How to Clean an Electric Smoker – 8 Easy Steps

Smoking and barbecuing can get messy.

You have to deal with grease, sauces, and ash. So you need to have an efficient way to clean your electric smoker.

Next time go want to barbecue you don’t want to have to deal with a drip tray full of fat, a chip tray choked with ash or crusty, mold grill grates.

So what do you do?

This guide will walk you through what you need to know about cleaning your electric smoker and how to maintain to it

After all, they aren’t a cheap bit of equipment, so you need to look after them!

Need to Clean Your Smoke Right Now? Jump straight to The 8 steps

How Often Should You Clean Your Electric Smoker?

An important part of cleaning your electric smoker is knowing how often you should do so.

The last thing you want to do after every big cookout is giving the smoker a scrub.

We will go into general maintenance and upkeep below. However when I smoke a turkey on my electric smoker I always give it a thought clean it makes quite a mess.

To keep your electric smoker in good condition, the general rule of thumb is to give it a thorough clean every 2 to 4 uses.

Do You Need to Clean Your Electric Smoker Before It First Use?

If you have a new electric smoker, you may be wondering if you should clean it before using it for the first time. 

If you check the user manual, you’ll likely find that it doesn’t mention cleaning it before using it

That being said, it won’t hurt to give it a good clean if you prefer. 

Should You Follow The User Manual?

if you are spending your hard-earned money on a smoker, you want to make sure you read the manual.

It will come in handy, when it comes to getting the best performance out of your smoker as well as knowing what screw goes where when putting it back together!

When buying an electric smoker, you can generally have it assembled by the store.

Meaning you never have to worry about what part goes where.  Yet, at some point, you may need to take it apart.

Whether you’re dismantling it for a deep clean or something else the day will come.  When that day arrives, you will need your user manual.

Should you lose or misplace your user manual, you should be able to find it online at the retailer’s website. 

Equipment Needed for Cleaning Your Electric Smoker

Here is a quick checklist of all the things you will need to clean your electric smoker

  • Something to cover your work area. Be it newspapers, an old sheet, or towels. 
  • Warm soapy water. 
  • Grill scraper or metal spatula. 
  • Boiling or very hot water.
  • A sponge, dry cloths, and an abrasive scouring pad. 
  • Detergent. (Preferably mild dish detergent)
  • A microwave-safe bowl.
  • A soft bristle brush. 
    To find the best soap solution, you can find the right ratio of detergent to warm water for your grill online. For stainless steel smokers you will also need:
  • Stainless steel cleaner.
    For smokers with glass panes or windows you will also need:
  • Glass cleaner.

Follow These 8 Steps to Clean Your Electric Smoker

1. Cleaning the Interior of Your Electric Smoker

Wash the interior of your electric smoker easier when it’s warm inside. Let the smoker cool to the point where you can comfortably touch it.

A smoker will naturally darken with each use. So you won’t ever be able to get it back to its brand new state, you just want to remove the fat, grime, and food scraps.

2. Make Sure You Cover Your Work Area

 Before you start cleaning your electric smoker, you should cover your work area. Use your newspapers, an old sheet, or towels (anything similar works too) to protect your floor.

This will help save time after cleaning and ensure you don’t leave a mess

Once you’ve covered your work area, you’re ready to get started. 

3.Clean Out Ash From The Smoker Box or Chip Tray

An important part step in the cleaning process is removing the ash from the chip tray or smoker box.

This is where your chips or wood is burnt, leaving behind a pile of ashes that will need to be regularly disposed of. 

Remember that if the ashes are still warm, you will need to dispose of them safely so that you don’t inadvertently start a fire. 

If the ashes are still warm you can use a non-combustible container.

4. Remove The Drip Pan, Water Pan, Shelves and Clean Them

The next part is to clean the water pan and drip pan which are removable components,as well as the shevles.

Each of these removable components should be cleaned thoroughly. This removes any residual food and grease. Depending on the brand and style you have, these may be dishwasher safe.

You can let your trusty dishwasher handle cleaning the removable components. You can move on to the next step.  If not, no worries. You can scrape the grease from the drip tray with your metal spatula.

Then proceed to wash each of the removable components in warm soapy water. Your grill brush will work to scrub any grease and grime.

5. Wipe The Bottom and Sides of Your Electric Smoker

When cleaning the inside of your cooking chamber, it is easy to forget simple steps.

One such step is to clean the bottom and sides of the smoking chamber itself.  The sticky greasy residue will end up coating the entire inside of the chamber from top to bottom. 

Simply use a scraper to scrape off any thick built-up messes from your smoker.

Afterward, you can use your damp cloth to scrub the inside of the smoking chamber.  When cleaning out the smoking chamber, it is important to work from top to bottom.

Slowly work your way down the sides and finish with the bottom. Otherwise, you may end up needing to clean out the bottom twice. 

6. How to Clean the Chamber Window

The chamber window in your electric smoker is probably one of your favorite features.

It allows you to watch your DELICIOUS food cook without opening the smoker. Seeing as how useful it is, you should always remember to clean it properly. 

Now, if your chamber window is covered in a thick layer of grease and grime, you will need to use a scraper to remove it. While you would use a metal scraper on the rest of the grill, you won’t want to scratch your glass. It is best to use a wooden or plastic scraper here. 

After removing the build-up, you should be able to use warm soapy water to clean the rest of the chamber window.

You can also use ceramic glass cooktop cleaner. The cleaner will remove any loose dirt and stuck on grime.

Remember to wipe down the outside and remove any loose dirt that may be covering it. 

7. How to Clean The Temperature Probe

Properly cleaning the temperature probe depends on the probe your smoker has.

A digital temperature probe is fairly simple to clean. You won’t mess with anything except the outer part. Simply wipe it down and make sure that the outside is clean. 

You may have an electric smoker with an old-style probe. If so, simply wipe down the metallic prongs. Remember not to submerge it in water as it may mess it up. 

8. Oiling Your Smoking

Once your smoker has cooled right down you can use vegetable oil on your grates. This can help keep residual food from sticking to them

9. Reassemble Your Electric  Smoker and Fire It Up

Now with all the cleaning complete, you’re ready to relax. Unfortunately, you will still need to reassemble your electric smoker. 

Now, you should use the user manual to reassemble your electric smoker.  Once you’ve put all the pieces together again you should double-check EVERYTHING!

After you double-check, you should turn on your electric smoker. Turn on the highest heat setting and let it run for a good half hour. 

Letting it run will help to evaporate any excess water or suds that may be lingering. 

It is important to never close and store it while it is still damp. If needed, take a towel or paper towels and dry what you can before letting it air dry completely. 

Do You Have Mold In Your Smoker?

Now, if you have a mold problem with your electric smoker, don’t fret.

This can easily be handled by boiling water in a microwave-safe bowl or tin. Boil the water inside the smoker on the highest setting for an hour.

This will burn away the mold away, simply wipe it down afterward. If you have mold in your grill, we have a comprehensive guide here to remove it.

If you have a BGE I have a guide specifically for that as well

Cleaning The Exterior of Your Smoker

Cleaning the exterior of your electric smoker is a fairly simple task. Just follow the steps below.

1. Wash and Rinse With Water

Since your smoker is usually outside, the exterior can quickly get covered in dirt and grime. 

Luckily, cleaning the exterior of your is one of the easiest parts to clean. You’ll likely only need to wipe it down thoroughly. 

It’s important to note that the outside can simply be sprayed with oven cleaner. Wipe it off with a damp cloth before rinsing it.

Though oven cleaner may not always be needed.  Make sure you wipe down all the nooks and crannies found on the outside of your smoker.

If you don’t, you’ll likely end up with build-up in certain areas. You should also make sure when you’re cleaning the outside, you clean any vents.

Finally, make certain to check your grease trap and clean it out. While this should be done after each use, it never hurts to check on it. 

2. Use Glass Or Stainless Steel Cleaner If Needed

Your electric smoker is made of different materials. This means it needs to be cleaned with the correct cleaning chemicals. 

If it is stainless steel then you should be using a cleaner that is made for stainless steel. 

Likewise, if it has glass panes or windows, you need to use a cleaner that is made for glass.  It is important to closely follow the directions on any cleaners.

Failure to follow the directions properly may result in a smoker that does not come clean. It can even damage your electric smoker. 

Do You Need Ongoing Electric Smoker Maintenance?

The short and simple answer is yes. You need to continue ongoing maintenance for many reasons. 

Cleaning your smoker regularly ensures a certain level of hygiene. This helps to keep it from rusting. It can also help prevent your electric smoker from developing a mold problem. 

Another important reason to clean your smoker is to maintain its cooking integrity.

The cleaner you keep your it the more likely it is to work properly and efficiently.  Meaning if you keep it clean, you’re less likely to need to replace it or its parts regularly.  

Wrapping it Up

If you have an electric smoker you need to look after it!

The best way to look after it is to clean and maintain it every 2 to 4 uses. Any quick tips on how to clean an electric smoker?

Share them with the rest of the community in the comments section below!

Smoke On!


Author: Justin Carrtington
Hi I’m Justin, I am one of the taste testers (hard job I know) here at Simply Meat Smoking! I have been grilling, smoking and cooking up a storm since I was young. I like use all types of fuel from charcoal to gas, wood and even electric!

When I not trying to perfect my ribs or brisket I am hanging out with my friends,mainly acting like a big kid.

You can read more on our About Us page.

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