When setting up the barbecue grill for a new season of succulent grilled meats and vegetables, you may open the lid, anticipating a pristine interior, and encounter a scene from a horror movie. The inside of the grill is covered with the waving threads of fuzzy green or white mold. After slamming the lid down and regrouping, it's time to gather your cleaning tools and wipe out that mold.
Any time you remove mold from any surface, take a few safety precautions to protect your skin, lungs and eyes from mold, mold spores and cleaning products. Put on:
- Long pants
- A long-sleeved shirt
- Waterproof gloves
- A dust mask
- Safety goggles
Gas or Propane Grill
To clean a gas or propane grill, begin by turning the grill so the breeze is at your back. This ensures that any mold spores or fumes blow away from your face.
Turn the gas or propane on and light the grill. Set the grill at its highest setting and heat for at least 15 minutes to kill the mold and its spores.
Allow the barbecue grill to cool, and then remove the interior parts of the grill. Place them on old newspapers. Remove the lava rocks or ceramic briquettes and seal them in a plastic bag before discarding them in the trash.
Spray the interior of the grill with a barbecue grill cleaner, shaking the can well before you begin. Hold the can 8 to 10 inches away and cover the surface with foam. Also cover the grill parts with the foam spray. Allow the cleaner to work for five to 10 minutes.
A green alternative to a commercial cleaner is vinegar. Mix equal parts household vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Coat the grill and its parts with the vinegar solution. Close the grill lid and allow the vinegar to work for one hour before scrubbing the grill and its parts.
Keep the grill cleaner can and foamy grill and its parts out of reach of children and pets.
Scrub the entire interior of the grill, cooking grate, heat shield or rock grate, and other accessories with a scrub brush. Wipe the grill and parts clean with paper towels, discarding the towels, newspapers or tarp in the trash. Rinse the grill with clean water from a garden hose. If it is still dirty, repeat the cleaning.
Reassemble the grill, adding new lava rocks or ceramic briquettes. Turn the gas or propane on, and light the grill. Heat the grill to high heat for 15 minutes to dry the interior and kill any lingering mold spores or bacteria.
A charcoal grill requires extra care to avoid touching or breathing the mold.
Remove any old charcoal carefully from the grill. Add new charcoal and charcoal starter fluid. Light the grill and bring it to a high heat to burn out the mold. Allow the barbecue grill to cool completely before proceeding.
Remove the interior parts of the grill, such as the cooking grate and accessories, setting them aside on old newspapers. Discard the charcoal and ashes into a fire-safe container outside, away from fences, buildings and other flammable surfaces.
Spray the grill and parts with a barbecue grill cleaner, covering all surfaces with foam. Allow the foam to work for five to 10 minutes.
Scrub all parts of the grill and the grill interior with a scrub brush until they are clean. Wipe everything with paper towels, and then rinse with clean water. Discard the paper towels and newspapers in the trash.
Reassemble the barbecue grill. Place a small amount of charcoal in the grill and light it. Bring the grill to high heat to kill any mold or germs. Allow the charcoal to burn out and cool before discarding it in a fire-proof container.
Sometimes it's not the grill, but the grill cover that has mold on it. Remove the cover from the barbecue grill and lay it on a tarp on the grass or driveway. If the mold is on the inside, turn the cover inside out first.
Mix a bucket of hot water and bleach, using 1/4 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Using a scrubber-type sponge, wipe the grill cover with the bleach solution to remove the mold. Allow the bleach solution to work for five minutes.
Keep the bleach solution, sponge and bucket out of reach of children and pets. Any bucket filled with fluid is a drowning hazard.
Rinse the grill cover thoroughly with clean water and hang it up to dry.
- Amazing Ribs: Fighting Mold in Your Smoker or Grill
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: Summer Grilling - Tips for Cleaning Your Outdoor Grill
- University of California, Berkeley: University Village Family Housing - Welcome Packet
- National Fire Protection Association: Grilling Safety Tips
- Southern Living: Grill Maintenance 101
Ruth de Jauregui
With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.