How to Clean Your Charcoal Grill

Clean Your Charcoal Grill

Yes, we know how disturbing it is to deal with a dirty charcoal grill. But there are several ways for keeping the grill neat and clean. So, that being said, how to clean your charcoal grill?

Well, you are in the right place. You will find a detailed answer to the question as well as some tips and tricks to keep your charcoal grill and enhance its shelf-life. If you can make sure you use, clean, and maintain it properly, there’s nothing much you need to do.

Now, let’s get to know the best possible ways to clean your charcoal grill. Ready?

How to Clean Your Charcoal Grill- 5 Easy Steps

Here you will find the answer of how to clean your charcoal grill. We have come up with 5 effective but easy steps that you must find helpful. Let’s get to know what things you’ll need in the first place.

Things You’ll Need

  • Grill brush/coarse cleaning brush
  • Bristle brush/putty knife
  • Aluminum foil
  • Fork (optional)
  • Paper or plastic bags

Already managed the things above? Well, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Gather All The Cleaning Supplies

The first thing you are to do is, assemble the cleaning supplies. Put all the things together that we’ve mentioned above. You will find these anywhere in the local stores. And, you may need a fork or may not, that’s optional.

Step 2: Clean Both The Grill Grate and The Charcoal Grate

Removing the grill grate is a good idea, so, do it if you can. Use a quality grill brush or a coarse cleaning brush to clean your grill grate. Do the same with your charcoal grate and make sure you do the job gently.

Step 3: Use Aluminum Foil for Scrubbing Purposes

Shame an aluminum foil as a small ball and see how excellent a scrubber you get. If there’s any remaining debris or gunk, use the ball to get rid of them.

Step 4: Clean the Lid and The Bottom of The Grill

You should make sure that you clean both the lid as well as the bottom of your grill. You can simply wipe or brush out the debris of the bottoms.

Clean the Lid and The Bottom of The Grill

If you are handling a public grill, you should get a paper or plastic bag and place your hand in it. After that, take another bag and sweep out the debris of your grill, as well as put them into the second bag.

In case, there is an ash catcher, you should empty it first. Next, erase any black stuff (peeling) especially grease or carbon flakes with either a putty knife or a bristle brush. On a kettle grill, you should use soapy water for wiping down the grill and the outside of the lid if it’s needed.

Step 5: Put Your Grill Back Together

Finally, take each part of your grill and put it all together. And, yes, now you are totally ready for grilling! In case, you are dealing with a public grill, lining the grill grates using a foil is a good idea. Moreover, you can poke several holes for lighting your grill, use a fork to do the task.

How to Maintain Your Charcoal Grill

Another important point that comes straight to mind when it’s about cleaning your charcoal grill is, how to maintain it properly. If you want to enhance your grill’s shelf-life, it’s important to maintain it in the right way.

  • Clean the ash catcher: You should check the ash catcher regularly. Ash catcher is nothing but a container positioned on the bottom of your grill that collects the ashes over time. Most of the public grills don’t come with an ash catcher, you can simply brush the ashes in a plastic bag and then throw them away.
  • Brush your grill grates before you start grilling: It’s a can’t-miss task to do. Once you are done preheating the grill, it’s important to use a piece of foil or a grill brush for getting rid of the burnt food residue especially when it’s the last session of your grill. You will find it easy to loosen the remaining food bits while the grates are hot.
  • Oil the grates: To prevent the foods from sticking, it’s required to oil the hot grates before you go to the grill. Pin it for later, we will go into detail about it later.
  • Brush the grates once you are done grilling: After grilling, it’s a good idea to brush the grates once again, though it’s not necessary.

Cleaning Your Charcoal Grill Every Couple of Weeks During the Grilling Season

  • It’s important to empty the ash receptacle, cook box, and bowl on a regular basis. Remember, if there’s excessive ash accumulated in the receptacle, it may block the air vents that makes it hard to control your grill’s temperature.
  • You should clean the inside of the lid properly. If there’s grease, debris, or smoke on the lid, you’ll find the lid heavy and it’ll be difficult to use it. To get rid of this, you should use a paper towel and wipe down the grill’s inside. However, it shouldn’t be hot when you’re dealing with it.
  • Detach your charcoal grate as well as scrape the bottom and inside of the bowl.
  • Use regular soapy water and a brush for cleaning the inside of your cooking cavity.

Cleaning At The of The Grilling Season

If you go through this easy stuff at the end of the grilling season, meaning you can make everything easier for yourself when you’ll use it in the next year.

  • Get rid of all the ashes
  • Wash both the lid and the bowl
  • Clean both the charcoal grate and the cooking grate
  • Oil your cooking grate
  • Use a waterproof cover for covering the grill.

How to Oil The Grates to Keep Them Clean

To keep the charcoal grill clean always, you should oil the grates.

Things You’ll Need

  • Paper towel
  • High-heat cooking oil
  • Oven mitt
  • Tongs

Step 1: Heat The Grill Up

First of all, make sure you clean all the ashes or any buildup of your grill before you heat it up. You should let the great free of any residue. Read the user’s instructions carefully and then, light it, as well as heat it up. Once you see the grill is hot, it’s time to use oil on the grates.

The perks of oiling your grates is, it will prevent your foods from becoming stuck and you can easily turn and flip the foods. Your grill may take a while to heat up, well it depends on what type of grill you are using actually.

The best result will show up when you let the grill heat for around 10-15 minutes.

Step 2: Use Oil to Wet a Paper Towel

Next, you need to use a cooking oil that is okay for high heats. You can use olive oil, peanut oil, or canola oil in this case. Take a piece of paper towel and then, apply a fair amount of oil to it.

Make sure you have taken enough oil for coating the grate, also, make sure it’s not excessive that may drip from the paper towel. Because if there’s too much oil on the paper towel, there are risks that the towel may catch fire. So, it’s safer to apply the oil lightly.

Moreover, do not forget to wear gloves because oil can get in touch with your skin so easily that it will make a mess. If you don’t want to face this type of unwanted situation, wear gloves while handling your charcoal grill.

If you want to keep oil away from the dining surface or your cooking area, you can have a spare dish and prepare the paper towel in it.

Step 3: Apply Oil to The Grates

In this step, you have to use tongs and an oven mitt. First of all, put on the oven mitt (put it on your dominant hand basically). Then, pick the tongs using your mitted hand.

Now, it’s time to wipe your grates using the paper towel, use the tongs in this case. The entire surface of your grates should be covered with a thin coating of oil. Once you’re done, throw out the used paper towel.

Apply Oil to The Grates

Once you light the paper towel, it may catch fire. In case you face something like this, do not panic. Get the paper towel back from your grill and then soak it in cold water.

Alternately, you can oil the grates when it’s cold. If the grill is cold, you can even use your bare hands to deal with it. Finally, light the grill by following its user instructions.

When the grill is being heated, you may see there’s light smoke-producing, well, that’s normal. Once you see the smoke being stopped, there’s no excess oil, and yes, your grill is now ready!

How Should You Dispose of Charcoal?

You should wait some time and allow the ashes to cool down first. You can even pour water into it as well as stir it thoroughly for speeding the process up. Once the ashes are completely cooled, use aluminum foil to wrap them or you can simply put them into a small container like a coffee can.

After that, dispose of the ashes in a garbage bin. Remember, you should never put coals or ashes anywhere that may catch fire.

Way to Reuse Charcoal

Do you want to make good use of the used charcoal? If yes, here’s the way.

  • When you see the coals are cooled, you should remove the extra ashes.
  • Get rid of the loose ashes from your grill.
  • It’s better to add the half amount of new charcoal that you might use for starting the charcoal grill.
  • Now, simply light the charcoals and wait a few minutes before you add food to the grill.


  • Make sure you keep a bucket filled with water near so that you can handle any unwanted situation related to flames.
  • Try to follow every user instruction that comes with your grill. If you are using a public grill, well, its use is basic and it requires less maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Clean the Charcoal Grills?
When the grilling season is running, you should go through a deep clean once or twice in this season.
How Can I Clean a Dirty Grill?
Firstly, wait until your grates cool down. You can simply spray an oven cleaner and then place it into a garbage bag for sitting overnight. Scrub the grates the next day and lastly, dry them properly.
Do I Have to Clean the Charcoal Grill after Every Use?
It’s good for cleaning your charcoal grill after every use.
What May Happen if I Don’T Clean My Charcoal Grill?
There’s a lot of reasons why you need to clean your charcoal grill. For example, your food may taste funky, the grill may get grease stains, and you may get a lot of bacteria. So, it’s best to clean it regularly.
How Long Should the Charcoal Get Burnt before Grilling?
Well, it actually depends on the amount of charcoal you are going to light. It’s a good idea to set aside around 20 minutes for letting the charcoal completely heat up before you place it into the base of your grill.


And, that was all about how to clean your charcoal grill. Isn’t it pretty simple to do the job? Hopefully, your answer is a big YES since we tried to compile every necessary information regarding the topic.

You should always keep the grill neat and clean. Sometimes, you may notice the charcoals are not staying hot or something else like this happens. These indicate it’s high time you should clean the grill. Because the grill is filled with ashes, the coals will not stay hot for long.

However, since you now know how to keep it clean and maintain it properly, you will do great.

Good luck!

Mumtahina Adira

Hello World! I am Home Improvement blog writer of KnowBend. I also try to use the product and then write a review about the product, so that my audience is not harmed.

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