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Foolproof Guide To Keep Rats And Mice Out Of Your BBQ Grill

Hosting a fun and delicious barbecue party is one of the best ways to enjoy a summer afternoon. But your cooking plans could be interrupted by some unwelcome guests inside your grill. You may open up the lid to the havoc that a handful of rats and mice can wreak. How do you keep rats and mice out of your barbecue so that you can safely grill some delicious food?

The best way to keep rodents out of your grill is by keeping the grill clean, using a quality barbecue cover and storing it indoors. Traps can also be effective, but using poison is unsafe. Before using a rodent infested grill, it is vital to remove any rodent droppings and thoroughly clean the grill.

Obviously, identifying a rodent infestation in your grill is only the first step. You still need to figure out how to eliminate the pest problem and then get your grill back into business. Plus, you need to know what other pests you may need to keep an eye out for. So, keep reading and I’ll give you the information you need.

Why do barbecues attract rats and mice

If it seems like rats and mice love crawling into your barbecue and hanging out, you aren’t alone. But why is it that they suddenly seem to flock to your barbecue even if you’ve never had a rodent problem before? Well, there are a couple simple reasons why a barbecue is a popular place for rats and mice to get into.

The first is that rats and mice smell the food remnants in your grill. Rodents have keen noses and spend most of their time sniffing around for food. Eventually, they follow the scent and track down those bits of food, grease and charred meat that often remain in your grill after cooking a meal. That’s a dream come true for mice and rats.

Rats and mice also use barbecues as shelters during cold months of the year. Your grill is their salvation, offering protection from snow, rain and cold. Plus, they get a buffet to help feed them while they hunker down. Sure, grills are great places for mice to nest, but it isn’t so great for you.

3 Foolproof ways to keep rodents out of your grill

There are some steps that you can take to make sure that your grill stays clean and free of rodents. Rather than waiting for rats to show up, it’s important that you take steps to prevent rodents from getting into your barbecue in the first place. Once rodents know your grill is a fine home, they will likely return even if your grill is clean.

Use a quality BBQ grill cover

A good barbecue cover can protect your grill from rodents. Blocking the easy paths into your grill is a good way to keep them away. However, it is important that the barbecue cover you use is of good quality. Not all grill covers are equally effective at keeping rodents out. Some materials will be easy for rodents to chew through and a floppy cover won’t even discourage rodents from entering. Keep in mind, that even the best grill cover won’t be 100 percent impenetrable.

Make sure that the barbecue cover that you purchase is of high quality. Spending more money may not directly correlate with quality, but cheaper grill covers are often made with cheaper materials. Do your research about different materials and features to figure out which is the best option. If you purchase one online, check the comments to see if anyone has had problems with rodents or tearing.

Keep the grill clean

Another way to keep rodents out of your grill is to clean it regularly. Since mice and rats are attracted to the smell of food, be sure to clean food scraps from the grill after each use. Food scraps left behind for a length of time inevitably draw in rats and mice that sniff it out. Especially, if you allow food debris to build up. Cleaning up these food scraps and burning off any left over drippings leaves little incentive for rodents to hang out.

Store it indoors

The final foolproof way to keep rodents out of your grill is to store it indoors. Rats and mice roam around outside freely, but they have a harder time getting into buildings. If you put your grill inside a shed or garage between uses, you’ll eliminate the vast majority of rodents looking for an easy feast.

Keeping your grill inside is the best option and my preferred foolproof way to keep rats and mice from getting into it. I understand that storing a grill inside after each use is totally inconvenient. Especially, since grills are generally bulky and hard to move around. If you use your grill often, this could be a deal breaker. If you don’t use your grill often, it could still end up in your way when garage space is limited.

However, if using a quality barbecue cover and cleaning your grill regularly doesn’t prevent mice and rats from getting into it, keeping your grill indoors may be your only option.

Can you use traps or poison

One of the most common ways to deal with rats and mice is to use traps or poison, so you may find yourself wanting to use these common techniques to deal with the rodents getting into your grill. But are traps or poison really the best way to deal with rodents that are congregating in your grill?

You can certainly use to traps to kill or capture rats and mice in your grill. Yet, you may not want to use traps that are too extreme because they could cause a little blood to get in your grill. This can quickly ruin your appetite if you have to clean it up right before using the grill. Preventing the rats and mice from getting into the grill or being attracted to it is definitely more convenient than trapping them once they’re there. However, it is still a good option when things get bad.

Never use poison in or around your grill to kill rats and mice. It goes without saying that using poison on or near a grill is very unsafe and you risk contaminating your food.

Always use non-chemical pest control options so you don’t get you or your family sick. When covering, cleaning, or moving the grill won’t work and the infestation is small, skip the poison and opt for traps instead.

If the rat or mouse infestation is large, you may need to call professional pest control. Covering, cleaning, or moving the grill won’t help much, nor will traps. Additionally, a severe infestation can be dangerous. If there are large numbers of mice and rats then your grill is not the root cause of your problem. Work with a professional to eliminate the true cause then think about what to do with your grill.

How do you know if rats or mice have been in a BBQ

Rats and mice don’t stick around all the time, and just because your barbecue doesn’t have any rodents in it now doesn’t mean they weren’t there earlier. You need to be able to tell when rodents have been hanging out in your barbecue so that you can cook on a clean surface and keep your food sanitary. So, how do you tell when rats or mice have been in your grill?

Often times, there will be visible signs that rats or mice have been in your grill. You may see droppings at the bottom of your grill or on the grill grates themselves. Droppings on the ground around your grill also indicates that mice probably scampered in the grill as well. There could also be a strong smell of rat or mouse urine. In addition, look for nests in your grill if it has not been used in a long time. This is especially common during the winter when rats and mice are looking for a safe place to wait out the cold.

It is important to pay attention to the physical signs that rats or mice have been in your grill, but it may not always be that obvious. Keep an eye out to see if any rodents go near your grill between uses. If your area has a rodent problem, it may be necessary to thoroughly clean the grill between each use. Even if there aren’t any physical signs that a rodent has been there, you should definitely give your grill a thorough cleaning if it has been a long time since you’ve used it.

Is it safe to use a grill that has had rodents in it

You can absolutely use a grill that has had rodents in it, but only if you clean it thoroughly first. Rodents carry harmful bacteria and parasites that can be left behind along with droppings and urine. Since you are using a grill to cook food, don’t mess around and do a deep, sterilizing clean. After cleaning, turn on the grill to blast the grates with intense heat, which will kill off all bacteria.

How to disinfect a BBQ grill the right way

It is important to know how to clean your grill properly, since cleaning your grill is a good way to avoid attracting rodents. Be sure to follow all the steps to clean your grill properly. Each type of grill is different, but here are a few basic steps anyone can follow:

  1. Clear out droppings, nests, or any other loose debris from inside the grill. This may require you to hose down the inside or use a scraper.
  2. Heat up the grill until any debris left on the grates or inside the grill is burned.
  3. Let the grill cool down until it is safe to touch.
  4. Soak the grill grates in vinegar and baking soda to break down stuck-on debris.
  5. Scrub the grill grates with a stiff wire brush. Tough spots may require soap and water or grill cleaner.
  6. Wipe down the grates to clear away any bristles that may have come off.
  7. Rub the grate with vegetable oil to prevent food buildup and rust.
  8. For charcoal grills, clean the inside with mild dish soap and a steel brush. Make sure to clean out any ash that has built up in vents.
  9. For gas grills, remove the heat deflectors over the burners and wash with dish soap and water.
  10. Dry the inside/deflectors with a towel to prevent rust.
  11. Turn on your grill for a few minutes, allowing the heat to do a final sterilization.

Other pests to watch out for

Rats and mice are not the only pests that can ruin your barbecue party by hanging out in your grill. Ants, cockroaches, and raccoons are all attracted to the smell of food that a barbecue releases. Luckily, the methods to keep these other critters away are similar to the strategies you use on rats and mice. Cleaning the grill regularly should be your number one priority.


Ants are especially attracted to a grimy grill that hasn’t been cleaned in awhile. Plus, ants leave pheromone trails that lead other ants right back to your grill. If you have an ant infestation, you may need to use pesticides to get rid of them. Word to the wise, a leaking grease trap on your grill is like a beacon to nearby ant colonies. Dump your grease catch often.


Cockroaches will not only be attracted to the food, but they may also find a large, covered barbecue to be a perfect hiding place. A covered BBQ provides just enough moisture and insulation to keep things humid and roaches love that. If you have more of a cockroach problem than a mouse or rat problem, you may need to leave the cover off of the barbecue. However, you still need to keep your grill clean. And since roaches can get in places where mice can’t, it might be better to keep your grill outside so you don’t lure them into your garage or shed.


Raccoons are also attracted to the smell of food, but keeping them out of your grill is similar to keeping rats and mice out. Keep it covered, keep it clean, and move it inside if they pose a real problem. You may also need to move the grill away from trees, decks, or other structures here raccoons often like to take up residence.