How to Clean a Smoker, So It’s Shiny and Spotless

Smokers typically tend to get dirty after cooking in them. Read on to discover a simple step-by-step method to clean your electric smoker effectively to leave it spotless and conducive for use.
Bella is a skilled copywriter who holds a degree in English studies. Her lifelong passion for decor and interior design is evident in her work, which is inspired by the beau read more
Reviewed By
Expert Consultant
Tommy is an expert consultant at HouseAndBeyond, with extensive experience in home improvement. A master of all trades, he offers invaluable expertise in areas such as carpe read more
Last updated: August 18, 2023
HouseAndBeyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

A dirty smoker is not only an appalling sight for guests but also very unhygienic. This is why it is essential to clean your smoker for hygienic purposes and avoid producing tainted food. Smoking barbecue and meat typically leaves a mess behind, with dark smoke and sauce dripping all over the smoker.

This creates some cleaning problems that no one wants to do. Getting rid of these stains can be a tedious and challenging task, but with the proper steps, you will be able to clean your smoker till it is spotless.

Luckily, this article provides a detailed breakdown of how to clean a smoker perfectly with the right equipment.

Why Cleaning the Smoker Is Important

Cooking on your smoker will inevitably leave a mess that you will struggle to take care of. The last thing you want is your smoker looking like an eyesore to your guests or wearing out quickly.

Here are some benefits of cleaning your smoker.

Your safety

After some use, smokers get clogged up with smoke and dust. This may cause the appliance to fire up and potentially cause you harm while cooking suddenly. However, regular cleaning will leave your grill spotless and reduce the risk of random smoking and misfires.

It would also help to know how to grill safely Trusted Source How to Grill Safely | CDC Follow these food safety grilling tips – separate and chill meats, clean grill and tools, avoid cross contamination, check temperature of cooked meats, and refrigerate leftovers properly. to avoid causing any possible accident while cooking.

Extending the durability of a smoker

How to Clean a Smoker, So It's Shiny and Spotless
Properly cleaning a smoker will prevent rusting.

Cleaning your smoker leaves it in good condition for a very long time, allowing you to use it for many years. You will undoubtedly find some grease and sauce on your smoker after cooking. When left for a long time, these stains can cause your smoker tray and other metal parts to rust.

However, giving your smoker a good spring clean will keep it in good shape and firing without any issues in the long term. This is why you need to clean your smoker regularly to prevent it from rusting. Also, you must ensure that the grill surface is smoky and oily to protect the metal from getting rusted easily.


Having a smoker allows you to prepare all sorts of delicious meats, including barbeque. However, a dirty smoker could affect the cooking process of your grill. Most times, particles, grease, or old sauce could get stuck in the tray. Cooking on this messy surface can give your grilled meat an inedible taste and disappoint your guests.

After several uses, this cooking appliance would pick up food residue and grease that can affect future cooking processes.

But by cleaning your smoker with the right techniques, you will be able to get rid of old stains and reason it to maintain its signature flavor.

You can read on how to clean grill grates Trusted Source The Best Ways to Clean Grill Grates Learn about how to clean grill grates, including what to use to clean grill grates, when to clean grill grates, how to degrease grill grates, and more. to give your smoker a sparkling look. Now you can feel comfortable preparing a tasty barbecue without worrying about any unpleasant taste.

How Often Should I Clean My Smoker?

Ideally, cleaning your smoker after every 3 to 5 uses would be best to ensure it’s in proper condition. It’s often difficult getting around to cleaning your grill after several cooking processes.

Your smoker needs a good clean every once in a while to get the best cooking and taste experience. Even quality smokers such as the Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D require routine cleaning and maintenance every now and then.

Smoker Cleaning Guide

How to Clean a Smoker, So It's Shiny and Spotless
Proper cleaning of a smoker starts with good equipment.

Cleaning a smoker often looks a like an arduous task to any newbie. The sight of tray ashes, sauce, food residue, and grease discourages anyone looking to clean this appliance. However, cleaning your smoker is a skill you need to learn.

This process becomes a lot easier once you apply the proper steps and use the right equipment. After reading this guide, you will learn how to clean a smoker.

Here are some following steps and techniques that will help you clean your smoker properly.


It would help if you had specific tools and equipment to clean your smoker effectively till it’s neat and shiny enough for proper use. Here are the things you’ll need to carry out this process.

  • A bowl of warm soapy water for cleaning the grill.
  • Bristle-free grill brush for scraping surface
  • Rubber Gloves(heavy-duty gloves)
  • Tarp(cardboard or newspaper can suffice) to cover your working area.
  • Glass cleaners and sprayers for electric smokers with glass windows.
  • Stainless steel cleaner(optional)
  • A strong scouring pad, sponge, or cloth
  • A wooden or plastic grill scraper for scraping dirt and particles off the smoker.
  • Metal spatula or putty knife
  • Stainless steel cleaner- optional; for stainless steel smokers
  • Vegetable oil
  • Paper towels

Routine cleaning

You can give your smoker a regular clean from time to time after a few uses. This will keep it clean and free from clogged-up ashes or stains.

Due to the grilling and cooking, the heat from the smoke often causes the smoker to get darker after constant use. So, after cooking, remove the accumulated ashes to prevent them from rusting or clogging up the burner. For this process, you need to begin the cleaning from where the cooking takes place- inside the smoker. Then get a warm wet cloth to wipe off any oil stain or spill.

It is also imperative that you scrape off any grill grates on your smoker before use. Get a metal scraper with a putty knife to scrape any grease, food particles, or carbon stuck in the smoker. If you notice any stain or rust on the smoker, use the brush grill to clean it, then apply some vegetable oil to reason the smoker – which also works well to protect it from rusting.

Repeat this process regularly to give your smoker a clean look whenever you want to use it. This method is quite effective in maintaining the quality of your electric smoker.

Deep cleaning

Not many people are familiar with how to clean a smoker deep. However, this cleaning technique effectively removes stubborn stains that are often difficult to reach. After constant use without cleaning, there’s a good chance your smoker will gather a lot of ashes, particles, and grease.

If this is the case, your best option would be to deep clean the smoker to make it look spotless and good as new. This process typically involves removing the compartment of the smoker to give the inside a proper clean.

Smoker enclosure

For this process, you’ll need some rubber gloves and a large tarp to spread on the ground around your cleaning space. Alternatively, you could use some old newspapers or cardboard. Get some friends to help you place the smoker on this surface before you finally get to work.

Set aside some warm water and a cleaner you will use for cleaning. Once these items are ready, you can proceed to clean the outer part of the smoker. The smoker box doesn’t get quite much attention during cleaning. However, this is necessary as it keeps your smoker looking clean and hygienic for your use.

Grab a damp sponge or cloth for this process and carefully clean the outer part of the smoker. Also, if you discover the paint peeling off, you must fix it as soon as possible to prevent rust.

Then proceed to clean the smoker box- usually where the smoky flavor comes from when cooking. This area is often filled with ash, burnt meat, and wood chips residues. Always ensure that the smoker is no longer hot; otherwise, put the tray in a non-combustible container until the compartment is cool. Then you can scrape the ashes and discard them.

But if you’re an offset smoker then you empty the firebox and remove the grates to clear out the ashes to the bottom. Some of the best offset smokers make it a lot easier to perform this cleaning routine.

Cooking chamber

How to Clean a Smoker, So It's Shiny and Spotless
The cooking chamber will probably be the hardest-to-clean part of the smoker.

Before you begin this deep cleaning process, you must note that every compartment and part of the smoker needs proper cleaning. For this, you will need to bring out every removable piece inside your smoker for a good deep clean.

But before that, you should start by giving your smoker a clean burn— add some coal, light up the burner, and leave the vents open. This is a warm-up process that prepares your smoker before the proper cleaning process. Getting a smoker with an effective heating element, which is present even in more affordable models such as the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, will provide the right amount of heat for this initial step as well as for cooking purposes.

Once the smoker is completely cool, the next step is to bring out all the compartments inside, including the drip tray, smoker pans, racks, grates, and any other removable material. Put these items into dishwater or wash them with water and dish soap to get rid of any grease or stain.

The next step is using a metal scraper or putty knife to scrape out parts of the cooking chamber filled with food residue and rust particles. This is often one of the messiest parts of the smoker, so it would help start the scrapping process from the bottom, making it a lot easier to get the stains out.

If you find it difficult to remove some hard grease, use a metal scraper but be careful to avoid any damage.

Don’t forget to spread a tarp, cardboard, or newspaper on the surface of your working area. Use paper towels to wipe off the sign of oil or food leftovers. Ensure you get the corners of the cooking chamber, as you will likely find sticky particles and residue.

Once you’re done scrapping, get a brush or wooden stick to clear out these particles inside the chamber. Now you can clean the walls of the cooking chambers with a damp cloth or sponge and warm soapy water.

You might consider using a scouring pad instead for tough stains or grease. Once you’re done with this, ensure the interior is dry before you reassemble the materials and return them to the smoker chambers.

Temperature probe and electronics

When learning how to clean a pellet smoker, you must never forget to ensure the inside is dry. This is an essential factor to consider, especially when using pellet smokers. This is because the wiring, temperature probe, and electronics are easily susceptible to damage when wet or in contact with moisture.

We’ve provided a list of some of the best pellet smokers on the market  that are now well designed to offer protection around the electrical wirings and temperature probe.

Nonetheless, gently clean the temperature probe and other electronics inside the smoker with a towel(not damp) to avoid any damage. However, if the smoker has a glass window, use a sponge or wet cloth to clean the surface. Restore the smoker materials when the interior is cool.

How to Deal with Mold Inside the Smoker?

How to Clean a Smoker, So It's Shiny and Spotless

Smokers tend to develop molds due to humidity as soon as the weather begins to heat up, especially during the summer and spring. However, you can deal with this problem when your smoker gathers mold using the proper methods. This will help you know how to clean mold out of a smoker till it’s shiny and ready for use.

  • First, get rid of any porous material and charcoal before lighting up the burner.
  • Scraping or washing off the mold isn’t the best solution and could lead to an unpleasant reaction or irritation from inhaling this substance. So heat it as hot as possible until the mold or grease begins to melt.
  • Once the smoker cools, you can proceed to scrape, brush or scrub the grates and drip pan using a sponge and warm soapy water.

What If My Smoker Got Rusty?

Since most smokers are made of metal, it’s almost inevitable that it gets rusty at some point. Many people often struggle with how to clean a rusty electric smoker. Luckily you can still treat your smoker as soon as it starts forming rust.

The best solution to treating a rusty smoker is by applying chemicals labeled as food production products, such as vinegar, to remove rust from your appliance. Fire up your smoker as hot as possible to make the rust peel off easily. Then leave it to cool off completely before you scrape off the rusty parts using a metal scraper or scouring pad.

Apply some vegetable oil as a coating to preserve the smoker against rust.

This method works well for other grills like charcoal smokers. Once you’ve applied the vinegar and salt solution, wipe off the rust residue with a damp cloth. You can check out some of the best charcoal smokers made from quality metals which help to prevent rust.

Final Thoughts

All the smokers get dirty over time, and it’s not only about visuals. The dirt inside the smoker will affect your safety and the quality of your food, not to mention the durability of a smoker. These are all the reasons to know how to clean your smoker, be it an electric smoker or a classic charcoal one. We hope that this article has provided enough information on cleaning and maintaining your smoker.


How to Grill Safely | CDC
Follow these food safety grilling tips – separate and chill meats, clean grill and tools, avoid cross contamination, check temperature of cooked meats, and refrigerate leftovers properly.
The Best Ways to Clean Grill Grates
Learn about how to clean grill grates, including what to use to clean grill grates, when to clean grill grates, how to degrease grill grates, and more.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *