Yes, you really can pressure wash your BBQ grill safely and easily

updated: September 25, 2019

If any household chore brings about a sense of dread comparable to getting a root canal, it’s cleaning the BBQ grill. It only takes a summer or two for that shiny new outdoor cooker to become a greasy, stuck-on nightmare.

Cleaning BBQ grill by hands is a hard work
Pressure Washer could help you with a hard task of cleaning the BBQ grill

Cleaning it by hand may seem like the only safe option available, but it’s not the only option if you have a pressure washer in your garage. There’s some debate among BBQ aficionados over whether you should or shouldn’t pressure wash a grill.

PROS

    Here are the pros:

  • Quicker – 10 to 15 minutes vs. 1 hour or more by hand
  • Easier
  • More effective
  • Drives grime out of hard to clean areas
CONS

    And a few cons:

  • Could drive grime into gas burners
  • Throws grease and grime all over the deck/yard

If you’re careful and do a little prep work, however, you can toss those cons right out with the watermelon rinds and corn cobs.

What pressure washer works best for BBQ grills?

Gas or electric power washers can be used to clean grills. You’ll need a unit that produces at least 1.3 GPM at 2,000 PSI to get the job done efficiently.

A gas grill will be able to provide enough power to tackle really stuck on grime from grills that may have been neglected for several seasons. If you regularly clean your grill, however, an electric model should be just fine.

Prepare to wash

You should prepare your BBQ grill for cleaning by the Pressure Washer first

For all gas or propane grills, disconnect the grill from the propane tank or natural gas line (security measures). Get all tanks and lines out of the way so the water jet doesn’t damage them. Unplug any power cords if you have an electric starter or rotisserie.

For regular charcoal grills, just remove any used coals and remove the grill from the stand. Then place it on the ground, driveway, or deck floor (not on a table or chair).

To avoid all the gunk flying everywhere, try moving your grill to the middle of your yard or driveway away from the house, cars, etc. If you can’t remove it from the deck, use a tarp, tablecloth, paint drop cloth, or sheet to cover the deck floor and railing around the grill. You can also cover any deck furniture or plants to keep them clean.

Soap it up

Grills mean grease, and that means you’ll need a degreaser. Be sure to use a pressure washer safe degreaser detergent. Fill the washer detergent compartment with the degreaser as directed in your owner’s manual and on the detergent bottle.

Alex Woodward - Power Washers Expert
An optional step BEFORE degreasing is to use a 40 degree nozzle to pre-blast loose dirt and grime away so the degreaser can better penetrate the stuck-on gunk.
Alex Woodward
Expert Tip

With the soaping nozzle attached, apply the degreaser from the bottom to the top. Be careful not to spray directly into any heating elements. Spray at an angle that’s more parallel to the ground for best results.

Give it time to break down the grime. Let the degreaser sit for about 3 – 5 minutes to do its thing.

Rinse it well

Rinse it well for a good result

Attach a 15 or 25 degree nozzle, and rinse from the top down, like you would do with your vehicle or siding. If it’s not quite clean enough, repeat the degreasing and rinsing steps.

For really caked on grime, you can use a turbo nozzle for rinsing. But be extra careful around any heating elements. Keep the spray wand pointed at an angle, and adjust the distance as necessary to avoid damage.

Let it dry

Leave your grill open and let it dry completely in the sun. This may take a full day. Don’t use it until it’s totally dry, however.

Oil it down

Once the grill is totally dry, apply cooking oil such as olive or canola to the cooking grid or grates. This makes a nonstick surface that is resistant to rust and keeps your food from sticking.

Get to cooking

Nice dinner prepared on a clean BBQ grill
Enjoy a nice dinner from your clean and shiny grill!

Now that your grill is clean, dry, and oiled, hook up all the gas connections and power cords or fill your standard grill with fresh charcoal. Enjoy a nice dinner from your clean and shiny grill!

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