How to Store a Grill

Jon Fesmire | September 9, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

If you like grilling, then summer is barbecue season. But once the weather starts to cool, it’s time to store your grill. Unless you have a built-in grill, similar to a pizza oven, in your backyard, you need to protect it from snow and other weather conditions.

Your storage unit is a great place to keep it during those cold months, provided you prepare it and store it correctly. Here’s how to do that:

Your Model

There are a variety of barbecue grills. Most use either propane gas, electricity, or charcoal.

Before you jump into the cleaning process, check your user’s manual. If you don’t have one, search for your grill model online. Chances are, the company that made it will have a PDF file of the manual available for download, and that will give you cleaning details.

Cleaning - Propane and Electric

Why is it so important to clean the grill before putting it in storage? Well, food remnants—even burned ones—can attract pests. Also, cleaning your grill periodically keeps it in good condition, preventing built-up food residue from damaging it, inside and out.

First, fire the grill up to high heat to burn away excess food and loosen grime. Let it run at this level for about 20 minutes. When done, turn it off. If you have a propane grill, you may need to remove the gas tank. Your manual will have instructions, so follow them carefully. If the grill is electric, you can now unplug it.

Once it has cooled down to warm—in other words, not hot enough to burn your skin, but to a level where the warmth will help remove the grime—use a wire brush to scrape away the grit inside the grill. After the grill has cooled completely, put a little gentle detergent in a bucket and fill it with warm water, and use this to clean the inside. You can use a sponge or washcloth.

Prepare the same sort of detergent and water mixture, and clean the grill itself and the outside of the barbecue, and do the same with the barbecue cover, inside and out. After, if you like, you can buff the outside to a shine with a clean, dry cloth.

Cleaning - Charcoal

The process for cleaning a charcoal barbecue is similar. However, you’ll skip the step of firing up the barbecue, as this would require lighting the charcoal. Instead, when you know all the coals have cooled, remove them. Add a bit of mild detergent to a bucket and fill it with warm water, then scrub the grill, the inside of the barbecue, the outside, and the lid.

Putting Your Barbecue in Storage

Make sure the barbecue and lid are completely dry. Otherwise, you risk mold and mildew growing on the sides. You may want to consider getting a storage unit with climate control. This keeps the humidity and temperature in a safe range for all your stored belongings, preventing mildew during humid summers, and warping during cold winters.

If you have a barbecue grill that rests on a table, you can probably put it on a shelf or on some sturdy boxes. If it’s a full, sanding unit, place it where you like on the floor, or a few inches up on a board. Finally, if you don’t have a grill cover, we encourage you to get one for your model.  They’re inexpensive and will help keep your grill clean while in storage.

Propane Tanks

Propane is not allowed in self storage. Instead, store it safely at home, not in a storage unit.

With all this done, your grill will be in great shape and ready to retrieve when barbecue season comes around again.

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