If you are like me, you grill throughout the winter, but you neglect cleaning your grill’s exterior during those cold months. My trusty and much loved K900HS looks absolutely embarrassing by the time the Spring thaw comes. Since “How do I clean my grill?” is our most common customer service question, I thought I would share with you the steps and products I use to get the outside of my Kalamazoo looking new… well, if not new, at least looking good.
Step One: Shade the Grill
Make sure your grill is in the shade. This isn’t for your comfort. Because stainless steel gets quite hot in the sun, cleaners tend to evaporate or become sticky before they can do their job. If you use a free-standing Kalamazoo grill and can move it to a shaded area, get started there. Otherwise I suggest sheltering the grill with a market umbrella.
Step Two: Clean the Inside
There is no sense in getting the outside of your grill looking good only to dirty it up with ash and other debris blown around while cleaning the inside of your grill afterwards. Start inside first. Use a stainless steel wire brush to clean your cooking surface and warming rack. For Hybrid Fire grills, remove the cooking surface and brush off the hybrid drawers. Remove the drawers and brush the ash down the hopper into the cleanout bin. Empty the bin.
Step Three: Lightly Clean the Outside
I use an all-purpose cleaner like Simple Green and plenty of paper towels to remove the environmental dirt that has collected on the outside of the grill. This is just the first stage of cleaning the outside of your grill. Don’t worry about cutting through the stubborn grease and sauce deposits. That comes next using a more powerful degreaser.
Step Four: De-Grease and De-Gunk
I haven’t tried them all, but I’ve tried about a dozen of the grill cleaners on the market, and none of them have cut through the grease, soot and grunge better than Goo Gone Spray Gel. I use it all over the outside of the grill. If a stain is stubborn, I just leave the gel on a little longer before wiping. A bit of elbow grease is required for some areas. But Goo Gone will remove at least 90% of the soot and grease on the outside of my grill. I first use paper towels. Once the grill is mostly clean, I use a microfiber towel to remove the remaining Goo Gone. You can polish the grill using the microfiber cloth only, but you will definitely want to remove all of the Goo Gone residue. An alternative is to use stainless steel polish to shine the grill and remove the remaining Goo Gone. Try to avoid using stainless steel polish on the hood, however, as the heat will often turn the polish into a hazy film.
Step Five: Repair Scratches and Remove Remaining Stains
There are always a few stains left — usually burnt-on sauce or drippings of some kind, or a spot or two of soot on a hybrid model or unit with a smoker box. For these areas, it may be time for the last resort: refinishing the stainless steel. We offer a product that works very well for restoring the finish of your grill. Scratch-B-Gone removes both scratches and stains.
The Scratch-B-Gone kit includes an assortment of different abrasives along with an ergonomic handle and a lubricant that also blends the finish of the restored stainless steel with the area around it. The lubricant is rated to over 2,000°F, so you can use it on any part of the outside of your grill (when your grill is cool, of course). I was initially surprised to see the kit work so well as a cleaner, but it really does makes sense — you are basically “sanding” off the stain. The use of the proper pad plus the Scratch-B-Gone lubricant allows you to match the factory finish of the stainless steel.
Less surprising to me was the way the product can be used to remove scratches. After all, that is the name, right?
This also took about two minutes. Please keep in mind, Scratch-B-Gone is not a solution for cleaning your entire grill. It is suitable only for resolving isolated problem areas, but it is an outstanding product for those situations.
We hope these cleaning tips are helpful as you kick off the grilling season this Spring. Remember, now is a great time to change your electronic ignition system batteries, leak test your gas hoses and connections and treat yourself to some nice new grilling accessories.