Get your grill nice and clean before the season's first barbecue - HMS National, Inc.

Get your grill nice and clean before the season's first barbecue

May 2, 2014

For many, Memorial Day is the unofficial start to the summer season. This annual day of observance is filled with parades and ceremonies for those who served, visits to the beach in the afternoon and finished off by a backyard barbecue by day's end.

Unfortunately, rare though they may be, grilling fires take place every summer, caused by inattention to what's cooking or poor maintenance of the grill itself. In fact, in 2011, fires in the U.S. caused more than $13 billion in property damage, some of which stemmed from grilling fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

One of the best ways to avoid a grilling incident is by ensuring that it's been properly cleaned. The following DIY tips from Real Simple magazine can get your grill ready for cooking in no time.

1. Make sure all knobs are off. The last thing you want to have happen while your hands are over the grill is for it to somehow catch fire. That's why you need to make sure that all the dials are in the off position and that the tank underneath grill is closed off. You may want to disconnect the propane tank completely to err on the side of caution.

2. Give grates a good scrubbing. If they can be detached, remove the grates from the grill and place them in warm water with dish soap. After allowing them to soak for a several minutes, give each a firm scrubbing with the grill brush, which can be bought separately or may have come with the grill when it was first purchased. Once all removable residue has been taken care of, wash it off manually with running water or a hose.

3. Clean the grill itself. There's plenty of juice, fat and oil droplets that accumulate over the average barbecue season. That's why you'll want to scrub the underside of the hood. To keep the heating elements protected, have them covered with aluminum foil. Do the same thing to the inner walls of the grill, then wipe everything down with a damp cloth or paper towel.

4. Check the exterior. The outside of the grill usually doesn't get nearly as dirty as interior. But if it looks like it could use some cleaning, an all-purpose cleaner should help eliminate surface stains.

5. Put everything back together. That's it. All you need to do now is put the grates back, re-attach the propane tank, and you're ready to go.

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.