Everybody has their own idea of what is the right way, I just expressed what I do and most of the pit makers recommend. The few things that come to mind is cleanliness and buildup. When you don't clean your smoker it gets built up CREOSOTE That makes whatever you smoke taste funny and is not good for you. Also, depending on how much you use your smoker the grease builds up all in the smoker. I have seen a couple catch on fire from buildup and no cleanings, not a pretty sight. Anyway, just my opinion, and what I and most of my friends do. Don't know if anyone ever died from eating stuff cooked in a smoker that was never cleaned. But I will never have to worry about that. Mine is always cleaned and smells great. You can go out right now and open the lid and get that great smoker smell. Never said anything about power washing or cleaning it down to the bare metal. Just spraying it out with the hose while hot, creates steam and washes away all the surface grease and stuff.