How to clean electric smoker

Last Updated on: 23rd April 2023, 01:44 am

Electric smokers are the modern smokers that provide the fun of smoking while being comfortable to use.

However, they may become soiled after a few uses.

Most pitmasters get confused on how to clean an electric smoker.

To help them, we have put together this complete guide.

Let’s get started.

Why should you clean your electric smoker regularly?

Smoking is a fine art that requires all the contributing factors to be in constant equilibrium to smoke the meat effectively.

But at the same time, smoking is a complex process that involves various ingredients like meat, sugar, etc .

These ingredients can lead to the development of grease over time .

The grease can also develop from the oil used for seasoning.

This grease can affect the taste of food being cooked inside the smoker if not cleaned properly.

When a smoker is heated up without cleaning, the grease can burn and give the food a bad odour along with a bitter taste.

It can also damage the build of the smoker if it is not cleaned regularly.

So, even if you are using a good quality smoker, cleaning and maintenance are necessary for durability.

If the outer part of the smoker is not cleaned properly, then it can lead to the development of rust because it comes in direct contact with different environmental factors.

Rust is the major factor affecting the durability of a smoker.

There are hundreds of reasons for cleaning an electric smoker with mold or leftovers of previous smoking, but personal hygiene is at the top of the list.

Your guests won’t enjoy the taste of the food cooked in a messy smoker, even if you have given your best for the recipe.

How to clean electric smoker

Cleaning an electric smoker is an easy process if it is being used regularly.

If the smoker was stored for some time due to dust or mold development, then it will require some effort to clean.

You can follow this step-by-step guide to clean your electric smoker .

Gather the equipment

To clean the electric smoker, you may need a few things that are meant to be used during the cleaning process.

You should consider gathering this equipment beforehand to avoid panicking during the cleaning process.

  • You should consider wearing a pair of gloves during the cleaning process to avoid allergic reactions.
    The smoker might be contaminated with various pathogens which may cause allergies when they come in contact with the skin. So it is better to wear gloves.
  • Grilling brush or scraper: You’ll also need a brush or scraper to scrape away any sticky food or grease that won’t come off with water.
    You should consider buying a wood scrapper because metal scrapers can demage the build of a smoker.
  • Sponges: You should also have a couple of sponges on hand to clean the build up of smokers.
    Clothes can also be used to wipe the build, but it can cause scratches when used on glass windows or other parts like that.
  • Paper towels and newspaper: you will also have to buy some paper towels for cleaning.These can be used as a substitute if sponges are not available.
    Newspapers are used to cover the smoker’s surroundings so that they don’t contaminate the air during the cleaning process.
  • Apple vinegar is a good choice for disinfecting the infectious agents that might be present within the smoker box or firebox.
    You can also apply this in the cooking chamber for disinfection.
  • Glass cleaner: Glass cleaner can be used to clean the glass window of your electric smoker. But if you can’t find one, then it’s perfectly fine.
    You can clean the glass window with paper towels or sponges.
  • You should also consider finding a damp cloth to clean the build of the smoker . These can be used if other types of components like sponges or paper towels are not available.

Prepare your electric smoker

After you are done with collecting the equipment needed for cleaning your smoker, you can proceed further to cleaning your smoker.

First of all, you will have to prepare your smoker for cleaning to avoid spreading a mess.

You should consider covering the work space and surrounding areas of your smoker with newspaper to make sure they don’t get contaminated with the grease or other chemicals during cleaning.

You can place a single sheet of newspaper to just cover the work space.

After that, you should consider dumping out the wood chunks or charcoal that were left unused during the last smoking process.

We will have to clean the smoker box during the process, so it’s better to set the stage beforehand.

You should wait for the smoker to cool down if it has been used recently.

If it was stored somewhere where air flow was poor, then you should consider heating it before cleaning to kill mold or other contaminants that might have developed during the storage period.

Cleaning the inside of your smoker

After you have prepared your smoker for cleaning, it’s time to start the cleaning process.

It’s better to start cleaning while the smoker is still warm because the grease or other contaminants might have loosened during the heating.

But it shouldn’t be so that you might end up injuring yourself while cleaning the smoker.

A good rule of thumb is that it should be cold enough that you can touch it without any damage and hot enough to keep the grease soft.

While starting the cleaning process, you should keep in mind that the inner wall of the smoker can blacken over time and will not return to its original silver color again .

So you should not scrape the black portion of the wall.

In fact, it’s better for cooking in a smoker because it can reflect the infrared waves and help with heat retention for a longer period of time.

You can clean it by wiping it with soapy water, but scraping these parts should be avoided at all cost because it can demage the build of the smoker.

After that, you should consider removing the removable parts from the smoker for better cleaning.

You should consider following your manufacturer’s manual to remember which part is being removed from which portion.

Cleaning the cooking grates

Cooking grates are the main part of the electric smoker where all the cooking takes place.

But grease can build up on them over time due to the oil used for seasoning and different sauces used along with the food.

This grease can affect the flavor of the food that is being smoked in the smoker.

In addition , it can also burn during the smoking process and mix with the food, which is why the food cooked in such a smoker may not be good for your health.

To start cleaning, you should first remove them from the smoker for better cleaning.

These can be easy to come off the smoker, but you should consider following the user manual to avoid demaging the smoker.

After removing them from the smoker, you should wipe them with soapy water to loosen the debris that has accumulated on the surface of the grates.

After it has loosened, you can use the scarper to remove the grease and other debris from the cooking grates .

After you are done cleaning the cooking grates, you should wait for them to dry before placing them back inside the smoker again.

If you are facing trouble cleaning the grease from cooking grates, then consider applying oil to the grates prior to use.

Cleaning the ash pan

After cleaning the cooking grates, it’s now time to clean the ash pan of the smoker.

It’s a simple process and doesn’t require much effort.

  1. You should dump out the ash that has accumulated in the ash pan and remove any wood chunks that are left unused.
  2. After it has been emptied, you can then fill it with a solution of water and vinegar mixed together in equal volume and leave it for a few minutes.
  3. After 3-5 minutes, remove the solution from the ash pan and wipe it with damp clothes to clean it properly.

Cleaning the cooking chamber

After cleaning all the removable parts of the smoking chamber, it’s time to clean the smoking chamber itself.

It can be a bit difficult due to the accumulation of various debris left from food and grease built up from oil.

You will have to scrape the debris and grease off the inner chamber manually.

You should scrape the debris carefully without demaging the build of the smoker.

It is recommended to avoid using a metal scraper, which can damage the build of a smoker.

After scarping, you should apply soapy water onto the surface of the inner side of the smoker and wipe it with damp clothes or sponges.

You should then transfer the debris from the smoking chamber onto a sheet with a brush for easy cleaning.

After the debris has been removed from the smoking chamber , you should wipe down the chamber again to make sure it’s cleaned properly.

A great cooking chamber cleaning hack is to place an aluminum foil in the cooking chamber that can be easily removed the next time.

Cleaning the outside of the smoker

After the inside of the smoker has been cleaned properly, you can move forward to cleaning the outer side of the smoker.

It doesn’t involve any complex parts , so it is relatively easier to clean than the inner side.

You should clean the outside of the smoker by wiping it down with a wet cloth or sponge.

You should also consider checking the seal of the lid.

Usually grease builds up here, which should be cleaned by scraping and then wiping down with clothes.

After you are done cleaning the surface of the smoker, it’s time to clean the glass window of the smoker that is used to see the cooking meat without opening the lid.

It’s a delicate part and needs to be cleaned carefully without scratching the glass.

You should preferably use glass cleaner to clean the glass window because if you use other cleaners, you might end up scratching the glass, which means you will not be able to see meat .

Alternatively, you can use paper towels or newspaper for this purpose.

Cleaning the thermometer

After cleaning the inside of the smoker, you should also consider cleaning the thermometer to make sure it lasts longer.

You should just wipe it down with a damp cloth but avoid placing it under running tap water.

It should be cleaned without demaging its appearance.

Assemble again

After you are done with cleaning, it’s time to assemble the smoker again to start smoking your food once again.

You should make sure that all the parts are dried completely before assembling the smoker to avoid the development of mold.

How often you need to clean your electric smoker?

As per general rule, you should clean your electric smoker after every smoking session. it will make your smoker durable and more effective .

in addition you should also consider cleaning thoroughly and seasoning it after every 3-5 uses.

the reason is that grease can develop in the cooking chamber of smoker over time. it can lead to fire and rust development .

after every 3-5 uses , you should clean your smoker by removing grease buildup , ash and other debris from smoker .

How do you season an electric smoker after cleaning?

Seasoning an electric smoker after cleaning it makes the smoker durable. when seasoning your electric smoker, you need to apply a high burn point oil like canola oil on the interior side of smoker and heat up the smoker to higher temperatures for 3-4 hours.

by seasoning your smoker you can get rid of grease build up inside the smoker, when the temperature is kept constant at higher level, then the grease will burn off.

in addition, it also helps to get rid of any chemicals used during manufacturing.


Cleaning an offset smoker is a simple process, but you need to follow a set of guidelines to avoid demaging your build.

You can’t go wrong with cleaning your smoker if you follow our guide.

We hope that you have found this helpful.

If you have enjoyed this article ,then make sure to check our article on How to make electric smoker hotter

Jakob miller