Picture this, its the first sunny weekend of spring and you can’t wait to fire up your grill or smoker.
You take your grill cover off and find a white fuzz coating the grill surface.
Damn, grill mold!
This is the worst. There are far more devastating things happening. But, in the BBQ world grill mold is pretty bad.
Grill mold does not discriminate.
It doesn’t care if you have a charcoal grill or a pellet smoker!
If there is a nice warm moist spot, mold will invite itself over.
So then, what is the best way to kill mold?
Is it as easy as throwing away the grill?
Or how about putting the cover back on and hoping it will go away?
Sadly none of these options are going to cut it.
Below you’ll find out how to clean your grill
PLUS get rid of grill mold for good!
In a rush?
Jump straight to my 6 Steps Getting Mold off Grill Grates
Table of contents
Everything You Need To Know About Grill Mold
First we need to find out what grill mold is. We also need to learn how we got ourselves in this moldy situation.
I will cover everything you need to know about grill mold such as:
What Exactly is Grill Mold?
Mold is a term used for fungi that grow in the form of a multi cellular almost thread-like structure.
There are lots and lots of different types of mold. Mold comes in different colors, textures and smells.
Some can cause disease and can be very harmful to the human body.
If you can smell mold, it is wise to get rid of your barbecue or smoker cover and continue with the cleaning steps below.
Can You Cook on a Moldy Grill?
You could cook on a moldy grill.
But you definitely shouldn’t.
Grill mold can be harmful to humans at worst and can taint the flavor of your food.
Don’t be lazy, clean your grill, always remember ‘a clean grill is a happy grill’.
Need to solve this moldy situation ASAP? Jump to; How do you get mold off of grill grates?
Why Does My Grill Get Moldy?
A moldy grill is usually caused by storing your grill under a grill cover or in a moist spot.
When you store your grill under a cover the cover traps moisture under it.
The moisture has nowhere to go and creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and or rust.
When storing your grill under a cover for winter (or summer for that matter) it pays to air it.
This often helps reduce the chances of mold.
How To Prevent Mold (Like They Say, Prevention is Better Than A Cure)
One of the best ways to prevent mold is to superheat your grill or smoker after you have finished cooking.
- Super heat your BBQ or smoker.
If you need to add fresh coals to get the temperature back up do it! It will save you in the long run.
You want to crank it to high and maintain max temperature. Then burn off all the food residue that has built up throughout the cook.
- Once all the food residue has burnt off, its time to work on the grill interior.
With a plastic putty knife, you want to scrape away any grease build-up, food and excess charcoal. This can be a breeding ground for mold.
- Make sure the grill is DRY!
After everything is cleaned you want to dry the interior as much as possible and pop the cover on. Make sure before you put the cover on you open all vents or take away any side pieces that can expose the interior. This will allow any additional moisture to escape.
The major cause of mold is your cover. It traps moisture and creates the perfect conditions for mold and rust.
Try and avoid using a cover/lid if you can, your pride and joy will not fall to pieces! If you can store it in the shed or under a covered area.
What To Do If Grill Mold Has Taken Over
A moldy grill is caused by storing your grill under a grill cover.
If you find yourself taking the cover off your grill at the start of summer and finding mold, don’t stress!
It’s not the end of the world. I have some very easy-to-follow, simple instructions to kill grill mold below.
What I like to do is get the kids involved, and make it a learning experience for everyone.
So, How Do You Get Mold Off Of Grill Grates? Follow my 6 steps below;
Wondering how do you clean mold out of a barbecue?
Well follow my 6 steps below and your grill will be mold-free!
- Remove any charcoal, ceramic briquettes, lava rocks, or other porous materials from the grill.
- Mix your grill cleaner. Make a mixture of water and baking soda and apply it to the grill grates with a basting brush.
- Fire up the grill! Make sure it is as hot as possible, this will kill and burn off the mold & any grease that has built up. Use a decent amount of fuel for the fire, you want to get as much burnt off as possible. Do not try to scrape or power wash the mold off. You might inhale spores and could possibly have a reaction. You could also spread the mold.
- Let it cool down. After the fire has burnt down, let it cool and then scrub and scrape everything you can get your hands on! For best results use a grill scraper, pressure washer, or wire brush. If you don’t have a pressure washer you are going to need a lot of elbow grease.
- Give it a wash. Once everything has been scraped off, give everything a good wash down with hot soapy water. Making sure to give everything a good rinse down afterward. If you are using a wire brush ensure there are no rouge wires on your grill grates.
- Finally, fire up the BBQ one more time. This will ensure any soap residue, moisture, grease or mold has been eradicated.
Wondering What to Do Next?
If you want to get the job done properly you need a good grill brush.
See the best grill brushes here and get cleaning!
Do You Have a Kamado Grill?
Kamado grills are prone to mold outbreaks, so see how to clean a Big Green Egg for a full step-by-step guide to removing the mold.
What Temperature Kills Grill Mold?
The temperature to kill grill mold is 140°F.
Research from Oho State University, found out most molds are not able to survive above 140F.
To kill the grill mold before cleaning your BBQ or smoker make sure you heat your barbecue to 140°F.
Heating your grill also helps loosen baked-on food debris and old oil.
How To Make A Homemade Grill Cleaner
Prefer to use a homemade grill cleaner?
If you don’t want to use chemicals or harsh abrasives on your grill. This is the perfect solution for you!
- Using a grill brush scrape your grill to remove any oil debris such as charcoal, food or grease.
- Fill a clean, empty spray bottle with 2 parts white vinegar, one part water.
- Give the grill a good spray with the vinegar mixture.
- Get half a meter of aluminum foil, scrunch it into a ball.
- Rub the foil all over the grill and wipe away any remaining grease and food debris.
- Repeat the process as needed and finish off by giving it a good burn off at max temperature.
There are many questions submitted regarding cleaning grills, so we have compiled some of the common ones below.
I forgot to wash grill before I started seasoning, what sort I do?
It’s OK, some people recommend you oil your grill after each cook but you only need to wash your grill every few months.
What temperature does the grill need to be to kill mold
Your grill needs to be 140°F to kill mold.
The meat sticks to the grill top no matter what nonstick spray I use, what do you recommend?
Give your a grill a coat of non-stick oil spray when the grill is cool and turned off.
Using a non-stick spray is an alternative to regular oil coating. If you find meat is still sticking to the grates then try aluminum foil.
What kind of face mask needs to be worn for cleaning a grill?
When cleaning a grill or emptying charcoal from your grill, make sure you at least wear a 3M masks to protect yourself.
Will 400 degrees kill mold in my grill?
400 degrees will kill mold in your grill however you only need to heat your grill to 250 degrees (F) for a minimum of 15 minimums before you cook on it.
Final Thoughts on Grill Mold
Opening your grill after summer and finding mold is a real event killer.
The last thing you want is your guests to see you cleaning your moldy grill.
Especially when you have gone through the hard yards of preparing all the food for your guests.
It’s not hard to take the necessary steps to prevent mold build-up. I often get the kids to help me.
It’s a good opportunity to teach them a good life lesson.
Do you have a good way of cleaning that makes the job not so bad?
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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