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How To Clean Electric Smoker

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How To Clean Electric Smoker

Are you looking for tips on how to clean electric smokers? Cleaning your smoker is an important part of maintaining its performance and prolonging its lifespan. Over time, the buildup of grease and residue can affect the flavor of your food and even pose a fire hazard. However, cleaning an electric smoker can seem daunting if you’re not sure where to start. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to properly clean your electric smoker and keep it in top condition for your next backyard barbecue.

Why You Should Clean Your Electric Smoker

Cleaning your electric smoker regularly is important for several reasons. 

First, a dirty smoker can affect the flavor of your food. Built-up grease, ash, and smoke residue can impart a bitter, acrid flavor to your meat or vegetables. A clean smoker will allow the natural smoke flavor to shine through. 

Second, a dirty smoker is less efficient. Grease and ash buildup act as insulators, making the smoker work harder to maintain the proper temperature. This can reduce the smoker’s lifespan over time. A clean smoker can maintain consistent temperatures much more easily.

Finally, cleaning your electric smoker regularly is important from a safety standpoint. Excess grease and residue can increase the risk of flare-ups and even fire. Grease and grime also lead to creosote buildup, and too much creosote is a fire hazard. 

For the best performance, safety, and food flavor, it’s a good idea to thoroughly clean your electric smoker every 3-5 uses, or at least 2-3 times per year. Keeping your smoker clean and well-maintained will allow you to enjoy it for years to come.

How To Clean Electric Smoker

How To Clean Electric Smoker

Things You Will Need To Clean Your Electric Smoker

Here are some essential things you will need to clean your electric smoker:

Hot, soapy water – Dish soap or degreaser and hot water are very effective for cutting through grease and grime in an electric smoker. Use a degreaser for stubborn, built-on messes.

Scrub brushes – Have some sturdy scrub brushes in different sizes to brush off residues and stuck-on bits from the grates, drip tray, walls, and door seals. Abrasive scrub sponges can also help.

Razor/putty knife – Use a razor blade scraper or putty knife to scrape off baked-on grease and food remnants. Be very careful not to damage the smoker’s finish.

Aluminum foil – Place foil on the drip tray and grates to make cleanup easier next time. The foil can just be removed and replaced.

Baking soda – For stubborn stains and odors, make a baking soda paste and scrub with the paste using a brush. Rinse well with water.

Disposable gloves – Protect your hands from grime and residue by wearing gloves during the cleaning process. Throw the gloves away when done cleaning. 

Sealant (optional) – Apply a high-heat sealant or cooking spray to the grates after cleaning and drying them. This prevents buildup next use and food from sticking.

Drip tray liners (optional) – Use drip tray liners, and place them in the drip tray to simplify cleaning. Remove and replace the liner instead of scrubbing the tray.

Cleaning wipes (optional) – Cleaning wipes designed for smokers and grills can be very convenient for a quick wipe-down when you’re done smoking. Use them in combination with occasional deeper cleaning.

With the proper tools and supplies on hand, cleaning your electric smoker can be straightforward. Set aside a little time after several smoking sessions to keep your smoker fresh and like new.

How To Clean Electric Smoker – A Complete Guide

Cleaning your electric smoker is an essential part of keeping it in good condition and ensuring that it operates safely and efficiently. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you clean your electric smoker:

Step 1: Let the Electric Smoker Cool Down

Letting your electric smoker cool down completely before cleaning is the most important first step. An electric smoker that is still hot or even warm can cause serious burns, regardless of whether it is powered on or not. The following are reasons why you must let your electric smoker cool completely before attempting to clean it:

The internal walls of the smoker, grates, and drip tray can remain extremely hot for hours after use and cause painful burns. Never handle or touch any interior parts of a smoker that was recently used.  

High internal temperatures can cause damage to electronic smoker components and wiring. Attempting to clean a warm smoker may lead to permanent damage to the unit. Always unplug an electric smoker and allow it to fully cool.

Grease and grime loosened by a still-warm smoker can re-congeal as it cools, becoming more difficult to clean. It is most effective to clean once cooled because residues will wipe away more easily and completely.

Cleaning an electric smoker before it has fully cooled can lead to dents, scratches, and imperfections in the finish. The metal body and parts are more susceptible to damage when still warm. Handle components carefully once cooled to avoid cosmetic issues.

For safety, an electric smoker should always be disconnected from the power source before cleaning or handling in any way. Ensure the unit is unplugged and all heating elements have been switched off and cooled completely before starting to clean.

How To Clean Electric Smoker

How To Clean Electric Smoker

Step 2: Remove the Interior Components and Wash Them

After allowing the electric smoker to cool completely, the next step is to remove the interior components for cleaning. This includes the grates, drip tray, wood chip tray, and water pan. Here are the steps to clean the interior components:

Remove the grates and drip tray. The grates and drip tray typically get the dirtiest as grease and juices drip onto them during smoking. Pull these out and set them aside for cleaning.

Remove the chip tray and dispose of used wood chips. Empty and wipe down the wood chip tray. Dispose of any used wood chips and replace them with fresh chips for your next smoke.

Remove the water pan and dump out the remaining water. Take out the water pan and pour out any remaining water from the last smoke session. Rinse or wipe down the pan to remove residue before refilling with clean water for the next use.

Place foil on the drip tray (optional). For easier cleaning next time, place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of the drip tray to catch drippings. Replace the foil after one or two smokes.

Wash grates in hot, soapy water. Scrub both sides of the smoker grates with a degreaser and scrub brush to loosen stuck-on messes. For heavy buildup, soak the grates in soapy water before scrubbing clean.

Wipe down interior walls and door seals. Use hot, soapy water and scrub brushes, sponges, or steamer to loosen grease and smoke residue from the smoker walls, ceiling, floor, and door seals. Vacuum up excess ash in pellet grills. 

Rinse and dry all parts before reassembling. Rinse grates, drip tray, water pan, chip tray, and any tools used with clean water. Dry all parts with a towel before putting them back in the smoker. Leave the smoker door open to air out the interior. 

Apply high-heat sealant or oil (optional). Coat the grates in a high-temperature sealant, cooking spray, or oil. This protects against rust and prevents food from sticking during the next use.

Step 3: Clean out the Smoker Box

The smoker box is where wood chips are loaded to produce smoke in an electric smoker. It’s important to clean out the smoker box regularly to prevent excess smoke and choking the smoker, which can reduce temperature consistency and food flavor. Here are the steps to clean out an electric smoker’s smoker box:

Remove wood chips from the smoker box. After smoking, open the smoker box and empty out any used wood chips. Dispose of used chips in an airtight bag or container.

Vacuum out the smoker box and chimney (if applicable). For smokers with a vertical chimney over the chip box, use the crevice tool on your vacuum to suction out any debris from inside the chimney and smoker box housing.

Wipe down the smoker box with a degreaser or cleaning wipes. Clean all surfaces of the open smoker box, including sides, bottom, cover, or lid. Remove stuck-on grease and residue with a degreaser and scrub brush or scrub sponge.

Rinse the smoker box with water (if needed). For persistent stuck-on messes, rinse the entire smoker box with hot, soapy water. Ensure all areas are rinsed clean. Allow to air dry completely before re-filling with wood chips.

Apply high-heat sealant (optional). For easier cleaning next time, apply a coat of high-temperature cooking oil or spray to the surfaces of the smoker box before adding new wood chips. The sealant prevents buildup and sticking.

Add new wood chips. Fill your cleaned smoker box with fresh wood chips for your next smoking session. Do not overload the box, fill it according to your smoker’s recommendations.

Test chimney vent (if applicable). If your electric smoker has a chimney over the smoker box, test to ensure the vent is free of any blockages before the next use. Release any debris to maintain proper airflow and temperature control. 

How To Clean Electric Smoker

How To Clean Electric Smoker

Step 4: Brush the Grime out of the Interior Chamber

The interior chamber of an electric smoker, including the walls, ceiling, door, and seals, accumulates grease, smoke residue, and grime over time and use. It’s important to thoroughly brush out the interior to remove built-up messes for safety, efficiency, and the best-tasting smoked foods. Here are steps to brush out the interior chamber of your electric smoker:

Allow the smoker to cool completely. Always allow 6-12 hours for an electric smoker to cool down after use before cleaning or handling any internal components. Safety first!

Remove grates, drip tray, and smoker box before brushing the interior. Take out all removable parts from the smoker’s interior to allow for easy cleaning access. Clean these parts separately before reassembling. 

Use a degreaser to loosen stubborn buildup. For heavy grease and stuck-on messes inside the smoker, apply a degreaser according to directions and allow time to soften residues before brushing.

Scrub interior walls with abrasive scrub brushes. Use sturdy scrub brushes, abrasive scrub sponges, and scouring pads to loosen caked-on grease, smoke, and grime from the interior walls, ceiling, door seals, and door inside your smoker.

Pay attention to seals and corners. Ensure all crevices, corners, seals, gaskets, and seal areas inside the smoker are thoroughly scrubbed clean including behind the door, ceiling corners, and where walls meet. These areas collect buildup.

Vacuum up the remaining debris. After scrubbing the smoker interior, use the vacuum crevice tool to suction up any remaining loosened grease, grime, and residue from inside your smoker. 

Wipe down with hot, soapy water. As an optional step, you can wipe down the entire smoker interior with hot, soapy water or degreaser using sponges or cleaning rags to remove any remaining residue and leave your smoker fresh.

Rinse and dry before reassembly. Rinse away any dirt or remaining degreaser/cleaner from inside the smoker before drying all parts and reassembling your smoker. Leave the door open to allow the interior to air out. 

Step 5: Wipe Down the Interior of the Cooking Chamber

After brushing out the interior of your electric smoker to remove built-up grime and residue, wipe down the cooking chamber to leave all surfaces clean and fresh. Wiping down the interior of the smoker is an important final step for safety, performance, and food flavor. Here are the steps:

Allow the smoker to cool completely and remove all interior parts. Make sure your smoker has cooled for at least 6-12 hours after use with no remaining hot spots before cleaning the interior. Take out grates, drip pan, chip tray, water pan, etc.

Apply degreaser to stuck-on residue (if needed). For persistent stuck-on grease or grime remaining after brushing the interior, apply a degreaser and let it sit before wiping it clean with water. Follow the directions on the degreaser product.  

Wipe the interior with hot, soapy water. Using sponges, cleaning rags, or scrub brushes dipped in hot, soapy water or a degreaser solution, thoroughly wipe down the interior walls, ceiling, seals, and door of your smoker to remove remaining grease and residue.

Rinse with water and dry with a towel. If using a degreaser solution, be sure to rinse the interior with fresh water to remove all chemicals before drying with clean towels. Allow all surfaces to air dry completely.

Inspect and test the door seal. Carefully wipe around and clean the entire smoker door seal. Check the seal for any damage or wear and replace it if needed before the next use. Test that the door is properly sealed to ensure temperature control.  

Leave the door open to ventilate. After the interior surfaces have been wiped clean and dried, leave your smoker door open for at least 30 minutes to ventilate and remove any chemical odors before use or storage. 

Apply cooking spray or oil (optional). For easier cleaning next time, apply a coat of high-heat cooking oil or spray to the interior surfaces of your smoker before reassembly. This forms a protective barrier against buildup.

How To Clean Electric Smoker

How To Clean Electric Smoker

Step 6: Clean the Glass Door of the Electric Smoker

Many electric smokers feature a glass door to allow viewing of the smoking process without opening the door. The glass door gets dirty over time with buildup from grease, smoke, and grime. It’s important to clean the glass door to maintain the safe use of your electric smoker and clear viewing. Here are the steps to clean the glass door on your electric smoker:

Allow the smoker to cool completely. As always, wait 6-12 hours after smoking to allow all parts of the smoker to cool before attempting to clean or handle any components.

Remove excess debris. Use a razor blade scraper or putty knife to gently scrape off any chunks of burnt residue stuck to the glass door. Be very careful not to scratch the glass surface. 

Apply degreaser or glass cleaner. Spray the glass door with a degreaser, glass cooktop cleaner, or a commercial oven/grill glass cleaner according to directions. Allow time for the product to soften baked-on messes before wiping.

Use an abrasive scrub sponge or steel wool. For stubborn stuck-on residue on the glass, gently scrub using fine-grade steel wool (grade #0000) or an abrasive scrub sponge in small circular motions to loosen the mess from the glass door surface.  

Wipe with hot, soapy water. Use a sponge or damp cleaning cloth dipped in hot, soapy water to wipe down the entire glass door surface and remove all grease and grime. Scrub any remaining stuck spots.

Rinse and dry the glass with lint-free towels. Rinse away any remaining degreaser or mess from the glass door with clean water. Dry the glass using lint-free cloths or paper towels to prevent water spots.  

Apply glass sealant (optional). Apply a protective coating of high-temperature glass sealant or cooking spray to the glass door for easier cleaning next time. Reapply the sealant every few smokes.

Leave the door open to ventilate. After cleaning the glass door, leave your smoker door propped open for at least 30 minutes to vent fumes before sealing the smoker or the next use.  

Step 7: Clean the Meat Probe and the Thermostat

The meat probe thermometer and smoker thermostat help monitor and control temperatures for accurate, consistent cooking in your electric smoker. It’s important to clean these components regularly to ensure proper temperature readings and control. Here are steps for cleaning the meat probe and smoker thermostat: 

Meat Probe Thermometer

Remove the probe from the smoker port after each use. Unplug the meat probe thermometer display or transmitter and remove the temperature probe from the smoker probe port after smoking. Allow all parts to cool.

Clean the temperature probe with hot, soapy water. Use a sponge or scrub brush dipped in hot, soapy water to thoroughly wipe down the entire temperature probe, including the cord, probe tip, and handle. Remove any stuck-on debris.

Rinse and dry completely. Rinse the temperature probe and cord with clean water to remove any remaining soap residue or stuck bits. Dry all parts with a towel before storing. 

Check the probe for damage before the next use. Examine the temperature probe for any splits, frays, or damage in the cord and probe. Replace the probe thermometer if damage is detected before using it again.  

Test and calibrate (if needed). Before the next smoking session, test your meat probe thermometer in boiling water to ensure an accurate 212 F reading. Calibrate the probe if the reading is off according to product directions.

Smoker Thermostat

Unplug the smoker and allow it to cool completely. Wait 6-12 hours after smoking for all parts of the electric smoker to cool down before handling or cleaning the thermostat. Safety first!

Gently wipe down the smoker thermostat. Carefully wipe down the exterior of the smoker thermostat using a damp cloth or cleaning wipes to remove any debris. Avoid submerging the thermostat in liquid.  

Check thermostat probes and connections. Ensure the thermostat probe inside your smoker and all wiring connections are clear of damage or debris which could impact temperature readings and control. Clear away any residue and test connections. 

Test and calibrate the thermostat (if needed). Before the next smoking session, power on your smoker and test that the thermostat is reading room temperature accurately. Calibrate the thermostat if the reading seems off according to product directions to ensure proper temperature control.  

Step 8: Clean the Exterior of the Electric Smoker

The exterior of your electric smoker accumulates spills, splatters, grime, and rust over time and use. It’s important to clean the smoker exterior to maintain its appearance, prevent permanent damage and keep your deck or patio clear. Here are steps to clean the exterior of your electric smoker:

Allow the smoker to cool completely. Wait at least 6-12 hours after smoking for all parts of the electric smoker, including the exterior, to cool down before handling or cleaning.

Wipe down the exterior with a degreaser. Spray a degreaser or commercial grill/smoker cleaner on stuck-on spills and splatters according to directions. Allow time for the product to soften residue before wiping it clean with a damp cloth or sponge. 

Use abrasive tools for stuck residue. For burned-on drips or splatters, gently scrub in small circles using abrasive scrub sponges, steel wool, or abrasive cleaning pads with a degreaser. Rinse well when done scrubbing. 

Wash the exterior with dish soap and water. For a deep clean, wash the entire smoker exterior using hot, soapy dish soap and water with a sponge, cleaning rag, or scrub brush. Scrub any remaining stuck spots and rinse clean with water. 

Rinse and dry the exterior completely. Ensure all degreaser and soapy residue has been rinsed from the smoker exterior using fresh water. Dry all surfaces with a towel to prevent water spots. Allow any unrinsed areas to air dry completely. 

Apply protective sealant (optional). Apply a coat of high-heat grill sealant, cooking spray, or waterproofing sealant to the smoker’s exterior. This protects against future sticking and rusting. Reapply periodically.

Cover or move the smoker (if needed). For storage, cover your smoker to protect the exterior from the elements or move to a sheltered location. Move the smoker a safe distance away from buildings or cover ventilation openings according to manufacturer guidelines before covering. 

Treat rust and repaint (if needed). For surface rust on the smoker exterior, sand lightly and treat with a rust inhibitor primer. Repaint the smoker with high-temperature grill paint to match your smoker’s color. Rust issues should be addressed to prevent permanent damage.

Step 9: Dry Everything

After cleaning all parts of your electric smoker, everything must be completely dry before storage or the next use. Remaining moisture can lead to rust, bacterial growth, and damage. Here are steps to ensure everything is fully dry:

Air dry smoker interior. Leave the smoker door open for at least 30-60 minutes to allow the interior walls, seals, thermostat, and any rinsed surfaces to air dry completely. You can also wipe down the interior with clean towels to speed up drying. 

Dry removable parts before returning. Scrubbed parts like grates, trays, pans, and racks should be dried completely with towels before putting them back into the smoker. Do not return damp parts to the smoker’s interior.

Dry smoker exterior and lid. Wipe down the entire smoker exterior and lid using clean towels, cloths, or paper towels to remove moisture. Pay attention to any tight spots or crevices where water may collect. Allow any unwiped areas to air dry completely.

Dry temperature probes and wires. Carefully wipe down the meat probe thermometer cord and probe as well as the smoker thermostat probe and any exposed wires with a towel to remove excess moisture before storing.

Ensure the lid seal is dry. Carefully wipe down the smoker lid seal with a towel to remove any remaining moisture. Check that the seal is fully dry to ensure proper sealing before the next use or storage.

Move the smoker to a dry location (if needed). If the smoker is kept outside during cleaning, move it to a covered shelter or dry area out of direct sunlight as soon as cleaning is done. This prevents re-wetting and allows complete air drying. 

Apply protective coating (optional). Apply a heat-resistant cooking oil or sealant to all interior parts and surfaces before storage. This protects from excess moisture and prevents rusting during periods of non-use. Reapply periodically.  

Cover or move for storage (if needed). For long-term storage between uses, cover your electric smoker to protect it from elements, or move to a covered storage area. Ensure the smoker is completely dry first to prevent trapped moisture under the cover.

Step 10: Reassemble the Parts

Once all parts of your electric smoker have been cleaned and dried, the final step is to reassemble everything before storage or next use. Reassembling your smoker properly ensures all parts are ready for your next smoking session. Here are the steps to reassemble your electric smoker after cleaning:

Replace smoker grates and trays. Return the grates, chip tray, drip tray, water pan, and any other removable trays or racks to your smoker. Ensure all parts are completely dry before putting them back in.

Attach temperature probes. Re-attach the meat probe temperature probe to the inside of the smoker chamber in the proper port. Check the smoker thermostat probe is securely in place and the wiring is clear of damage. 

Fill the chip tray and water pan. Add fresh wood chips to the chip tray and fill the water pan with clean water or sand for your next smoking session. Do not fill if storing the smoker between uses. 

Close up the smoker and seal the door. Ensure all interior parts are properly in place and close up your smoker door completely. Test that the door is sealing properly for temperature control. 

Plug in the remote meat probe (if applicable). For a remote meat probe thermometer with a transmitter and receiver, plug in the transmitter to power on the probe for your next use. Unplug both units for storage between uses. 

Perform a test run (optional). For the best performance at your next smoking session, performing a test run on your smoker before adding food can help ensure all parts are functioning properly after cleaning and reassembly. Power on the smoker and check for proper heating and smoke.

Move to storage area or cover (if needed). If storing your electric smoker between uses, move it to a suitable covered shelter or storage area out of the elements according to the owner’s manual guidelines. Covering the smoker will also help protect your investment. 

How Often Do I Need to Clean My Electric Smoker?

How often you need to clean your electric smoker depends on how frequently you use it. As a general rule:

After 2-3 smoking sessions: Do a basic clean including wiping down the interior, cleaning the glass door, emptying the grease tray and chip tray, and wiping exterior surfaces. This basic clean prevents excess buildup and residue.

After 5-10 smokes: Perform a deep cleaning including cleaning all interior parts like grates, trays, and racks, scrubbing the interior chamber, cleaning the smoker box and chimney if applicable, cleaning probes and thermostats, wiping down all surfaces and airing out the smoker. 

At least 1-2 times per season: Do an intensive cleaning at the end of the smoking season or after extended periods of non-use including all steps for a deep cleaning plus treating any rust, repainting if needed, testing all parts for damage and proper function, drying and covering or storing the smoker.  

For gas or charcoal smokers: Perform ash removal and empty grease and residue from the bottom of the smoker chamber every 2-3 uses. Not cleaning out ashes and grease regularly can become a fire hazard. Dispose of ashes properly according to instructions.

As needed: Check your smoker owner’s manual for specifics on cleaning frequency. Some smokers require more frequent cleaning and maintenance than others based on design and components. It’s best to follow the guidelines in your product documentation. 

While cleaning your electric smoker regularly requires time and effort, it pays off by keeping your smoker in peak working condition, preventing temperature control issues, rust, and damage. 

Frequent cleaning also produces better smoke and food flavor by removing excess buildup. For the occasional user, follow the minimum cleaning guidelines but avoid going longer than 10 smoking sessions without a deep clean for safety and performance.

How To Clean Electric Smoker Before First Use

Before using your new electric smoker for the first time, it’s important to clean it thoroughly. This removes any dust, debris, or oils remaining from the manufacturing and shipping process. Cleaning your smoker before first use helps prevent strange smells or tastes in your first batch of smoked food. Here are the steps to clean an electric smoker before first use:

Remove all interior parts. Take out grates, trays, racks, chip boxes, grease trays, pans, and probes. Wash all removable parts with hot, soapy water and abrasive sponges or cloth to remove packaging residue and oils. Rinse and dry completely before reinstalling.  

Wipe down interior surfaces. Use hot, soapy water and a degreaser to wipe down the interior chamber including the ceiling, walls, seals, gaskets, door, and window. Use abrasive sponges or scrubbers for stuck spots. Rinse with water and wipe clean.  

Clean the glass door. Spray the smoker glass door with a commercial oven glass cleaner or degreaser and wipe clean using abrasive sponges and paper towels or cloths. Remove any stickers or residue from the glass. 

Scrub chimney tubes and vents. For smokers with chimney vents or stacks, use a chimney brush and scrub the inside of the tubes to remove any debris. Vacuum out any residue from the chimney tube bases inside the smoker.  

Wipe down exterior surfaces. Use hot, soapy water and degreaser to wash the entire smoker exterior and lid. Scrub any stuck spots or spills and rinse clean with water. Dry all surfaces to prevent rusting. 

Replace probes and test functions. Put back temperature probes, meat probes, and any other probes in the proper smoker ports. Plug in and turn on your smoker to test that all parts are working including the thermostat. Ensure proper temperature control before first use.

Apply oil or sealant (optional). Coat the interior chamber, trays, grates, racks, and exterior with vegetable or canola oil for rust protection. Or apply a high-heat grill sealant for easier cleaning next time.  

Follow the initial seasoning steps. Before smoking food for the first time, follow the instructions in your smoker manual to properly season the smoker. Seasoning fills in the pores of the metal and prevents strange tastes in your first batch of smoked food. 

Thoroughly cleaning a new electric smoker before using it the first time and properly seasoning it helps prevent any off-tastes or odors and prepares it for smoking delicious food. Take the time to clean your new smoker inside and out and your patience will be rewarded.

How To Prevent Mold In Electric Smokers

There are a few steps you can take to prevent mold growth in your electric smoker:

Clean your smoker regularly. Perform a deep clean of your electric smoker at least once a season or every 10-15 smokes. Clean the interior chamber, grates, trays, seals, and all parts. Scrub away any built-up grime where mold can grow.

Dry your smoker completely. After cleaning your smoker or using it, dry all parts including the interior chamber. Leaving an electric smoker damp promotes mold growth. You can towel dry or air dry with the door open.

Apply a protective coating. Coat the interior of your smoker including grates and trays with vegetable or canola oil, smoker sealant, or wax to prevent rust and mold. The coating creates a protective barrier. Reapply periodically, especially after cleaning. 

Ensure proper ventilation. Keep your electric smoker in a well-ventilated area and avoid tightly confined spaces. Lack of airflow prevents moisture from escaping, creating ideal conditions for mold.

Use mold inhibitor spray. For persistent mold issues in your smoker, use a commercial mold inhibitor or disinfectant spray according to directions to treat current mold and prevent regrowth. Spray down all interior parts, seals, and any areas where you see mold.

Store the smoker in a dry spot. When your smoker is not in use, store it in a dry spot protected from the elements. Storing in a damp or humid area promotes mold growth even when the smoker is not in active use. Move to a covered shelter or under a tarp/cover.

Clean the water pan and grease tray. Empty and wash the water pan, grease tray, ash pan, and any other part that can collect moisture and residue after every 2-3 smokes. Not cleaning these parts regularly leads to excess moisture buildup and mold. 

Calibrate thermostat (if needed). Ensure your smoker thermostat is properly reading and controlling temperatures. A faulty thermostat that runs too cool or lacks control can contribute to excess moisture in the smoker, facilitating mold growth. Calibrate or replace the thermostat if issues are detected.

How to Clean Electric Smoker With Mold

If you notice mold growth in your electric smoker, it’s important to thoroughly clean it before using it again. Here are the steps to clean an electric smoker with mold:

Unplug the smoker and allow it to cool. Unplug your electric smoker and wait several hours for all parts to cool to room temperature before cleaning.

Remove all interior parts. Take out grates, trays, racks, pans, chip trays, and grease trays. Wash all parts with detergent and hot, soapy water. Scrub away any visible mold using abrasive sponges or scrubbers. Rinse and dry completely.

Clean glass door and seals. Remove any mold from the smoker glass door, seals, and gaskets using scrub sponges, abrasive pads, and mold remover or disinfectant. The door and seals are prime areas for mold growth and must be cleaned thoroughly. 

Scrub interior walls and ceiling. Scrub the entire inside of the smoker ceiling, walls, trim, hinges, vents, and any other areas where you see mold. Use a commercial mold remover or disinfecting cleaner along with abrasive tools. Rinse with water after scrubbing. 

Replace chimney parts (if applicable). For smokers with chimney vents or chimney tubes leading outside, replace these parts if mold is present before the next use. Mold spores can enter the chimney tubes and get into your smoker’s interior. Replacement parts should be cleaned before installation. 

Treat lingering mold and odors. For persistent mold or musty odors in your smoker after cleaning, treat the interior chamber and parts with white vinegar. Let set for 30 minutes, then rinse with water. The vinegar helps prevent future mold and kills odors. 

Apply sealant (optional). Apply a mold inhibitor sealant or cooking spray to all interior parts before reassembly. This helps protect against future mold growth after cleaning. You can also use nutrient-deprived spray for longer protection.

Reassemble, test, and season. Put all cleaned and dried parts back into your smoker. Plug in the smoker to ensure all parts are in working order. Turn on the smoker and run it without chips to burn off any remaining residue. Season before next use per product directions. 

Improve ventilation. Mold grows in warm, damp environments. Improve ventilation for your smoker storage area and run an exhaust fan. Make airflow improvements to your smoker if possible to prevent future mold issues.

Thoroughly cleaning an electric smoker with mold removes existing growth and helps prevent it from coming back. Take the necessary steps after any mold is detected to ensure all parts are properly cleaned before smoking food again. Improved ventilation and prevention tips will help reduce mold risks long term.

How To Maintain Electric Smoker After Cleaning

To keep your electric smoker in top working condition after cleaning, perform regular maintenance and follow these tips:

Apply protective coating. Coat the interior of your smoker including grates and trays with vegetable or canola oil, smoker sealant, or wax to prevent rust and buildup. Reapply periodically, especially after cleaning. 

Test thermostat and probes. Ensure your smoker thermostat and probes are reading accurately and controlling temperatures properly. Calibrate or replace any damaged components to maintain precision temperature control.

Inspect parts for damage. Check grates, trays, racks, and other removable parts for dents, rust, or damage after cleaning and repair or replace as needed. Damaged parts reduce performance and longevity. 

Store in a dry area. When not in use, store your electric smoker in a dry, covered area away from the elements. Storing in a damp area promotes mold, rust, and damage even when the smoker is not actively being used. 

Cover for protection (optional). Use a weather-resistant cover, tarp, or shelter to protect your smoker from rain, snow, and sun exposure during periods of non-use or storage. Ensure the smoker is dry first before covering it to prevent trapped moisture.

Season periodically. Run your electric smoker empty at a low temperature with wood chips to produce seasoned smoke. Season the smoker for 3-6 hours every few months when not in frequent use. Seasoning prevents strange odors and a stale smoke taste. 

Check power connections. Ensure all cords, power connections, and wiring leading to your electric smoker are clear of damage before each use. Frayed or damaged power cables and connections can become a fire hazard or prevent smokers from operating properly.

Perform test runs. Before using your electric smoker after extended periods of storage or non-use, perform a test run without food to ensure all parts are working properly. Check for proper heating, smoke and monitor temperature control.

Keep vents and chimneys clear. For smokers with chimney vents, stacks, or chimney tubes, keep these parts clear of debris and buildup. Clogged vents and chimneys prevent proper airflow, temperature control, and smoke exhaust.

Follow recommended guidelines. Refer to your electric smoker owner’s manual for specific maintenance, care, and usage guidelines to keep the warranty valid and ensure safe operation. Follow all recommendations for the best results.

Properly maintaining your electric smoker after cleaning and between uses guarantees the best performance, lifespan, and delicious smoked foods. While maintenance requires ongoing effort, catching any issues early and preventative care adds up to many years of happy, hassle-free smoking sessions to come. Maintain your smoker for a lifetime of use.

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About author
As the founder and chief editor of Scills Grill, I'm a self-proclaimed BBQ nut. I love cooking outdoors over live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I use various grills, smokers, and wood-fired ovens to produce epic food. Peter Cobbetts is the president and founder of Scills Grill, with over 15 years' experience in barbecue. He's an exceptional pitmaster and grill expert who specializes in smoking briskets, pork shoulders - using charcoal, wood or propane grills/smokers - as well as reviewing kitchen appliances such as grills, smokers etc., having tried out almost every model available on the market.
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