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How to clean a BBQ grill

A clean bbq grill will make a big difference to your barbecue! Discover the best way to clean a bbq grill by reading our 10 steps to clean your gas or charcoal grill, trays, burners and lids.

Updated Reading Time: 5 minutesBy Cleanipedia Team

BBQ grill with BBQ utensils
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With the sun finally coming out, there’s no better time to dig out the barbecue and welcome the warmer weather with a party. But after multiple uses over the previous summer, and then a winter of lurking in the shed, your grill isn’t necessarily going to be at its best. Fortunately, cleaning it (even after months of neglect) need not be a daunting task – just follow these simple steps, and your grill will be grime-free and ready to go. 

Make sure you clean your BBQ grill after every use to prevent food from sticking to the bars. Use warm soapy water along with a good stiff wire brush to scrub the grill clean. The brush will help remove any particularly resistant burnt-on food stains.

You will need:

  • Steel brush
  • Warm soapy water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cat litter
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How to clean a BBQ grill

Be careful to follow the manufacturers’ suggestions when choosing a cleaning method and products – every barbecue is different, although most should follow a similar outline as the guide below. It goes without saying that you should always leave your barbecue a decent amount of time to cool down before cleaning it.

  1. Turn the barbecue on full heat

    With the grill in place, get your barbecue to full heat. If you have a gas barbecue, that just means turning the heat on full. For a charcoal barbecue, throw in fresh coals and wait for them to reach a red-hot temperature.

  2. Put the lid on and leave for 15 to 20 minutes

    Put the lid on, and leave it for 15-20 minutes. This bakes off – carbonizes – grime and food particles, making cleaning BBQ grill parts easier.

  3. Scrub the bars with a steel brush

    Wait for the barbecue to cool down, and then scrub the bars with a steel brush. Make sure to angle the brush into awkward corners.

  4. Remove the grills

    Having used the baking-off method above (and after waiting for everything to cool down – accidentally barbecuing your fingers is a bad idea), remove the grills.

  5. Wash the bars with warm soapy water

    Using warm soapy water, wash the bars or specially designed barbecue cleaners like Cif. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools that could damage the grill. There are some products specifically designed for cleaning barbeques, and some general multipurpose cleaners which work wonderfully, but it’s worth checking the manufacturer’s guidelines.

    Test any cleaning solution on a small area first to ensure you’re using a grill-friendly product.

  6. Dry then rub vegetable oil over

    Rinse and dry them immediately, then rub on a light cover of vegetable oil to prevent rusting.

  7. Soak up any grease with cat litter

    When you’re cleaning barbecue drip trays, you can save yourself a nasty job by soaking up grease using cat litter, if you have it. If not, pour the cold grease out into the bin, rather than the sink.

  8. Wash with warm soapy water

    Wash all trays using warm soapy water as before.

  9. Dust down with a steel brush

    Dust down the inside of the barbecue with a steel brush and, if necessary, a little warm soapy water.

  10. Remove any food stuck inside

    If you have a gas barbecue with food caught in the burners, check your manufacturer’s instructions to find out the best way to extract it. Some recommend removing the food carefully using a pin. Whatever you try, be sure to turn off your barbecue entirely and wait for it to cool before attempting anything.

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So what is the best way to clean a BBQ?

According to The Food Standards Authority, the best way to clean a BBQ is to use a bit of elbow grease and wash your grill by hand, as per the instructions above. However, there are also everyday items within your home that many people use as cleaning agents for their bbq. For example, if they fit, why not put your hotplates in the dishwasher? Or, Garden Buildings Direct suggests using an onion – rub it over the hot bars leaving the water to clean and remove any food. Alternatively, vinegar spray or coffee cleaner have also been known to work.

Following these steps will result in a cleaner and healthier barbecue – just in time for the warmer weather. So grab a cold drink, call over some friends, and make the most of it!

Originally published