Before Using Your Grill For The First Time This Year, Remember To Clean The Outside Too

Grill season is quickly approaching, which probably has you itching to light the match and set some charcoal ablaze. But your grill may not be as ready as you are. If you're smart, you'll have left your grill under a cover through the cold winter months to protect it from the elements — but that doesn't mean it's in the same condition as it was when you stored it last year. You probably know that you need to clean the interior of the grill again (and we have plenty of tips and tricks for cleaning your grill), but cleaning the outside is also important. 

This is especially the case if you didn't finish off last year's grilling season with a deep scrub. Grilling can be surprisingly messy. Oil splatters everywhere, smoke pours out the side and sticks to the surface, and food gets stuck to your grill if you're not careful. You may have placed the cover on last year thinking everything was good to go, only to reveal a filthy monster when the cover comes back off. 

Your grill's lifespan is going to be significantly extended if you take the time to keep it clean and the exterior is almost as important as the interior in that regard. If you don't clean it, whatever substance is coating the surface is going to cook alongside the food once you light your grill up. That could mean unpleasant smells, or, worse, you could permanently bake something onto the surface of your grill.

How to clean your grill's exterior

Thankfully, cleaning the outside of your grill should be easier than cleaning the inside. If you aren't noticing any major signs of filth, a simple scrub with hot water and dish soap should be up to the task. Don't use something hard like a wire brush to clean your grill – a soft sponge is a better option. Stainless steel grills don't need to worry about rust, but you don't want to leave the soapy water on your grill in any case. Rinse off the suds with some plain water and dry the whole thing with a microfiber towel just to be safe.

If you got lazy in the fall and left your grill looking like a grease bomb went off when you weren't looking, soap and water may not be enough to get your grill back to where you want it to be. In this case, some degreaser should do the trick. It shouldn't be that much more difficult than the dish soap option, but a little elbow grease never hurt anyone.

Once you've got the outside of your grill looking presentable again, now would be a good time to apply a protective layer to its exterior. There are plenty of products out there designed to protect your grill throughout the summer months, and what better time to apply it than right after it's been cleaned but before you've begun cooking. Just make sure you're picking one that's suited for the exact material your grill is made of.