How To Clean An Electric Smoker – Cleaning Solutions & Tips

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If you are an owner of an electric smoker, there must be a question in your mind that how to clean an electric smoker. In addition to cleaning there is also another question as to how often should you clean it. It’s necessary to clean an electric smoker, but before cleaning it, you should know how it works.

You might be thinking that cleaning will cost you more, then probably you’re wrong. There are a lot of cost-effective methods you can use to clean your electric smoker.

Although it’s a lengthy process but not difficult at all. The whole process will take almost 2-3 hours but it will be worth it because it is an essential process for your smoker.

How Often Should You Clean Your Electric Smoker?

You don’t need to wait for cleaning till your smoker turns into a nasty mess, instead, you have to preserve it in its best condition for further usage. As long as mess keep on accumulating in your smoker it will stop working eventually and it will take a lot of time to do its job.

To keep an electric smoker in better condition, it’s important to clean it thoroughly after every 3 to 5 uses. If you want to increase the lifespan of your smoker, then definitely you’ll need to take care of it.

Though people dread the cleaning process, but it saves your money as well. You won’t be worried to buy a new unit every other day.

Check out the list of top-rated electric smokers of 2021

Equipment Required For Cleaning Electric Smoker

  • A bucket of warm soapy water
  • Dish detergent
  • A plastic scraper or spatula
  • A soft bristle brush
  • Sponge or cloths
  • Paper towels
  • An old piece of vinyl or tarp
  • Dark-colored apron
  • Grill cleaner
  • Heavy-duty rubber gloves
  • Absorbent cloth
  • Vegetable oil and tongs

Different Cleaning Solutions You Can Use

The cleaning process will cost you nothing. Instead, it will help you to save money that you’re going to spend otherwise for its maintenance. Most of the materials and products you can use for this purpose are already present in your kitchen.

Apple Cider Vinegar:

Almost every kitchen has apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is made of acids that are capable of cleaning out all greases or clouds of dust in just minutes.  All you have to do is to take equal quantities of vinegar and warm water.

For better results, you can spray the mixture on the chamber. After spraying wait for at least 5 minutes to vinegar start working then clean the chamber with a cloth. The results will be astonishing.

Oven Cleaner:

Oven cleaners are available in the market to clean stubborn dust but you’ll have to invest in its budget. Use it to clean and wipe out the exterior of the smoker only. Avoid its regular usage because these solutions’ fumes can linger.

Soapy Water:

A soapy water solution is best to do the job safely. Apply the mixture and wipe it to get the required results. For easy application transfer that soapy mixture into a spray bottle.

Steps To Clean An Electric Smoker

Cleaning Removable Components:

If you’ve just finished using an electric smoker, let it cool down for a few minutes. It is easy to clean an electric smoker when it’s just been used. Debris and buildup materials will be warm enough and easier to remove before getting hard.

Cooling Down Your Smoker:

  • If you haven’t used a smoker, heat it to its maximum temperature for about an hour and allow it to cool down.
  • When your electric smoker will be cool, it’d be easier to touch all of its parts and components without getting burned.

Removing Detachable Components:

  •  Most of the electric smokers include a water pan, drip tray, and racks for collecting debris and grease from use.
  • Soak those detachable components in the sink inside soapy water. It will help loosen grease and debris for easy cleaning.

Cleaning Grill or Racks:

Most of the time oils and grease collect on racks and become rancid over time. Such rancid grease on racks can spoil the taste of your food. That’s why it’s necessary to clean the racks thoroughly.

Wash All Components:

  • A scouring sponge or scrub can be used to remove stubborn debris.
  • If the size of racks, water pan, and drip tray is small, then they can easily be placed in the dishwasher.
  • Cleaning the Interior of Electric Smoker

Dump Ash Out of the Smoker Box:

  • A smoker box is a place where wood chips are put during the smoking process for enhancing flavor.
  • In case of warm ash, dump it inside of the non-combustible container to avoid fire. Dump it in a regular trash tray if the ash is cold.
  • Wipe your smoker box with the help of a damp cloth.

Place Tarp under Smoker:

  • Spread a tarp under your smoker to collect debris. A plastic scraper or soft brush will be helpful to clean big chunks of debris from the floor and walls.
  • Scrape the inside of the smoker carefully because you’ve to remove debris only.
  • Don’t overlook far corners in smoking chambers and clean them too.

Wipe it All:

  • Wipe down the walls and inside surface of the unit and don’t forget to squeeze the sponge to remove water out of it. Then wipe to remove grease buildup.
  • With each usage, the walls of the smoker get darker and this is called seasoning. So, don’t ever scrub them to clean otherwise you’ll damage your unit.
  • This darkening will prevent rusting and keep your smoker working efficiently. It will also enhance the efficiency of the infrared cooking method.
  • Avoid usage of caustic soda or other such types of harsh materials for cleaning purposes, as they also turn the taste of your food nasty.

Note: An Aluminum foil will be really helpful in reducing the amount of cleaning required.

Clean the Glass Door of Smoker:

  • It is better to clean the glass door because debris also gathers there and it becomes really difficult to see the food inside the smoker.
  • A scouring pad can be used to scrub the door with warm and soapy water. Rinse the door after cleaning.
  • You can also use grill cleaner spray to loosen the grease.

Note: It is recommended to avoid using a cloth to clean the glass door of the smoker as it can cause streaks. It’d be better to use paper towels or newspaper.

Cleaning The Exterior of Electric Smoker

Most modern electric smokers are equipped with thermometers nowadays on the outside of the smoker to keep the track of the temperature inside the chamber. So, you’ll have to take extra care while cleaning the exterior of your smoker.

  • Use a damp cloth to clean the outside of your smoker. Whether you’re using your smoker or not, dust gathers on it and it’s very important to clean it.
  • To keep it shining, wipe the top, sides, front, and back of your smoker.
  • Clean the door seal too because grease can also be present on the door seal to affect the functionality of your smoker.

Note: Never place smoker directly under the running water or immerse or soak it in water.

Dry it Well:

  • Dry the inside and outside of your smoker with the help of a big wad of paper towels. You can also use the newspaper for this purpose.
  • Open the unit to air dry for at least an hour and also dry the water pan, drip tray, and racks.
  • Dry it completely to avoid rusting and molding due to dampness.

Put Back All Components:

Now as you’ve cleaned the whole unit, place all of its components at their right position and then store it at a place once it has dried fully.

What To Do When Your Smoker Has Caught Mold?

If you’re not going to use the unit for a few months then there is a high risk of mold growth. It feels really weird to see mold growth inside your smoker when you open it to grill a feast.

For cleaning it, check it out if there is any residue left that needed to clean. If there’s, clean it before doing anything else.

You can also heat your smoker because molds hate heat. Keep your smoker to heat up at a high temperature for about 40 minutes. This is the easiest and time-saving method to disinfect your smoker from developing molds.

When you are done burning the mold, clean your smoker thoroughly with a cloth.

Important Tips To Maintain Electric Smoker

It is good to wash the removable parts of the smoker after every use to clean the whole smoker efficiently and quickly.

To prevent molds, keep your electric smoker indoors.

Avoid using a cloth to clean the glass door of the smoker as it can cause streaks. It’d be better to use paper towels or newspaper.

Use an approved cleaning agent to clean different areas of your smoker to get deep cleaning.

It’s important to maintain the cleanliness of your smoker to enhance its capability, efficiency, and lifespan. It will also prevent your smoker from building mold and rust.

Precautionary Measures:

Though cleaning an electric smoker isn’t a hectic task but there are a few safety and precautionary measures you can follow to do it properly.

Cool Down The Chamber:

The first and most important thing to do before starting the cleaning process is to cool down the chamber after you’ve cooked your food. In this way, you won’t expose yourself to an accident by getting burned.

Always Use Gloves:

It’s good to use gloves during cleaning the unit as it can save your hand from burning or getting hurt. Your hands can also get scratched during scraping so it’d be better to wear gloves and save yourself from any hassle.

Avoid Using Abrasive Materials:

To extend the lifespan of your electric smoker, make sure that you’re not going to use any abrasive material or chemical for the cleaning purpose because there are some chemicals and materials that can damage the steel body of the chamber from both outside & inside. So avoiding such things will be beneficial for you.

Oil The Racks

It’s recommended by most professionals to brush the oil on racks before putting meat on cooking racks to prevent the meat from sticking on the racks. If you won’t put oil on racks, it will create difficulty in detaching meat from the surface. In the end, the whole process will be hard for you to do.

Use A Protective Cover

If you’ve planned to place your electric smoker outdoor then there’s a possibility that your unit will get dirty soon. You can buy an extra protective cover to put on top of your smoker. It will keep your smoker free from dirt and you don’t get the headache of cleaning it regularly.

Dry All Parts Completely

After thoroughly cleaning the whole unit and all of its parts, let them dry completely before putting them inside otherwise rusting process can start because wherever slight moisture is present rusting takes place. So it’d be wise to dry everything properly.

Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs

How to season your new electric smoker?

Preheat your smoker at 275 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature for up to 2-3 hours. It will help to evaporate all undesirable manufacturing containments, chemicals, and oils. Using a smoker without seasoning can spoil the taste of your food.

How can you clean an old smoky electric smoker?

Pour a bit of water and some lemon or vinegar on the drip pan and turn on the smoker. After building up condensation, turn off the smoker. Scrub it with the help of thick pair of barbecue gloves and a wire brush.

Can you use oven cleaner to clean the electric smoker?

It isn’t recommended to clean the interior of the smoker with oven cleaner but you can use it to clean its surface by avoiding its contact with food.

How can you clean moldy smokers?

Heat your smoker to burn all greasy materials and molds. Then allow it to cool for some time and scrub every inch of it with brush and water pressure. Wash everything and then dry it to get the required result.

Samy is an industrial engineer and fellow meat enthusiast. He works as a graphic designer and content manager for

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