Use sandwich baskets at your next backyard grill party
Food Review: Sweet Baby Ray's Buffalo Sauce - Bachelor on the Cheap

Protecting your grill with a grill cover

By Mike Thayer

I'm a regular reader of smoking, grilling, bbq blogs and websites and lately I've come across some debate on whether or not you should cover your grill with a grill cover.

"Grill covers trap moisture and that can lead to mold," say some....

"Your grill will rust if you cover it, covers get wet in the rain and stay wet long after the rain stops" say others...

Both of those lines are complete horse manure, put out there by some grillers who just aren't thinking things through.

There is no debate, without question, grill covers prolong the life of your grill, helping to keep it clean, dry and the finish looking good.

Let's go back to that first anti-cover argument, "Grill covers trap moisture and that can lead to mold."


20190102_114216-1(1)I'm not eating anything the guy with the mold issue grills up, he's not properly maintaining his grill, let alone his grill cover.    Ashes need to be removed from the grill, grates cleaned, excess grit/grime removed, surfaces wiped down.   There is no way for any kind of mold to develop if your grill is properly maintained.  And the best thing you can do when it comes to grill covers is to apply a silicone water-guard and letting that dry before putting it into use.  Most grill covers of any quality when new, repel water.  But the sun and weather conditions will eventually wear that protection down.  Spraying that new cover right out of the box or bag with some silicone will greatly enhance the cover's ability to repel water.  A properly maintained cover REPELS water, it doesn't "trap" it.  Whoever thinks covers trap moisture, doesn't know how to properly maintain and use a grill cover, let alone store their grill when not in use.  NEVER cover a grill that's already wet, that should be a no brainer.  But if you've got a cover that stays wet long after a rain, or if you pull off a cover and your grill is wet, then your cover either needs to be sprayed with silicone or your cover is at the point in its life of service where it just needs to be replaced.  If it's got a hole or a rip, guess what?  No, it's NOT time for duct tape, it's time for a new grill cover.

And now for that second anti-cover comment:  "Your grill will rust if you cover it, covers get wet in the rain and stay wet long after the rain stops."

20190102_114345That's just a flat out myth!  It's the same thing as for the mold argument, no properly maintained grill is going to prematurely develop rust from the use of a good grill cover.  That rust claim is just absurd!  To repeat:  A properly maintained cover REPELS water, it doesn't "trap" it.   A clean grill is a happy grill and a silicone sprayed grill cover is a dry cover.  An UNCOVERED grill is going to rust out LONG before a properly maintained and properly covered grill ever will!

You see folks, using a grill cover is kind of like using a condom.  If you don't want your lady to get pregnant, you wear a condom.  If you don't want your grill to get dirty, dusty, the paint faded or scratched, get hit with bird droppings and the like, you put a cover on it!   Don't buy into the mold or rust nonsense - put a cover on it!   Hey, there's a name for a cover right?  The Grill Condom.....  OK, maybe not...

$pend Wisely My Friends...

For more great grilling information to include a boat load of recipes, check out my book, Grilling Good Eats now available in paperback on Amazon!

Grilling Good Eats Book


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


My experience with moisture from a cover is not about water on the cover and how well the cover protects/repels things. It's more about the covers trapping moisture (any moisture in the air) in the grill, as the first point in your post here.

I'm not saying it's completely containing and filling the grill with moisture though it can tend to maintain some in more humid times. For me, this isn't some mold situation and I keep my grill clean though I am starting to believe it's encouraging some rust.

Do you have any thoughts or ideas on that? I've seen some covers for larger grills with vented flaps at the top which are advertised to help with high winds by letting air that blows under the bottom of the cover escape at the top. Though I'm also wondering if they would help the grill breathe some and any humid air escape easier...

Mike Thayer

I appreciate your comments Ray, as I stated in the article, "NEVER cover a grill that's already wet...." That includes any kind of moisture, humidity, foggy conditions, etc. Your concern seems to stem from instances of rain between grilling sessions, with the wetness getting under the grill where it contacts the surface, be it a deck, balcony, patio, etc. A good wipe down and a clean grill with vents closed, coupled with a properly fit cover placed on a DRY grill should alleviate any concerns you might have with premature rusting or possible drafting of moisture upward into your grill. And the vent flaps on grill covers you've seen, that's a marketing ploy pretending to prevent covers from blowing away in high winds. All those 'vents' do is drive up the price. If you properly secure the cover with a bungee cord or two (I don't rely on a the Velcro straps sewn on the cover), There's no need to have any vent flaps on a grill cover and they do nothing whatsoever for moisture ventilation. Think about it, if it can 'release' moisture, it would also let it seep in. It's a hole in a grill cover.

Mike Thayer

Here's another tip to help preserve your grill: Brush or spray the legs of your grill with a clear coat. Don't spray your grill, as the clear coat can't take the heat, focus on the legs. A clear coat helps preserve the metal, no fading, no oxidation, no rust!

Jeanette Cosman

I have stainless steel grates that I can’t get clean. The grease is gone but rust is on the grill. Any thoughts on this? I am concerned about cooking on them for my health. Jeanette

Mike Thayer

You can try baking soda, water and crumpled up foil, provided the rust is only on the surface. But I would recommend new grates.

Tamara Garvin

Can I use armor all on my grill cover after I clean it?

Can I use a steamer to clean the grill itself?

Thank you!

Julie Peterson

I live in Florida which has really high humidity all throughout the year. Is there anything I can do to help prevent rust on my stainless steel grill? I've read elsewhere about putting a rubbed in thin coat of vegetable oil on after cleaning. Would that work and are there other tips for high humidity that you know about? Is the grill cover bad in humid conditions? This is a great article, thank you for the information and thank you in advance for any help you can offer.

Mike T.

Thanks for reading Julie! If you have the habit of always cleaning your grill after a cook and keep your grill cover in good shape, making sure it repels water, you should have no problem in the Florida humidity. Vegetable oil is great for the cooking grate. I would recommend a stainless steel polish for the exterior. Weber makes a good one.


I see the silicone spray you recommend for the grill cover. We find ours breaks down from basically all day sun exposure. Is the silicone spray good for that as well? We keep buying new covers just from basic easy tearing and want to keep them longer. Any help is appreciated!!


I see the silicone spray you recommend for the grill cover. We find ours breaks down from basically all day sun exposure. Is the silicone spray good for that as well? We keep buying new covers just from basic easy tearing and want to keep them longer. Any help is appreciated!!

Mike T.

Great question Amy! Yes, a good silicone spray will also provide protection against UV rays, preventing the cover material from becoming brittle, which if left untreated results in cracking and tearing. Thanks for reading.

Maurice Green

Could you please advise me as to how I can preserve my Matador BBQ cover, it has suffered some sun damage over the past few years and I would dearly like to restore it to what it was 10 years ago.
Somebody told me that rubbing the BBQ cover with baby oil will help to protect if from the elements could you please advise me if this is correct if not what should I use.


Bought a brand new dyna-glow cover and there just doesn’t appear to be leaks but same - any rain seems to cause a significant amount of condensation on the grill once removed. I’m in southern Ontario Canada and it is early spring - calling Home Depot now but so disappointed - I simply shouldn’t be required to by spray an out of the box cover. My Napoleon cover was faded and 5 years odd and never leaked! It was canvas and this one is vinyl.

Mike T.

Buying a grill cover is similar to buying a new couch. If you want to protect the fabric from future stains, you scotch guard it. If you want to be totally confident your grill cover will repel water, you silicone spray it. I do the same thing with a new tent, despite being just purchased and out of the box/bag, I spray it with silicone before that first drop of rain hits it.

Thanks for reading!

~ Mike

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)