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How to Winterize Your Grill (and Prepare it for Storage)

Packing up the grill before winter is always a sad, sad day for people who love being behind the grill or even in front of it. But if you don’t, and live in a country where the weather can get too frigid, you might end up having to bid a permanent farewell to your beloved grill.

To prevent this, winterizing your grill becomes important.

If you want to protect your grill from getting covered in layers of snow, you have to start by giving the equipment a very thorough cleaning and then storing it safely until your next grilling session.

Wondering how to do this? Read on as we discuss our best tips to help you winterize your grill.

Set fire to your grill grates – not literally

Before starting with the deep cleaning process, we would highly recommend preheating the cooking grates and then scrub them with a grill brush. This will allow you to remove stuck debris and grease particles (as much as possible) to ensure you from getting any rude surprises when you take your grill out next season.

In short, any leftovers should be off your grill. More so, if you don’t want any mold development over the next couple of days.

Make it a soapy affair

Before we discuss what you have to do here, make sure you have a gentle soap, a bucket, and a 3M cleaning pad ready with you.

Now, reheating and scrubbing the grates will remove a majority of any leftover residue, but to make sure that they become squeaky clean, you need to do some deep cleaning. 

Once the grill cools down, remove the cooking grates, burners, and flame tamers with care. Follow this up by removing off any leftover residue and grease by using the 3M cleaning pad. Of course, you can use soap and water cleaning here too.

While you do have the liberty to use plenty of soapy water, just make sure you rinse it off properly. Similar to how you wouldn’t want any grease left on your grill, you don’t want any leftover soapy residue as well. The last thing to do is then empty your drip pans or ash catchers, clean them up, rinse, and then put them back at their spots. Yes, this applies to DIY barbecue grills too!

Don’t forget the exterior

Preparing your grill for storage isn’t limited to internal deep cleaning only – the exterior is equally important.

The main purpose of winterizing is to prevent corrosion or mold growth, which is why you should also clean the outside of your grill to avoid either situation. All you need is a clean cloth to wipe the outside of your grill after having soaked it in soapy water. You should do this even if you have compact grills suited for condo and apartments. After all, hardened marinades, sticky basting sauce, and other leftover bits don’t differentiate by size.

Getting the (high-quality) grill cover on

Admit it: We have often wondered whether simply covering the grill would be good enough. Well, it is good enough to protect the grill from snow, but deep cleaning is very important if you want to boost the grill’s longevity.

You see, covering the grill will protect it from elemental exposure, which can be really damaging even if your grill is made from high-quality materials.You would also have to make sure you determine the right place to store your grill. We would recommend using the basement, garage, or a storage room as they are well covered and safe from any element damage.

If replacing your grill after just one or two years of use doesn’t sound appealing to you, make sure you invest in a good and appropriately-sized grill cover right away! Lower quality grill covers can be turned down by bugs and other creatures, which would defeat the whole purpose of covering the grill in the first place.

We would again like to stress the importance of ensuring the grill is completely dry before covering it. Let it air dry, if possible, but if not, simply wipe off any moisture with a towel.

Winterize your charcoal grill too

Winterizing a charcoal grill is actually quite similar to winterizing a gas grid – well, mostly.

You see, preparing to store away your charcoal grill isn’t as involved as a process. You start by cleaning and scrubbing the cooking grates to ensure there is no leftover residue or food bits, as well as empty the drip trays to remove the ash. 

Once done, you only have to wipe the grill with warm, soapy water – the interior and the exterior – and then allow it to dry. You can then store it away once the charcoal grill is completely dry.

And that’s it! Just follow our above-mentioned steps to winterize your grill and prepare it for winter storage. It really doesn’t matter the type of grill you own, what is more important here is to deep clean the equipment to remove food debris and grease stains, to dry it properly, and then store it to protect it in the upcoming frigid months.