Nothing says summer more than food cooked on the grill. However, uncovering your grill after a long winter can bring a few unwanted surprises — none worse than grill mold.
Yes, sealing your grill with a cover does protect it from rust, but mold is a different type of nightmare when compared to bacteria. If your grill surface has a warm, moist spot, mold will find its way there, even with limited airflow.
Some might be tempted to fire up the grill regardless, trusting the heat to kill the mold on all surfaces. However, this might not be wise. This post will tell you all you need to know about grill mold, answering the question: Can mold on a grill make you sick?
What Is Grill Mold?
Mold refers to fungi that grow in a multi-cellular, almost thread-like form. Often found in damp conditions with poor ventilation or high humidity, mold comes in different types, colours like white or black, smells, and textures.
What Causes Grill Mold?
Grill mold is usually brought on by storing a grill in a moist spot or under a grill cover. Keeping your bbq grill under a cover tends to trap moisture inside, creating the perfect environment for not only mold but rust as well.
Can Mold on a Grill Make You Sick?
Research shows that dirty grills, BBQs, and smokers contain a lot of bacteria. In fact, a British study found that the average grill contains twice as many germs as a toilet seat! This occurs when food particles are left to spoil on the grill and begin to grow mold. Though you can cook on a grill with mold, you should avoid doing so. A moldy bbq grill or smoker will make you sick because it gives off a toxic substance called mycotoxins. In addition, some types of grill molds can be harmful to humans, making you sick and can cause several diseases.
The symptoms can vary from mild to severe, depending on the person. Some of these symptoms include:
- Itchy nose and throat
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Coughing and wheezing
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Postnasal drip
- Dry, scaly skin
Besides the threat mold poses to your health, it can also taint your food’s flavour. After all, who wants to eat mold? Ugh.
Getting Rid of Mold
If you take your grill’s cover off and find it full of mold, there is no need to worry. There are steps you can take to get rid of the mold.
However, before getting started, ensure that you have the proper protection. The process of getting rid of mold releases a lot of spores in the air, and inhaling these mold spores can quickly make you get sick. Ensure that you wear your face mask (sealed tightly against the skin) throughout the cleaning process.
It is also wise to keep your family, especially children, away from your grill, at least until you have had an opportunity to burn off the grill mold and minimize mold exposure.
Once you have your mask on, proceed to follow the seven steps below:
- Remove porous materials: Remove any lava rocks, charcoal, ceramic briquettes, or other porous materials from your grill.
- Mix the grill cleaner: Make a mixture of baking soda and water, applying it to the grill grates using a basting brush. Try to avoid using chemicals. Sometimes high temperatures and these chemicals can affect the flavor of the meat or other
- Switch on the grill: Fire up your grill and use a decent amount of fuel to get the flames as hot as possible. The extreme heat will kill and burn the mold, along with any grease buildup.
- Leave it to cool: Once the fire has burnt down, let your grill cool.
- Scrub: Using wire brushes, pressure washers, or grill scrapers, scrub and scrape your grill. You could use elbow grease if you do not have access to pressure washers.
- Wash the grill: After scraping everything off, give your grill a thorough wash with hot, soapy water. Ensure that you thoroughly rinse the grill afterwards, especially if you used a wire brush since rogue wires can get caught on your grill grates.
- Switch on the grill once more: Finally, fire up your grill one more time to ensure that you eradicate any remaining mold, grease, moisture, and soap residue.
How Hot Should the Grill Be to Kill Mold?
Grill mold grows on food particles you leave behind on the grates or grease in the pan. To effectively get rid of mold, experts recommend raising your grill’s temperature to 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
As clear-cut as these steps might seem, we recommend always turning to BBQ cleaning experts in Toronto for the effective removal of your grill mold. They have the experience, expertise, and tools needed to get the job done right and safely.
How To Prevent Mold
Since your cover is a significant cause of mold, one way to prevent grill mold is to avoid using the lid or cover. Instead, consider storing your grill under a covered area or in a shed.
Another way to prevent mold from growing on your grill is to superheat the grill after cooking. Doing so will burn away all the food particles and grease left in the pan, inside the lid, or on the grate.
Superheating the grill will also help you dry it thoroughly, removing the moisture that promotes mold growth.
Super Heating Your Grill
Ideally, you should crank your grill’s temperature to its max and maintain this temperature for a while. Feel free to add fresh coals to the charcoal grill or set the gas burners to maximum to get your grill’s temperature to where it should be.
Once you have burnt off all the food particles built up on your grill, it is time to work on its interior. Grab a plastic putty knife and scrape away any excess charcoal, grease, and food buildup since they can be breeding grounds for mold.
After cleaning everything, the last step is to make sure your grill’s interior is as dry as possible. Once the interior is completely dry, you can cover it. Ensure that you open all your grill’s vents or take away side pieces that can expose the interior before putting the lid on the grill — this will allow any leftover moisture to escape.
Mold on your grill threatens to do more than dampen your grilling excitement and ruin your food’s taste — mold on your grill can make you sick. Fortunately, our high-heat barbecue grill cleaning can help.
Call our bbq mold remediation experts at 416-923-3300 or email [email protected] to learn more about our service and schedule an appointment with us today. We guarantee exceptional results.