How to Prepare a Grill for Storage

To make sure all your gear is ready to go, you'll want to follow grill storage best practices.

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It’s important to know how to properly store your grill if you want it to remain in tip-top shape for years to come. Follow these tips for short- and long-term grill storage.

Everyday Grill Storage Tips

If you’re trying to find your grill’s permanent home for the summer. look for a clean outdoor space that’s flat and spacious. Place your grill several feet away from structures or greenery. Aim to create a safety zone that’s away from young children and pets, too.

If you’re a gas griller, take care to keep your propane tank cool. Store the tank in a shaded or covered area during the hottest times of the yea, as the tank should never get over 120 degrees.

After each grilling sesh, follow these rules for proper storage:

  • Clean the grill grates after each meal. To keep a clear distance, we prefer to use these long-handled tongs and a crumpled piece of aluminum foil.
  • If you’re using a gas grill, return knobs to an “off” position and close the gas tank by turning the knob clockwise. For charcoal grills, let the coals cool by closing the lid and shutting all vents. Never place hot coals in the garbage.
  • Do not try to move a hot grill. Gas and charcoal grills will remain hot for several hours after being used.
  • Collect all spatulas, meat thermometers, pans and other grilling accessories to be washed.
  • A grill cover can be a great way to protect your equipment from bad weather. Be sure your grill has cooled completely before covering.

Preparing Your Grill for Long-Term Storage

It’s essential to thoroughly clean your grill before you put it in storage—otherwise, mice and other critters may be attracted to the residual food and set up camp inside your grill. Follow these grill storage tips to ensure your grill is safe and secure all winter long.

Follow these steps to prep the interior your grill:

  1. Start by firing up your grill to a high temperature and letting it cook for 15 to 20 minutes. This will allow the heat to burn off any lingering food or grease, making clean-up easier. You can also put a tin of water on the grates to steam clean the interior, if you choose.
  2. Once the grill has cooled down a bit but is still warm, clean the inside with a grill stone ($6), scraping off any residue and wiping it out with a damp cloth. Psst! Here’s why we avoid wire grill brushes.
  3. Let the grill cool completely, then use soap and water to wash down the grates and interior. If your grates are particularly grimy, try soaking them in coffee for an hour.
  4. If you have a charcoal grill, empty and wash the ashtray—if any charcoal gets left behind, moisture can creep in and make it extremely hard to remove come spring. On a gas model, you’ll want to clean out the cook box and flavorizer bars.
  5. Finally, coat the grates with a high-heat oil ($4) to prevent them from rusting.

Once these steps are complete, use soapy water and a sponge or scouring pad to wash the exterior of your grill. Let it dry completely before taking any next steps. You may also want to inspect your grill for any cracks or other damage so you know what parts to order for the spring.

How to Store a Grill

Once your grill is spic and span, it’s time to put it into hibernation for the winter. You’ll want to invest in a heavy-duty grill cover ($29) to keep critters, dust and dirt from getting onto the appliance.

For gas grills, be sure to disconnect and remove the propane tank before putting the cover on. Propane tanks should be left outdoors—don’t worry, they can withstand temperatures as low as -50 degrees.

In general, it’s best to keep your grill indoors during the winter, whether that means putting it in your garage, shed or basement. This will reduce the chances of it getting rusty or moldy. However, if you don’t have a suitable indoor space, choose a spot that’s sheltered from the elements as much as possible.

Check-in Occasionally

If you’ve stored your grill properly, it should be just fine over the winter, but it never hurts to check-in. Once a month or so, lift up the cover and make sure no animals or bugs have made themselves at home in your grill.

On the off chance that you do find a mouse or two living in there, wear protective gloves and remove their nesting material. Disinfect the interior of the grill, then secure the cover again. You’ll also want to check in regularly to ensure the mice don’t try to move back in.

When you take the time to follow these grill storage steps, you’ll minimize the work you have to do come spring and even prolong the lifespan of your precious barbecue.

Ready to get grilling again? Read up on how to ready your grill for summer.

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Camryn Rabideau
Camryn is Taste of Home contributor who specializes in home décor, product reviews and general lifestyle content. She holds a degree in fashion merchandising from the University of Rhode Island and jumps at any opportunity to tap into her design expertise.