Keep it Clean: How to Prevent Mold in Your Grill

Last Updated on April 13, 2021

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling,

passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

cleaning

Image Courtesy to Allison

When you buy a new grill, you’re probably thinking of all the succulent meats you can cook, and you probably aren’t thinking too much about mold. But mold is a major consideration and can pose health problems if you don’t treat it thoroughly and promptly.

Mold is caused by excess moisture that doesn’t have the opportunity to dry completely. Your grill cover is a significant culprit because it can trap moisture underneath, making your grill a breeding ground for mold

Don’t let epic grill sessions get marred by mold. Learn the right way to prevent it the first time so mold won’t be an issue on your grill ever again by doing two things: Ditch the cover and air it out.

1. What is Grill Mold?

Mold is a type of minuscule fungus that reproduces by spores. It can be green, white, black, orange, and purple and is incredibly tenacious, growing anywhere it finds moisture. Mold is harmless in small amounts. However, in large quantities, you can inhale the spores, which may cause health problems, especially if it’s black mold.

Even though mold is natural and mostly harmless, you need to know how to prevent mold in your grill. If you don’t keep your grill clean and, most importantly, dry, mold can flavor your meats and other grilled foods. 

There aren’t any particular types of mold that grow on grills; it’s any type that is attracted to humid areas. Grills are a perfect breeding ground for mold because these threadlike cellular structures love moist areas. Grease adds to this environment, making a grill irresistible to all types of mold.


2. How Does Mold Affect Your Grill?

At the very least, mold on your grill can make your food taste horrible. At its worst, it can make you sick with mold-induced asthma, allergic fungal sinusitis, or skin infections.

You know the telltale smell of mold, whether it’s when you lift the lid of your grill or open up an old suitcase full of damp clothes. You don’t want that smell to be the taste of everything you cook on your grill, which will happen if you use a moldy grill.

But realizing that you have mold growing in your grill doesn’t mean that you have to throw the whole thing away. Cleaning takes some elbow grease, which is the only type of grease that should be left in your grill by the time you’re done.


3. How Do You Get Rid of Mold on Your Grill?

If the mold has already infested your grill, you’ll need to remove all the disparate parts and clean them well. You’ll have to use different techniques depending on whether you have a gas or charcoal grill or a ceramic smoker. Any type of cooking device made of ceramic won’t stand up against a pressure washer, so avoid this tool.

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Step 1 - Mask Up

The most crucial step you take when dealing with mold is to protect your respiratory system. Use a mask and eye coverings to ensure that you don’t inhale any mold while cleaning it off your grill.

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Step 2 - Fire it Up 

Once you’ve gotten masked up, fire up your grill to a high setting for at least 15 minutes to burn off all the mold and spores. Let it cool entirely before disassembling it.

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Step 3 - Scrub Hard

Take all the parts out of your grill, discarding any briquettes, and lay the elements on newspapers. Scrub them with a grill brush or other excellent scouring agent and warm water and soap to get all of the mold and grease off.


If you’re having trouble with incredibly stubborn, stuck-on bits, soak the area with water and soap, and use a putty knife to scrape any residue free.

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Step 4 - Rinse and Dry

After you’ve scrubbed all the mold off all the parts of your girl, leave them on newspaper or a tarp to let them dry thoroughly, then reassemble.


If you can store your grill in a covered area, you can leave the cover off since it’s a primary reason that your grill becomes a humid mold-magnet in the first place. Once it’s dry, reassemble your grill with brand new briquettes or reconnect the propane tank.

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Step 5 - Fire it Up One More Time

When your grill is back together, fire it up to a high setting for another 15 minutes to burn off any remnants of mold, grease, or soap. Once it has cooled down again, leave any vents or valves open when you close the lid to let trapped moisture out.


Scrubbing your grill thoroughly shouldn’t just be a solution; it should also be a preventative measure. The easiest way to get rid of mold is to know how to prevent mold in your grill. The key is keeping it dry.


4. What Can You Do to Prevent Mold?

Prevention is the best way to maintain a clean grill. Making sure your grill isn’t a magnet for mold in the first place can keep it pristine all season long with an occasional scrub-down and thorough drying at least twice a year. 

The cover of your grill easily traps water, creating just the type of environment where mold loves to grow. If your grill cover seems damp or smells funny, turn it inside-out and scrub it clean with warm water and bleach, letting dry completely before reattaching.

If you don’t need a grill cover because you’re worried about mold growth, you can store your grill in a covered, well-ventilated area, like a shed. If you don’t have a shed or garage to store your grill in without a cover, you may have to use a cover, but try to use it sparingly. If the day is dry and sunny, take off the grill cover and let the grill air out for a while to dry out moisture.

If you live in a cold climate, you won’t have to worry about mold growth after the temperatures drop, but late spring and early autumn are prime times for mold growth. 

Another way to dissuade any mold spores from making your grill their home is to superheat your grill after you’ve gotten all the food off it for at least 10 minutes. This will burn off the grease and any remnants of food left on your grill.


Jim Bob

Jim Bob

Takeaway

If you’re worried about mold on your grill, take preventative measures by inspecting your grill cover and possibly doing away with it altogether if it does more harm than good. 

A good scrubbing and high heat can get rid of any offending mold so that you won’t unknowingly flavor your food or, worse, get sick because mold is a secret ingredient of every meal. While cleaning your grill takes some time, preventing mold altogether by keeping it dry and clean can provide a more enjoyable experience with your grill.

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