Can You Hose Down A BBQ Grill?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Yes, you can hose down a BBQ grill to remove debris, but more cleaning may be needed for a thorough job.
  • Before hosing, remove grates and grease pan to clean separately. Scrape grates with a grill brush.
  • When hosing, avoid water on hot coals as it makes lye which can burn and corrode metal.
  • For deep cleans, use hot soapy water, degreaser, and scrub pads in addition to hosing.
  • Gas and charcoal grills have slightly different hose-down procedures. Follow manufacturer’s directions.
  • Let grill fully dry after hosing before storing or covering to prevent moisture damage.


For many people, firing up the barbecue grill is a beloved tradition of summertime. The smoky aroma of sizzling burgers and veggies on the grill is synonymous with fun gatherings and outdoor feasts. But after the party winds down, the task of cleaning the grimy grill looms. Can simply hosing down the grill be an easy shortcut for cleaning? Or does a barbeque grill need more elbow grease to make it spotless?

This article will comprehensively evaluate the pros and cons of hosing down a BBQ grill. It covers key considerations for both gas and charcoal grills to optimize cleaning while avoiding damage. You’ll learn the best practices for rinsing away debris versus when scrubbing is required. Helpful tips are provided so you can efficiently clean and maintain your grill.

Discovering the dos and don’ts of hosing down your barbeque grill will save you time and effort. More importantly, it ensures your grill stays in prime condition for outdoor cooking season after season. A properly cleaned grill not only looks great for your next backyard cookout, but it cooks more evenly and prevents potential safety issues. Let’s explore how to keep your BBQ in top shape!

Can You Use a Hose to Clean a BBQ Grill??

Yes, you can use a hose to clean a BBQ grill. Spraying down a grill with water helps quickly rinse away food particles, sauces, grease drippings, soot, ash, and other debris. Simply spraying the grill can remove surface dirt faster than hand scrubbing.

However, hosing alone is often not sufficient for a deep clean. Lingering grease, stubborn stuck-on bits of food, and built up grime usually require some manual scrubbing. The grill’s small nooks and crannies don’t get fully blasted out by a hose. For a sparkling clean grill and to prevent rancid grease odors, plan to pair hosing with other cleaning methods.

What Should You Do Before You Hose Down Your Grill?

Remove The Grates and Grease Tray

The grill grates and grease tray or drip pan are best cleaned separately from the body of the grill. So remove them first before hosing down the large grill housing. Cleaning the grates thoroughly by hand ensures no chunks of burnt food remain. The grease tray should be periodically emptied of fat drippings and given a deep scrub in soapy water.

Scrape Off Debris

Use a grill brush with stiff metal or nylon bristles to vigorously brush the grill’s grate tops and undersides. Hold the grates at an angle and scrape in the direction of the grill lines to remove stubborn baked-on food. A balled up piece of aluminum foil can also dislodge debris between grill lines. Removing large food bits before hosing prevents clogging the drain hole.

Sweep Out Ashes

For charcoal grills, ashes and small debris can be swept out with a small whisk broom before hosing. Scoop out the majority of ashes from the bottom bowl first. Then sweep side-to-side to direct all ash through the grill’s drain hole. Getting rid of ashes provides better hose access inside the grill.

Tips for Hosing Down a Gas Grill

Gas grills offer convenience, even heating, and simple cleanup. Follow this advice to safely hose down your gas BBQ:

  • Wait for the grill to fully cool after use before spraying with water.
  • Disconnect the propane tank before hosing. Do not spray water directly at burners.
  • Use gentle pressure and keep the nozzle at least 5 inches away to avoid damaging parts.
  • Remove burners and hose them separately if needed. Wipe with a cloth after rinsing.
  • Avoid soaking electrical components like igniters, which can short circuit.
  • Plug the drain hole before spraying inside the grill bottom to allow water to dissolve debris.
  • Rinse grates, grease tray, and flavorizer bars in a basin of warm soapy water as needed.
  • Dry all components fully before reassembling and storing the grill.

Technique for Hosing a Charcoal Grill

Here are the proper steps for rinsing a charcoal grill:

  • Allow the grill to completely cool after cooking.
  • Remove ashes and pre-scrape grates. Dispose of coal and ashes safely.
  • Use a hose on a high pressure setting from less than 6 inches away.
  • Spray inside the bowl bottom and lid to rinse away debris.
  • Rinse vents, handles, exterior surfaces. Avoid electrical components.
  • Plug the bottom drain hole to fill grill interior with water and dissolve buildup.
  • Dump out dirty water, then do a final rinse. Wipe down painted metal with a soft cloth.
  • Allow all components to fully air dry before storing.

Caution: Don’t Hose Hot Coals

It’s important never to spray water directly onto hot charcoal, whether in a grill or fire pit. The coal will rapidly expand and pop when hit by water. More critically, pouring water on hot ashes produces lye. This alkaline solution of water and ash leaches out of the coals. Lye can cause skin burns and irritate eyes and lungs. When inhaled, it also poses a lung damage risk. Lye corrodes and rusts metal grill parts over time. For safety, only hose down a completely cooled grill.

Is Hosing Down Effective for Deep Cleaning a Grill?

For periodic deep cleaning, hosing alone is insufficient for tackling built-up grease and carbonized grime. Here are some methods to deeply clean a grill when hosing doesn’t cut it:

  • Degreasing solutions – Spray on foamy oven or grill degreasers and let soak before scrubbing and rinsing. Follow product directions carefully.
  • Protective gloves – Don thick rubber gloves to allow handling hot soapy water and scrubbing without burning hands.
  • Hot soapy water – Dissolve grease and soften food debris by deglazing grill surfaces with hot sudsy water before scrubbing.
  • Plastic scrapers – Use a thick plastic paint scraper to peel off stubborn stuck-on bits after deglazing.
  • Steel wool pads – Lightly scour tougher spots with fine grade steel wool saturated in hot soapy water.
  • Nylon bristle brushes – Scrub the grill rack undersides with a nylon bristle brush while grates soak in a water bath.
  • Baking soda – Make a paste of baking soda and water to gently clean and deodorize without scratching.

FAQs About Hosing Down Your Grill

How often should you hose down your grill?

You should hose down a gas or charcoal grill after every 3-5 uses to remove grease and food debris. Hosing weekly or monthly helps prevent buildup. Deep clean 2-4 times per year or as needed.

Can you use soap when hosing down a grill?

Yes, you can use a mild dish soap diluted in the hose water to help clean a BBQ grill. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners. Make sure to rinse off all soap residue after cleaning.

Should you hose a grill while it is hot?

Never hose down a hot grill, especially one with hot coals or open flames. Always allow the grill to completely cool first to avoid burns or dangerous steam. Hosing hot coals produces toxic lye.

How do you clean grill grates with a hose?

Remove grates and spray them down. Use a grill brush to pre-scrape chunks. Soak grates in hot soapy water. Use a stainless scrub pad for stubborn spots. Rinse and dry grates fully before replacing in grill.

Can you hose down a grill indoors?

Outdoors is best for hosing down a grill to prevent water mess. If cleaning a small grill indoors, lay down towels and use very low pressure. Ensure electrical components don’t get wet.

Key Safety Tips for Hosing a Grill

Keep these precautions in mind when using a hose for grill cleaning:

  • Always let the grill fully cool first before hosing down.
  • Never spray water into a hot grill with ashes, charcoal, or open flames.
  • Check manufacturer’s instructions for hosing guidance for your specific grill model.
  • Avoid soaking any electrical components and connections.
  • Dry the entire grill thoroughly before storing, covering, or using again.
  • Wear eye protection when using high pressure to avoid debris and water in eyes.
  • Use caution on wet surfaces, which may become slippery.


While a quick hosing can help rinse your BBQ grill after use, the most effective cleaning involves following up with manual scrubbing, degreasing, and elbow grease on heavily soiled areas. Allowing the grill to cool entirely before introducing water prevents safety hazards like lye formation. With some moderate effort, routinely hosing down and deep cleaning your grill will keep it looking and functioning its best for years of perfectly seared steaks and juicy burgers.

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