How To Clean A Moldy Traeger
Humidity and condensation that’s allowed to build up inside a Traeger grill can create an ideal home for mold to develop. Once an airborne microscopic mold spore finds a suitable moist surface with nutrients it can exploit it can develop into an active colony in as little as 48 hours.
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Mold colonies and the spores they spread also have mycotoxins, which can potentially make you sick if you ingest them. Not to mention the ugly look of burned mold ash falling on your food.
A thoughtful mold prevention strategy starts with keeping your Traeger grill as clean as possible. Keeping a cover on your Traeger grill when there’s rain in the forecast can also help prevent humidity and moisture from getting into the cooking chamber.
If you know you aren’t going to be using your Traeger for a few days, you should still take the time to fire it up and let it run at 350 degrees for a half hour. This will help dry out the interior as well as kill any tiny mold spores before they can germinate into a colony.
If you do develop a mold problem inside your Traeger you will need to burn it out to both kill the mold and break down any residual mycotoxins. This calls for a temperature of at least 400 degrees for 15 to 30-minutes.
Once you’ve burned out all traces of mold, you need to wipe down every part of the Traeger’s smoking chamber and perform a total deep cleaning.
Why Does Mold Accumulate in Traegers?
Mold needs moisture, warmth, and a modest amount of a porous nutrient surface material to germinate from an airborne microscopic mold spore into a thriving mold colony. These things can occur in abundance inside a poorly cleaned Traeger grill during hot humid weather.
Once a small colony gets established inside a Traeger it can start to spread more mold spores throughout the cooking chamber, and even into the auger shaft.
How Do You Prevent Mold from Forming in a Traeger?
The first step in preventing mold from forming in a Traeger calls for routine cleaning after every cooking session. You should also give your Traeger a thorough deep cleaning after every 20 to 30 hours of use to eliminate a lot of the grease and other materials mold can feed off.
Keeping your Traeger covered during wet conditions or times of high humidity will also help keep the interior dry. If you know you aren’t going to be using your Traeger for several days during very humid weather, you should still make a point to fire it up and let it run for at least half an hour.
Is It Normal to Have Mold Build Up in a Traeger?
Mold is a somewhat common problem in Traeger grills that haven’t been properly cleaned. Especially if you live near a body of water, a wetland, or some other type of terrain with mold spores living naturally in the surrounding air.
Though sometimes even a fairly well-cleaned Traeger can end up with mold growing inside it after five or more days without being used. Especially if the grill hasn’t been covered, or the local humidity is very high.
How Long Does It Take to Burn Mold Off in a Traeger?
To thoroughly burn mold off a Traeger, you need to heat it up to the highest setting and let it run with the lid closed for at least 15, to 30 minutes. After that, you need to give every square inch of the primary smoking chamber a good scrape or wipe-down, before completing a total deep cleaning.
What Temperature Should You Have the Traeger Set To?
Ideally, you want the highest possible temperature setting on your Traeger. Depending on the model this might be 400 to 450 or even 500 degrees.
It’s important to note that while mold dies around 170-degrees, the mycotoxins inside mold colonies and some spores need temperatures over 400-degree to break down. High heating ensures that all residual mycotoxins are rendered inert.
When microscopic land on a surface with sufficient moisture and warmth inside a Traeger grill, they can rapidly germinate into an active colony. This is even more likely to happen if you have a bad habit of not properly cleaning your grill.
Mold spores can also spread also have mycotoxins, which can potentially make you sick when you eat them. These toxins can even persist long even after the mold colony that created them has been killed by heat.
Preventing mold starts with cleaning your Traeger grill after every cook and giving it a thorough deep cleaning after every 20 to 30 hours of use. It’s also wise to keep the cover on your Traeger when you aren’t using it to keep rainwater from getting inside.
If the forecast calls for high humidity, and you know you won’t be using Traeger for a few days, you should still take the fire it up and let it run at 350 degrees and let it burn for a half hour. Not only will this dry out the interior, but it will also kill any fledgling mold colonies inside.
If you do find mold growing in your Traeger, it needs to be burned out as soon as possible. This calls for a high temperature of at least 400 degrees for 15 to 30-minutes to kill all the mold and break down the dangerous mycotoxins it can leave behind.
Afterward, you should wipe down every part of the Traeger’s interior. Then carry out a routine deep cleaning to remove all burned-up mold, ash, and debris.
This article was written by Robert McCall, the founder of bbqdropout.com. Robert also owns and operates the BBQ dropout YouTube channel where he demonstrates his first-hand experience cooking all kinds of meats and strives to provide helpful, authoritative content for people looking how to barbecue.
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