When summertime rolls around, you’ll want to have your grill in the best shape possible. Barbequing can take a toll on any grill, so it is up to you to keep it looking its best. Here are a few tips for keeping your grill looking like new every year.

The best way to keep your grill looking its best is to keep it clean. Allowing food drippings and used charcoal briquettes to accumulate inside the grill can not only lead to a very dirty grill, but it can also affect the taste of the food you barbeque. Leaving ash remnants inside of your grill can cause conditions that allow corrosive elements to eat away at the grill pan. Water that enters the grill can mix with the ash to create lye, which in turn can cause rust to form in the grill pan.

Whenever you finish using your grill, use a wire brush to get rid of any loose drippings or debris from the grill. Allow the grill to remain heated for 15 minutes in order to burn away residual grease and debris. If you have a gas grill, turn the burner settings to high, so that all drippings and debris are burned away. After the grill cools down, remove the grates and either clean them with an oven cleaner or soak them in a solution of dishwashing soap and water. You may want to avoid using abrasive cleaners if certain parts of your grill (or even the entire grill itself) is made out of stainless steel. Instead, use dishwashing soap and water to clean these areas.

It’s also good idea to take apart your grill for a thorough cleaning at least once a year. You can start cleaning out your grill by dumping out any ash or remaining charcoal left inside of your grill. Use a sturdy wire brush to brush away any remaining food drippings that are left. Then scrub the inside and outside of your grill with baking soda or dishwashing soap and water. After you’re done, coat the grill with vegetable oil in order to prevent rust and corrosion. If you have a stainless steel grill, you won’t have to perform that step. Dry the grill off with a towel and reassemble.

If you have a gas grill, the maintenance steps are a bit more complicated. For instance, you will have to check the metal tubes under each burner to make sure they are not blocked. You can use a toothpick to clear the blockages, but if they are too severe, you may have to replace the burners. Most gas grills also use lava rocks instead of charcoal briquettes, and these bricks have to be replaced once they show signs of cracking or disintegrating. Don’t forget to inspect all hoses and gas lines for leaks and damage.

Another great way to keep your barbeque grill looking new is to touch up the paint every once in a while. As the years go by, the paint on your grill can flake off, leaving bare spots that can become susceptible to rust or corrosion. In order to keep this from happening, you should cover these bare spots with a can of heat-resistant paint that is specially formulated for use with barbeque grills. This paint is available at most hardware stores. You should apply this paint preferably after you have washed the grill with soap and water, allowing the grill to dry before applying the paint. This will give your grill a like-new look.

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