. Don’t worry about washing it out, the removal of the black residue is all that is necessary.

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7. Use an oxygen cleaner to shine your stainless grill (h/t Four Generations One Roof)
Stainless grills often quickly lose their shine due to use and the outdoor environment. You can easily wipe your grill back to a shiny state by mixing an oxygen-based cleaner into a cleaning solution. Simply follow the directions on your oxygen cleaning powder to create a powerful cleaning solution. Spray onto your grill’s exterior and wipe after a few minutes.

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