Grills take a lot of abuse—from in-season smoke and grease to off-season snow and ice. And while our gas grill ratings are packed with info on how a grill performs when new, you’ll have to think about care and maintenance to ensure that it keeps working well for the rest of the summer and grilling seasons to come. 

More on Grills

Another part of the picture? Check our new sturdiness test to see whether a grill is built to survive multiple seasons. Next, use the advice below to care for your grill each time you cook, and before and after each grilling season.

If you’re looking for specific info about replacing problem parts, we’ve got you covered—our guide to easy gas grill repairs anyone can make will tell you which repairs you can make yourself, plus how long those fixes will last and what you’ll pay for parts. 

Before Each Season

Unless you’re a year-round griller, chances are that your grill will need a good cleaning before you fire it up for your first cookout of the year. Examine the inside and clear away any spiderwebs, which can cause a serious flare-up if they ignite. Reconnect your propane tank, open the valve, and spritz the flexible gas line with a mixture of water and dish soap. Look for any bubbling, which could indicate a possible leak. If you spot one, order a replacement gas line. Be sure to also test the newly installed line with a soapy water mixture.

In the market for a new grill? Start with our 
grill buying guide for shopping advice, and use our comprehensive gas grill ratings to find the perfect model for your cooking style.

Before Each Cookout

Weber, the largest grill manufacturer in the U.S., recommends brushing grates after a 15-minute preheat, because the heated food debris will turn to ash and will be easier to brush off. You’ll also need to empty the drip tray, which collects fat, to avoid a mess and reduce the chances of a grease fire. Any flakes you see forming on the inside top of the lid might look like paint, but they’re actually grease and smoke deposits. Use a stainless steel brush to scrape them off so that they don’t end up in your food.

During the Season

Scrub the inside of your grill, including the covers on the burners on gas grills, with soapy water and a scouring pad from time to time. How often depends upon how frequently you’re grilling and what you’re cooking—if it’s fatty meats, you’ll need to clean more frequently to help prevent flare-ups.

Protect your grill whenever it’s not in use with a cover made of a waterproof, breathable material, such as heavy-duty polyester. (Most brands’ covers are designed to fit a particular model.) If you live right on the ocean or in a particularly humid area, however, leave your grill uncovered except during long periods of inclement weather, to avoid trapping salty or moist air that would cause the grill to rust. People in these regions should also wipe down grills once a week to remove salt deposits and accumulated moisture.

After the Season

At the end of the season, scrub your grill inside and out. Use soapy water in the firebox and on the grates, and a multipurpose cleaner on the exterior. Store your grill covered, with the propane tank disconnected. That way, if anyone bumps into the grill in the off-season, there’s no risk of inadvertently turning on a burner. A detached garage or shed is a fine place to store propane tanks; never bring them into the house.

Grill Cleaning Techniques

Whether it's tail-gating or summer get-togethers, everyone loves to fire up the grill. Consumer Reports' expert, Paul Hope, shares with 'Consumer 101' TV show host, Jack Rico, some great post-grilling cleaning tips.