How to Clean Grill Burners: 6 Steps to Revive Your Grill’s Functionality

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Last updatedLast updated: April 20, 2021
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Even if you have a great grill from Weber or CharBroil, you still need to clean the grates and drip pan. Unfortunately, not many folks know how to clean the grill burners. This is an extra step that needs to be done every once in a while to keep the grill working correctly. After all, these burners are what actually provided the heat for you to cook your food. If they are gunked up, they won’t work very well, which could make it take longer to grill your meats. Dirty grill burners could also make it impossible to grill at all if they get bad enough.

By cleaning the gas grill burners on your grill, you will not only make sure that your grill is working as efficiently as possible, but this simple act will also help to extend the life of your grill. Replacing burners is expensive, so it is a good idea to follow the steps we have listed below to keep them working correctly for years to come.

What you’ll need

As is the case when you are cleaning anything cooking related, you want to be prepared for a mess when you are cleaning the burners on your gas grill. Even if you are cleaning cast iron grill burners, you should make sure that you have

  • soft and stiff brush;
  • toothpicks;
  • putty knife for scraping;
  • gloves;
  • rags and towels.

These tools will allow you to get your burners looking as though they are brand new with relative ease.

What are burners, and what do they look like?

Grill burners in a gas grill are generally narrow, hollow tubes that have holes along their length. They are then attached to the hosing that connects to the gas cylinder under the grill. These tubes have holes in their sides in a uniform pattern along their entire length. These small holes allow propane to come through, which is then lit to heat your grill as you are cooking. Depending on your grill, you might have one continuous curved burner or several straight ones.

6 Steps to clean your burners

There are several different steps that you need to make sure that you follow when you are cleaning your burners so that you are able to get them as clean as possible without damaging them.

1.     Turn off everything

Whenever you are cleaning your grill, the first thing that you have to do is turn everything off. You certainly don’t want to have any gas flowing through the burners while you are cleaning since this could be quite dangerous. After the gas is turned off, it is best practice to unhook the hose from the canister to prevent any accidents from occurring.

2.     Remove the burners

Once you have everything turned off, you need to remove the burners. Before this can be accomplished, you need to remove anything and everything that is on top of them. This includes the grates, heat bars (metal triangles that allow for even heat distribution), and briquets. Clean all of these items off and set them to the side before you remove the burners. Once you have gained access to the burners, detach them from the interior of the grill and hosing so that you can more easily clean them.

3.     Unclog the ports

Once you have the burners out of the grill, use the toothpick or other small tool to unclog all of the gas ports. You need to be careful when clearing these ports since they are so small. It is best to gently place the toothpick or similar tool in each port and remove any excessive debris. This should be repeated with all of the ports.

4.     Scrub the burners with a brush

Once you have unclogged the ports on stainless steel burners, like the ones on the most popular models from Char-Broil and Weber, take your stiff brush and scrub them. This should remove any tougher grease and debris from the burners.

Once you have removed the larger portions of the stuck-on gunk from the burners, use the softer brush to remove any leftover dust that may remain. Make sure to check the ports again to see if anything found its way back in while you scrubbed the burners.

5.     Reattach the burners

After you have cleaned the burners, the next step is to reattach them. Make sure that you put them back in the same orientation that they were before you removed them. Once they are reattached to the frame of then, you need to reattach the fuel hose. After that, reinstall all of the other components to your grill correctly as well so that the grill will work properly.

6.     Some more cleaning tips

If scrubbing your burners doesn’t do the trick, you can also use a gentle soap and warm water mixture to clean off the gunk as well. You just need to make sure that you then give the burners enough time to dry after you rinse them. Otherwise, they might not work once you reinstall them.

You cleaned the burners, but the problem hasn’t gone away. What should you do next?

If cleaning the burners didn’t improve your grill’s performance, then it might be time to get a new set of burners. Thankfully, these parts can usually be purchased at a local home goods store or online through the grill’s manufacturer. Once you install these new burners, make sure to take the time to clean them regularly so that they don’t suffer the same fate in a few years. If you cannot get a new set of burners, then you might need to go ahead and buy a whole new grill.

Final thoughts

If you own a grill and regularly use it, then you know how important it is to clean it out. Something that lots of folks neglect to clean, however, are the burners. These are not quite as simple as cleaning the rest of the grill. Thankfully, as long as you know how to clean the grill burners, you can extend the lifetime of your grill exponentially.

By taking the time to clear off any caked-on residue from the burners and clear all of the gas ports, you will be able to restore their efficiency. This will, in turn, help to make them cook better, which will make your food taste even better than before!

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