How To Clean Creosote From Smoker [4 Easy Methods]

Throughout this article, we are going to highlight all the needed factors on how to clean creosote from the smoker. Actually, cleaning the smoker’s creosote is quite essential for maintaining the quality of the food. 

how to clean creosote from smoker

When the fact comes to the cleaning procedure, there have many different ways. Here you will come to know all those effective and well-proven methods that will quickly eliminate the creosote from the smoker.

Also, we will share some tips and tricks to make the task easier. Anyway, without any more delay, let’s move on. 

How To Clean Creosote From Smoker [4 Easy Methods]

Before jumping to the cleaning procedures, let’s know all about creosote and the reasons for building up this substance on your smoker. Read out the below sections: 

Note: You can also read how to clean Bradley Smoker perfectly.

What Is Creosote

The term creosote is mainly regarded as the condensate which forms from unburned woods. Basically, it is a highly flammable substance that falls in the category of carbonaceous chemicals.

Anyway, when pyrolysis of plant-derived materials like wood or fuel burns at a high temperature but fails to combust properly, then vapors so much black smoke. 

Anyway, when the smoke comes on a cool surface, the vapors condense. These vapors condensate is called creosote. In a smoker, this condensate is set up in the chimney and also clogs the smoker’s airways.

If you technically define the facts, creosote is a highly flammable hydrocarbon that forms on the inside of a smoker.

What Are The Reasons For Creosote In Smoker?

There have a few reasons why the creosote can build up in the smoker. Let’s have a glimpse at this fact:

  • Using Wrong Wood Chips: If you are not using quality wood for cooking in the smoker, it is impossible to avoid creosote. Low-quality wood burns at a lower heat and causes an incomplete burn. By this, it produces creosote deposits.
  • Insufficient fuel supply: If the fuel has been supplied in a very low amount, building up the creosote will be more easily.
  • Insufficient Airflow: Restrictions in airflow cause a lack of ventilation inside the unit. For that, the rest of the smoke turns on to condense creosote.
  • Wrong Temperature settings: Cooking at a higher temperature can easily lead to faster creosote buildup. By this, a high amount of moisture evaporates from the wood and causes creosote.
  • Incomplete combustion: It is the root reason for building up the creosote in the smoker. This happens when you are cooking for long hours, but fuels are not burning in the same run.  

Why Should You Clean Creosote From Smoker

It is essential to clean the creosote from the cooking unit. The fact is related to such elements when you are cooking your food.

So, obviously, it is related to your health as well. Creosote contains chemicals that make residue on the food. Accumulating these chemicals on food is extremely quite toxic and dangerous for health.

Apart from this, creosote lessens the smoker’s durability for building up hardened residue in the cooking chamber.

Sometimes it leads to a grease fire. Also, there creates a very bad smell on the smoker that affects the food taste great.

To prevent ruining your food and for health purposes, you should always clean the creosote from the smoker periodically.  

How To Get Rid Of Creosote In Smoker?

Most smoker users have a common query on how they will clean out the build-up of creosote from the smoker.

The task is a bit difficult but not impossible. That means cleaning the creosote from the smoker will not seem tough as long as you will follow some effective steps.

For all your convenience, we have included the four easiest methods for cleaning creosote from smokers. Let’s start:

1. Torch Method:

It is regarded as the best way to clean out the creosote from the smoker very easily. Follow the below steps to perform this torch method for creosote removal from a smoker:

  • Using a Weed Burner or Propane Torch: Most people use a propane torch or weed burner alternatively in order to clean out the creosote. This essential element will burn the creosote-infested region. Take a weed burner and start heating the inside of the smoker. 

Especially move through the smoking racks as there may have hardened creosote. Continue heating the element until the creosote starts to melt off. Here, make sure that you are not damaging the components as well. After melting, you will find a bubble that crystallizes from the creosote place.

  • Take a Wire Brush: After the creosote crystallizes, you will have to rub it out. For this, a wire brush is must needed. Then start rubbing on the area where creosote pieces have accumulated. It will help to fall off the creosote from the grates and other areas where it built up. Before moving on to the next step, ensure that the creosote is not sticking that hard on the surface yet.
  • Reason with Vegetable Oil: Once you’ve removed the creosote, you will need vegetable oil for further processes. The process is needed to do a last touch-up to the smoker cleaning. To re-season, the smoker with the vegetable oil, and apply a coating of oil on the surfaces, especially racks, and grates. 

Then smoke the smoker at a high temperature for up to 2-4 hours. By doing this, all traces of the creosote inside will be easily removed. 

2. Use A Creosote Remover:

You can use an effective cleaner that is specially formulated for creosote cleaning. You will find several cleaners on the local market or online.

But it will be better to use Rutland Creosote Remover as it has good reviews for this purpose. It will not only clean the surface but prevent building up the creosote for a longer time. In order to use this:

  • Clean out the food debris from the smoker.
  • Now apply the cleaner in the right way. Follow the instructions that are supplied with the product.
  • Once the cleaning has been done, dry out the unit properly. Other the smoker will catch several damages relating to corrosion from cleaner chemicals. 

3. Apply Home Remedy:

The home remedy cleaning solution is one of the best ways to clean out the creosote from the smoker.

Also, most of us don’t feel comfortable using a large number of chemicals for cleaning. Here we have included some of the DIY homemade creosote removers at home.

  • Vinegar, water, and baking soda solution: Mix these three elements and create a foamy cleaning solution. Take a good grill brush and scrub the inside of your smoker using the solution.
  • Apple cider vinegar solution: It is also another best solution to clean out hardened chemicals. Just use a cloth or brush to apply the solution.
  • Lemon juice and salt solution: It is regarded as an abrasive solution to clean the creosote. Spread the salt to the dirty area and start scrubbing with a lemon half. Then rinse with the water.
  • Baking soda solution: Mix soda in a proper amount of warm water and create a paste. Scrub the inside of your smoker using a brush or damp cloth. 

4. Using Warm Water

It is a well-proven cleaning solution of using warm water to clean the grill grates in order to remove the unwanted creosote.

Moreover, it will be best to clean the smoker with warm water after daily cooking. Anyway, to clean the build-up creosote, just soak the area with hot water. 

When the creosote has softened up, scrub with the grill brush and a wire brush. Here you may use an oven or grill cleaner for getting the best result.

After applying the cleaner, scrap off the area using a good scrapper. Then rinse with the hot water again.

How Do You Avoid Creosote When Smoking Meat

As you have seen above, cleaning the creosote is not so easy. So it will be a wise decision to clean the smoker after every cooking.

This will prevent to create excessive creosote on the smoker. Follow out below instructions to avoid creosote build-up:

  • First of all, make sure that you are using high-quality fuel such as hard or fruit wood. This wood produces less smoke, and that reduces the chance of building creosote in your smoker.
  • While cooking the smoker, use a water pan. It is one of the effective ways to prevent creosote build-up. Using a water pan will keep the smoker’s air moist, creating restrictions to building up the formation of creosote on the walls.
  • The third one is checking the venting system of the smoker. You have to ensure that there is no ventilation problem from your smoker. 
  • Then, always try to maintain the temperature to the maximum level. Smoking in high heat easily leads to more creosote build-up.
  • Always notice that blue smoke is emitting from the smoker while cooking. It is an indication of burning the fire at the perfect temperature.
  • It will be best to use a chimney starter as well. It will help to maintain the fire evenly.


How do I clean the smoker chimney?

First, you may use a good cleaner for this. Also, you can use a long-handled wooden spoon or a vacuum cleaner to clean the inside of the chimney.

Is creosote toxic?

Creosote is obviously toxic if it comes into physical contact. If it stays longer in the body, it causes severe health hazards. Like rashes, irritations, and so many other reactions.

How often should we clean a smoker?

As you are cooking in the smoker, thus you should always keep it clean. Many experts suggest cleaning the smoker about every few weeks. In short, clean your smoker every three to five grill sessions.

Wrapping Words:

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of the accurate cleaning process of creosote from the smoker. Clean out the smoker regularly and ensure that your smoker remains creosote-free always.

Now, if you have any queries after reading the above guide, let us know in the comment section. We will reply to you ASAP.  

About William

William is the founder of He has real life practical skills in fixing smoker & heating appliance issues. He loves to share his knowledge & helps others in fixing their appliances & saving their money. William firmly believes that anyone can repair his or her unit with the correct guidance & knowledge. See more at about us.

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