What are your weekend plans? It’s supposed to hit 80 degrees Saturday, believe it or not.

You might as well get out the sunscreen and flip flops because it won’t snow again for months… hopefully.

With the warm weather comes the drive to clean things. It might be some primal urge we all have. I can picture it now, the snow has melted from the front of the cave, letting months of funk seep out onto the frozen tundra. Cavemen pick through old bones, finding keeps and discards, making sure the cave floor had less dirt than before, cleaning off the shelves.

All those things pretty much translate into the awakening from hibernation that is Sheridan winter. You’re busting out the lawn chairs, getting your yard in order because the grass will be a foot tall before you know it and finding long lost things the snow buried months ago.

Then there is the grill.

Oh poor grill, how we have neglected you all winter. If you were lucky you had a good owner who put you to stable in the garage all winter, or maybe you had a cover to protect you from the snow. But some people — no finger pointing here — just leave you out to die a slow, cold death. Maybe you got brushed off on Thanksgiving to beer-can a turkey; but you mostly sat neglected.

Lucky for you, we are coming to your rescue!

While it’s not necessary to have a clean, pretty and well-functioning grill, it is recommended by the Wyoming Institute of Backyard Grilling (made up) to have it glistening with pride like the first day you let the liquid propane gas light glow.

First thing you are going to want to do is disconnect all fuel sources. While it would be rare, and I doubt it would happen, I’ve seen some pretty impressive videos of grills going supernova. So, to be on the safe side, disconnect the gas.

There are a ton of different grill cleaning tools to choose from, but nothing can beat a long handled wire brush, soapy water and some elbow grease. Dawn dish soap works great in cutting though any leftover grease. If you want to go the extra mile and give your grill eye-popping shine, spring for some stainless steel polish.


Soak it

I like to give my grill grates an initial brush to clean off as much loose debris as possible and then place them into a full bucket of soapy water. I do the same with the infrared panels located directly beneath the grates. I let these soak for about 15 minutes on each end before removing them.


Hard to beat a Shop-Vac

With the grates removed, the easiest way to clear out loose particles of food and debris that have collected at the bottom of your grill is to use a Shop-Vac vacuum. Any vacuum will do if you don’t have a Shop-Vac. Make sure whatever vacuum you use, you can live with it getting a bit dirty and greasy.


Scrub, scrub, scrub

After the grates and panels are soaked, take the grill brush to them and go to town. A long handled grill brush is necessary to get enough leverage to remove the really stubborn junk.

The shorter brushes will work for in-between cleanings, but they won’t cut it for getting back down to the steel or porcelain.

My cast iron grates had some areas around the corners that remained covered with carbon despite intense brushing, so I used a small flathead screwdriver to clear away the remaining carbon. Be careful, however, using anything other than a wire brush can damage your grill grates, especially if they are porcelain.


Wash and wipe

After getting my grill grates back into shape, I replaced the soapy water in the bucket and proceeded to scrub down the entire outside of the grill using a household sponge. Avoid using steel wool on your stainless steel grill as that will leave scratches everywhere. It’s possible to even scratch your grill using a coarse pad, so be gentle but firm when wiping and scrubbing.

Stainless steel cleaner works great as a final touch, but it shouldn’t be used for any heavy cleaning. Spray it on, and let it sit for a couple minutes before wiping away with a clean dry cloth.

Vinegar can also be used to effectively clean and wipe down stainless steel.


Finishing up

During the cleaning process, it’s good to inspect all of the gas lines and tubes. With the grates removed, light your grill and inspect the burner tubes for any blockages.

If you see any clogged holes, turn off your grill and use your brush to gently scrub the tubes.