Sunday, May 31, 2020

How I Clean the Big Green Egg Modular Nest..

[FTC Standard Disclosure] I received no compensation for this post.

I have had my BGE Modular Nest for two years and I still love it for its storage, expansive workspace, and durability. Even though it's low maintenance, it was time for me to give the table a little TLC and preventative maintenance.

Big Green Egg Modular Nest System
We got our Big Green Egg Modular Nest at Mannix Pools and Grills in Winter Haven, FL.

Wear and Tear

So what needs to be done with such a robust, hearty table? It was all cosmetic. There were some chips in the powder coating from where I have accidentally struck the table here and there. Fortunately, the frame is aluminum so these chips don't rust. 

Example of powder coating chip on a Big Green Egg Modular Nest
The powder coating is generally tough. But if you strike the edge with something hard, like metal tools or another grill cart, it can pop off like this.  Almost all of mine were on the front upper edge, where I do most of my prep work.

I had also noticed some corrosion or rust in some of the corners where the rails come together. That makes sense, given that is where water would collect after rain or where acidic marinades or sauces might spill.

Example of corrosion or rust on a Big Green Egg Modular Nest
This was after I had washed the table but you can see how the water pools in this location and would take longer to dry. Also, a lot of the marinades, sauces, and spritzes we use are acidic. A spill here, a spill there, and it will cause corrosion on aluminum and rust on the steel parts.

Side rail of the BGE Modular Nest
95% of the side rails were fine with no corrosion. It was only in a few spots.

While the table has a five-year structural integrity warranty, things like this are normal wear and tear. It's like getting a paint chip on your new car, it sucks, but it's not Nissan's problem, right?  

BGE Nest Deep Clean and Preventative Maintenance

Here is what I did on Saturday to clean up my Big Green Egg Modular Nest and to keep any corrosion from getting worse. It took about 2 hours at a leisurely pace.

Deep Clean

Even if your table doesn't have any chips or rust, it could still probably use a good deep cleaning.
  • Remove all of the shelving components.
  • Remove the Egg - I skipped this part.
  • Pretreat extra dirty areas, usually the corners and side rails, with a degreaser. 
  • Use a mild detergent (we use Dawn) and warm water to wash the frames and components. A sponge works well on the flat surfaces and a medium-bristle brush to clean the nooks and crannies. 
  • When cleaning the wheels, if you have them, be careful not to spray cleaner or degreaser into the axle area. Just wipe down the surfaces.
  • Thoroughly rinse.
  • Wipe everything down with a towel and allow to finish air drying.
We use Member's Mark Heavy Duty Degreaser from Sam's Club or what we call "purple stuff". It is excellent at cleaning grease, char, and built up carbon. A gallon lasts nearly forever - we just bought our second gallon and we have been using this stuff for years. We dilute it down to 4-ounces per gallon and keep it in a spray bottle for everyday cleaning around the grill and kitchen. For heavy-duty jobs, use it straight. 

Treat Rust and Corrosion

If you have spots of rust and corrosion, treating them now will keep it from getting worse.
  • Sand any rust/corrosion spots that have pitting or buckling. I used a Black and Decker mouse or detail sander with 200 grit to get into the tight corners adequately.
  • After sanding, clean the area with an alcohol-based cleaner and allow to fully dry.
  • Paint the treated area with light coats of matt black spray paint. If you have a lot of exposed metal, you can prime it first. I used Rustoleum high-temperature grill paint and it matched almost perfectly.
Preventative maintenance on a Big Green Egg Modular Table

Fill In and Paint Chips in the Powder Coating

Since these normally happen on the aluminum parts, this is strictly cosmetic. There are a couple of options for taking care of these small spots.
  • Use a paint pen from BGE headquarters and simply dot over the chips.
  • Use a matte black automotive chip repair kit, like Dr Color Chip.
  • Mask off the area and use matte black spray paint, which is what I used.
Masking off chip for painting Big Green Egg Modular Nest
I used a razor knife to cut out a hole, about the size of the chip, in the masking tape and then put it on the table. This is to limit the paint to the immediate area.

Then just give the chip a quick spritz of paint. Go heavy enough to fill the chip but not so heavy it will run. Wait about 1 minute and then remove the tape.

It's not an exact match, but it does very well. There are three chip fixes in this picture.

Big Green Egg Modular Nest deep clean, chip, and rust repair
All cleaned up and ready to go again.