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Barbecue Cleaning Tips: How to Clean a BBQ

Long summer nights with family and friends require a clean BBQ! Read on for great barbecue cleaning tips.


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Barbecue cleaning can be a tricky operation and it requires a number of specialist materials – always remember to check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to avoid damage to your BBQ.

You will need the following items:

  • Barbecue cleaner (though at a push, any all-purpose spray cleaner will do).
  • A bucket of soapy water
  • Pumice stone or an oven scraper to remove burnt-on ash
  • A pressure washer (optional extra)

Remember: BBQ cleaning can be a dirty business. Always, be sure to protect your hands and clothes, and read the safety instructions of any detergent that you use.

To prevent food sticking to the grill, before you barbecue wipe the grills with cooking oil. This will make cleaning up after cooking a lot easier!

Cleaning the Inside of a BBQ

  1. Remove the grill, soak it for some time in the hot soapy water, and then scrub it down as you would a kitchen grill, using washing up liquid.
  2. Dump out any loose ash and waste from the inside of the barbecue.
  3. If your barbecue uses ‘lava rocks’ or ‘ceramic coals’, let them soak for a few minutes in the bucket of soapy water, before letting them dry out. This will ensure they can be re-used while causing minimal extra mess.

Ideally, you should clean your barbecue directly after use when it is still somewhat warm (but not hot!), and ash and grease deposits can be easily loosened and removed. If this is not possible, there are a couple of tactics you can use:

  • Blast the interior of the barbecue with a pressure washer.
  • For lidded barbecues, moisten an old newspaper and place it inside the barbecue. Replace the lid, and apply a gentle heat underneath. This can generally be achieved with a couple of small pieces of lighted wood, but make sure the paper inside does not catch fire – this will only add to your problems!

The grime on the inside should have loosened and now you can set about removing it:

  1. Using your pumice stone or scraper, gently but firmly go over the inside, making sure to remove all of the tough dirt. If the barbecue is enamel-coated, be extra careful not scrub too hard, as this will damage the integrity of the material.
  2. Shake out or remove the dislodged dirt.
  3. Using your BBQ cleaner, thoroughly sluice down the inside of the barbecue.

Do not expect the area where the coals sit to get perfectly clean – some permanent damage will always develop here. Just make sure it is free of any obvious removable waste material.

Cleaning the Outside of a BBQ

Any guide on how to clean a BBQ would not be complete without reference to cleaning the outside. This is pretty easy to deal with:

  1. Wipe down the outside of the BBQ with a moist cloth and if anything is stuck to the surface, consider using a solution of baking-soda and warm water to remove it.
  2. If your barbecue’s exterior surface is made of stainless steel, think about wiping it down with oil to weather-seal it.

With these tips and techniques you’re now all ready for BBQ season, weather permitting!

  • Ideally, you should try to clean your barbecue as soon as possible, when it is still warm.
  • A pressure washer is a handy tool to blast the interior of your BBQ with.
  • Remove burnt-on ash with a pumice stone or oven scraper.
  • Originally published