The better you take care of your Traeger grill, the better it will perform and the longer it will last.
In this guide, I’m going to tell you how to clean your Traeger grill after use.
Regularly cleaning your Traeger grill will keep it as good as new again, and keep you grilling for many years to come.
Table of Contents
- What Do You Need To Clean A Traeger Grill?
- Safety Precautions Before Cleaning A Traeger Grill
- How To Clean A Traeger Grill (Step-by-Step Guide)?
- How Often to Clean Traeger?
- Do You Have to Clean a Traeger Every Time?
- Why Is Cleaning a Traeger Grill Important?
- My Final Thoughts
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Do You Need To Clean A Traeger Grill?
To clean your Traeger grill you will need some simple tools, consumables, and PPE – most of which you’ll probably already have at home.
But, be warned!
Cleaning your grill can be messy. Your cleaning tools are likely to get dirty with grease, soot, and ash. So, I recommend buying a set of tools specifically for your grill if you can afford it.
- Grill brush.
- Scraper tool.
- Slim bottle-cleaning brush (optional).
- Cleaning cloths.
- Dishcloths (or heavy-duty paper towels).
- Bucket of fresh water (or garden hose).
- Empty pellet bucket.
- Dustpan & brush.
- Ash vacuum (optional but recommended).
- All-natural grill cleaning spray (Traeger grill cleaner or alternative).
- Drip tray liners (or aluminum foil).
- Grease bucket liners.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
- Heavy-duty cleaning gloves (I prefer nitrile).
- Protective eyewear.
- Apron (or old clothes you don’t mind getting dirty).
You’re also going to need plenty of elbow grease! So roll up your sleeves and let’s get stuck in.
Safety Precautions Before Cleaning A Traeger Grill
Before you start deep-cleaning your Traeger grill, you need to take some safety precautions.
- Make sure that your grill completes the recommended shutdown cycle.
- Allow your grill to cool down completely.
- Unplug the grill from the mains power socket.
- Put on your apron, to protect your clothes.
- Don your gloves, to protect your hands from chemicals and abrasion.
- Put on protective eyewear, to protect your eyes from dust, dirt, and splashes.
I was once a semiconductor manufacturing technician. Safety was priority no. 1 and drilled into us at every opportunity. I’ve seen firsthand how simple precautions like those above can go a long way.
How To Clean A Traeger Grill (Step-by-Step Guide)?
To spend less time cleaning, and more time chilling, clean your Traeger grill from top to bottom.
Simple gravity dictates that dirt falls from higher parts of the grill down onto lower areas. By working your way down, you won’t have to keep backtracking to clean the same thing twice.
Step 1: How To Clean Traeger Grill Chimney?
Start with the chimney, as it’s the highest part of the grill.
To clean the chimney, unscrew the cover. Give the cover a scrape with the scraper to remove loose dirt. Then give it a wipe with the cleaning cloth or paper towel. Dry the cover with a dishcloth or paper towel.
While the cover is off, you might want to wrap some paper towel around the spatula and then give the inside of the flue a scrub. Loose dirt will fall down the flue. You will vacuum that dirt up in step 6.
Finally, screw the chimney cover back on.
Step 2: How To Clean Traeger Grill Grates?
When grilling, food and grease will stick and burn into the grates. You definitely don’t want to put your food on dirty grates the next time you light up your grill. So, your grates need to be spotless! Start with the top grate and work your way down.
To loosen surface dirt, use your grill brush to give the topside of your grates a dry scrubbing in situ (when they’re still on the grill). Then flip each grate over on the grill, and scrub the underside.
Then, remove your grates from the grill and spray them with a generous amount of all-natural grill cleaning spray. Let the spray penetrate for a few minutes so it can dissolve the grease. Then, use your grill brush to give the grates a good wet scrubbing.
Once you’re satisfied that most of the grime has been lifted away, rinse the grates thoroughly with fresh water. Finally, dry them with a dishcloth or paper towel and set them aside.
Step 3: How To Clean Traeger Grill Drip Tray?
If you’ve been using drip tray liners or covering your drip tray with foil, then this step should be quite easy. Simply remove the used drip tray, or peel off the old foil and throw it away.
If your drip tray is greasy or dirty, you can use the grill cleaning spray to spruce it up. Then use your cleaning cloth or paper towel to remove any residue, before rinsing it with fresh water. Then, dry your drip tray with a dishcloth or paper towel and set it aside.
Tip: If you’re careful, and roll up the liner/foil when it’s still on the drip tray, you’ll trap most of the dirt inside. This will prevent the dirt from falling back into the grill or onto the ground.
Step 4: Remove the Top Heat Baffle
Remove the top heat baffle (also called the top heat deflector) – the one that sits above the firepot. It shouldn’t be too dirty (it’s shielded by the drip tray), but it could be covered in ash. A wipe-down with a dishcloth or paper towel should be sufficient to clean it.
Step 5: Gently Scrape Inside of Traeger Grill
At this stage in the cleaning process, you should use your scraper to gently scrape any loose dirt or soot-like residue off the inside of the lid, sides of the grill, and ledges that support the grills.
In the next step you’ll use the ash vacuum (or a dustpan and brush if you don’t have an ash vacuum) to suck this crap up, so don’t worry about doing that yet.
Step 6: Vacuum Inside of Traeger Grill
Now that you’re in the belly of the beast, you’ll likely notice a significant build-up of ash. Using the ash vacuum (or dustpan and brush), suck up (or sweep up) the ash and debris generated in steps 1 to 4.
Make sure you vacuum all the little troughs, grooves, and ledges.
Step 7: How To Clean Traeger Grill Firepot?
To clean the firepot, simply use the vacuum to suck up the ash, debris, and leftover pellets inside.
Tip: While the grates, drip tray, and baffle are out, inspect the inside of the grill for any noticeable issues such as missing wingnuts around the firepot, corrosion or holes, or anything suspicious. If you find any issues, it’s worth fixing them before reassembling your grill.
NOTE: DO NOT clean the RTD or Thermocouple unless you can see a buildup of grease that must be removed.
Step 8: Reassemble Heat Baffle
Now that the inside of the grill is clean, you can reposition the heat baffle.
Step 9: Reassemble Drip Tray
With your heat baffle in place, reposition the drip tray. Then, with your next grill in mind, place a fresh drip tray liner on top. Alternatively, use aluminum foil to cover it.
Step 10: Reassemble Grates
Fetch your clean grates and put them back into position on your grill, starting with the lower grate and finishing with the top grate.
Step 11: How To Clean Traeger Grease Bucket?
As is the case with the drip tray, lining your grease bucket (also called grease trap) with grease bucket liners will greatly reduce the workload after each grill.
If your grease bucket is dirty, you can use the spatula to scoop out the bulk of the grease. Then spray some grill cleaner into it, let it sit for a few minutes, and wipe the residue off with a cleaning cloth or paper towel. Then, dry the grease bucket with a dishcloth or paper towel and insert a fresh liner.
Tip: Check the grease spout (the hole through which the grease runs off) for grease build-up and clogging. Give it a wipe with a cleaning cloth or paper towel if required. If you have an old bottle cleaner brush (the slim kind), you might find it useful to poke it through the hole for a more thorough declogging.
Step 12: How To Clean Traeger Grill Hopper?
To clean the hopper, you’ll first want to empty the pellets. To do so, place an empty pellet bucket under the little trap door at the base of the hopper. Unscrew the trap door nut(s) and let the pellets fall into the bucket. Tighten the nut back up. Use the ash vacuum to suck up the sawdust at the base of the hopper. Refill the hopper with the pellets and top up if required.
Tip 1: DO NOT FORGET to tighten the trap door nut once the hopper is empty. if you do, the next time you go to fill the hopper your pellets will spill out onto the ground. It’s a mistake I’ve personally made. Once bitten, twice shy!
Tip 2: Inspect the augur for signs of wear or damage.
Step 13: How to Clean the Outside of A Traeger Grill?
Tip (I learned this the hard way):
While the outside of your grill is the first thing you see, it’s also the last thing you should clean. You’re going to be disassembling your grill, cleaning its parts, and then putting it back together again. In the process, you’ll create dust and splash about. The outside of your grill will probably get dirtier than it was BEFORE you started cleaning. Clean the exterior of your grill last so you don’t have to clean it twice!
The exterior should be sprayed with the grill cleaning spray and wiped down with a damp cleaning cloth or paper towel, to remove any residues. Finally, dry the exterior with a dry dishcloth (or paper towel), to prevent corrosion.
Tip: Be careful not to spray the electronics when cleaning the outside of your grill. Components such as the digital display, selection knob or buttons, power switch, probe port, or PID controller are sensitive to moisture. If they need cleaning, lightly spray some cleaner onto a dry cleaning cloth or paper towel, and wipe them down gently. Then remove any residue and dry, with a dishcloth or clean paper towel. Don’t spray anything onto your power cord or plug.
Step 14: Tidy Up
At this stage, your Traeger grill should be spotless and ready to go. But, you aren’t done yet. A good worker looks after his tools. It’s not much fun, but it has to be done.
- Wash your brushes, scraper, and spatula under warm water and with food-grade detergent.
- Bag and dispose of the old liners, foil, and dirty paper towels.
- Put your dirty cloths in the wash.
- Empty your ash vacuum and dispose of the cold ash safely.
- Store the grill cleaning spray away, out of the reach of children or animals.
- Tidy away leftover liners, ready for next time.
- Cover your grill.
How Often to Clean Traeger?
The frequency at which to clean your Traeger grill really depends on many factors.
Some grilling sessions last longer than others, and some foods are greasier or messier than others. So each grill will produce a different amount of dirt, ash, grease, etc. You need to use your common sense.
However, here’s a rough guide to how often you need to clean each component.
How Often To Clean Traeger Grill Grates?
The grill grates should be cleaned after every use. Because your grates are in direct contact with your food, you should aim to keep them as clean and hygienic as possible.
How Often To Clean Traeger Grill Drip Tray?
Traeger recommends cleaning your drip tray at least once every 2-3 grills or every 20 hours of cooking time. I prefer to change the drip tray liner when I clean the grill grates, after every grill. This gives my food a better taste and reduces the risk of grill fires.
How Often To Clean Traeger Grill Firepot?
Traeger recommends cleaning your firepot at least once every 2-3 grills or every 20 hours of cooking time. I also clean my firepot once every three to five grills, on average.
How Often To Clean Traeger Grill Grease Bucket?
Traeger recommends cleaning your grease bucket at least once every 2-3 grills or every 20 hours of cooking time. I prefer to clean my grease bucket after every grill so as to not attract rodents or insects with the grease.
Do You Have to Clean a Traeger Every Time?
You don’t have to give your Traeger grill a full deep-clean or spring clean after every single time you cook something on it. At a minimum, I recommend cleaning the grates, replacing the drip tray liner, and potentially replacing the grease bucket liner after every grill.
Why Is Cleaning a Traeger Grill Important?
Cleaning your Traeger will make it last longer, but that isn’t all. A clean Traeger will result in better-tasting food and a better overall experience. Finally, a clean and well-maintained grill is a safer grill. A clean grill is less likely to go on fire, or cause flare-ups.
My Final Thoughts
Cleaning your Traeger is pretty easy once you know what you need, what to clean, how to clean it, and in what order.
The benefits are better-tasting food, a longer-lasting grill, and increased safety.
Overall, the majority of the cleaning should happen after every two to three uses of the grill. However, there will be cases when more frequent cleaning is required.
With that being said, good luck mastering the flames!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use an Onion to Clean Traeger Grill Grates?
You can use an onion sliced in half to clean Traeger grill grates. Simply chop a large white onion in half, with the skin on. Then place it on the grill grates and use it to scrub the surface, as you would do with a sponge. Onions are a cheap and 100% natural alternative to cleaning spray. However, if your grates are very dirty and are covered with a lot of burnt grease and food, you may require something stronger (all-natural cleaning spray and grill brush).
How to Clean Traeger Grill Cover?
To clean your Trager grill cover you can rub it down with a mild detergent or soap and warm water. Then hang it out to dry.