What is The Cause of Mold on Grills? (Once You Know You can Stop It)

Not only can mold on your grill grates make you lose your appetite, but it can also put your health at serious risk.

However, it’s not the end of the world if you discover mold growing in your grill. This is quite a common issue. 

So what are the causes behind the build-up of mold on grills, how can you get rid of it, and is there a way to prevent it?

Keep reading to learn more about the causes and remedies of this problem.

What is The Cause of Mold in Grills?

Mold thrives off of moist and damp environments that have poor air circulation. We know that mold can be found in showers, damp carpets, roofs, and on bread. But why grills? What’s the cause? 

Well, the main culprit is the grill lid you cover the body of the grill with. A lid protects your grill from collecting dust, developing rust, and keeps any unwanted insects out. But it can also facilitate the growth of mold. 

Sealing a grill shut with a lid can trap moisture and dirt from any food debris that may be stuck on your grill grates. The lid also prevents any air from flowing through the whole grill. Hence, you’re left with a moist environment that lacks proper air circulation.

How Do You Prevent Mold From Growing on Your Grill?

Now that we are aware of the cause, what’s the solution? 

Much like every other issue in life, prevention is key. First of all, let’s tackle the issue of any trapped moisture.

While your grill may not look visibly wet, any fat or food residue will contribute to any dampness. So, is the solution to wash your grill after every cook and dry it well? Sure, you could do that.

But that’ll be very time-consuming and it’ll be very difficult to complete such a high-maintenance cleaning routine each time you use the grill. It may even completely turn you off from using it to cook as often.

There’s a much easier way. What you’ll want to do is to heat your grill to the hottest temperature. Very much like how you’d condition your grill before you use it to cook for the very first time. 

The high heat will dry up any moisture remaining in the grill, and it’ll also char and burn any remaining food residue.

This will help make it easier for you to scrape and clean any stuck-on food off the grill grates.

How to Correct Store Your Grill (To Ensure No Mold Appears)

Once you cleared all of the burnt pieces away, then you’ve essentially taken all the necessary precautions to prevent moisture from forming in the grill.

When you’re done with that, you’ll want to store the grill in a nice, dry area in your backyard. You don’t have to leave the lid off of the grill.

Instead, you can keep the lid on as long as all of the grill’s vents are kept open. This ensures that there’s still proper air ventilation within the grill once it’s covered with the lid.

7 Quick Steps to Cleaning Your Grill (to Prevent Mold)

Now, let’s say that your grill is already moldy. What should you do? 

We’ll tackle this issue one step at a time, so the first thing that you want to do is clean off any mold build-up.

Here’s our step-by-step guide:

  1. Cover your mouth and nose with some sort of face covering. Use a mask, scarf, etc. This first step is very important because breathing any mold particles in can make you quite ill. It’s especially bad if your body happens to be more sensitive to mold. In some cases, mold can trigger some serious allergic reactions.

  2. Remove any leftover charcoal pieces or briquettes that are still in the body of the grill. 

  3. Next, get the grill fired up and let it burn at the highest possible temperature. If you’re working with a charcoal grill, and not an electric grill or gas grill, then you’ll need to replenish the grill with new coals.

  4. Once it’s done burning, leave the grill to rest and cool down.

  5. As soon as the grill is cool to touch, then begin scraping away at any of the burnt food and girl pieces. You can use a wired brush, a plastic spreader knife, or just hose the grates down for this step.

  6. Once you’ve gotten rid of all the outstanding dirt, it’s time to wash the grill grates with warm soapy water. You should also wipe down the rest of the grill (the parts that can’t be washed) with this soapy solution. Rinse any soap residue off when you’re done.

  7. Lastly, you’ll want to get the grill burning once more. This will truly ensure that there isn’t any moisture left in the grill.

After that, just store it in a dry place and leave the grill vents (both the top and bottom ones) open.

I always use gloves when getting mold off my grates

Importance of Cleaning your Grill

The secret to ensuring the longevity and quality of your grill is to keep it maintained by cleaning it regularly. This will prevent the grill from developing rust, growing moldy, or simply eroding.

Keeping your grill in tip-top shape is important because this will ensure that your food will always taste as good as possible.

What happens if you use a grill with mold? 

Mold should never be inhaled or ingested, hence you should never cook any food on or in a moldy grill. The mold consists of lots of harmful toxins and bacteria that can give you much bigger problems than a simple stomach ache.

You also can’t just ‘burn off’ the toxins in mold. Even once the bacteria’s burnt, it can still be harmful to you to eat it. Not only that, any burnt food residue should not be consumed. 

Once it’s burnt it becomes carcinogenic and you simply don’t want to risk developing cancer over contaminated grilled food. It’s not worth it. 

Hence, a clean grill will ensure:

Wrapping it Up

Before you begin any cooking session and place your perfectly marinated meat onto the grill, check the state of the cooker.

Be on the lookout for dirt, rust, and mold. If there’s mold or rust forming, make sure to clean it all off before you start cooking with the grill.

Lastly, just make sure that there’s proper airflow happening in your grill when you store it away. And never leave the grill covered in grease because this contributes to the build-up of moisture.

Stay safe, and cook responsibly!

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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