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Cleaning Your Grill

Grilling season has arrived, and amateur grillmasters everywhere are gearing up for another summer of backyard barbecues and family dinners outside under the summer sun. But once you fire up that grill and cook your first hot dog of the season, your work is not quite done. Cleaning the grill after you have eaten makes it easier to prolong the life of your grill and ensure the foods you eat are safe to consume.

• Turn the grill off. Unless you own a charcoal grill, chances are your grill has dials that govern how hot the grill gets when cooking. Make sure these dials are turned to the off position before you start cleaning. If yours is a gas grill, disconnect the gas while wearing gloves to reduce your risk of accident or injury.

• Use the residual heat to make cleaning easier. The sooner you start cleaning the grill after you cook, the easier it might be to make the cooking surfaces sparkle. That's because the residual heat can make it easier to remove any leftover buildup from barbecue sauce or seasoning that stuck to the grill after you removed your food.

• Use a wire brush to clean the cooking grates. Wire brushes are ideal for cleaning cooking grates. Such brushes can quickly remove grease and food particles, saving grill owners the trouble of scrubbing away with traditional sponges. Once the wire brush's work is done, you can then clean the grill with a soapy sponge.

• Remove food that fell into the well. Food inevitably falls into the well of a grill no matter how skilled a grillmaster might be. If left to fester in the well, such foods can pose a safety risk and promote the growth of bacteria.

• Clean the remaining areas of the grill. Marinade, sauce or condiments may find their way onto areas of your grill, and if left unattended, such substances can make a grill very dirty over time. Remove these substances after each barbecue to keep your grill looking new through the summer.

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