How To Clean Your BBQ The Right Way

Are you excited to have purchased a gas barbeque or proud that you’ve built a brick one yourself? Are you planning a barbecue party for the weekend? You’ve got your meat, charcoal and your beverages. You’ve asked a couple of friends to come over. But you’ve forgotten the most important thing. How are you going to clean your BBQ? 

A man cooking on his BBQ

The grate is covered with burnt-on food particles from the last time you used it. It’s impossible to clean all that grease and grime that has stuck on the grate. And, it’s impossible to use it the way it is. Hence, you’ll have to clean it. How? Let’s find out!

How to clean your BBQ

Cleaning your barbecue doesn’t require many things. In most cases, water and dish soap are enough. If you want to have a sparkling clean barbecue, you have to follow a particular cleaning procedure to ensure that you won’t forget any part and give all compartments a good cleaning. 

A man cleaning his BBQ with a cloth

1. Heat it up

Light a fire with the barbecue being empty, and let it reach a very high temperature. High heat will burn most caked-on food leftovers from the last time. 

2. Clean it with steam

Once you put out the fire, let the barbecue cool down, and while it’s still warm, soak some newspaper and cover the grill. Close the lid and let the steam clean the grill for half an hour.

3. Scrub it

Get a grill brush with wire bristles or a scraper to remove all the gunk that’s has left behind. In the case of having a porcelain-coated grill, use a brush with brass bristles or a scourer. Then, clean it with hot water mixed with soap and a soft cloth. 

If hot water and dishwashing detergent don’t work, you can try a household cleaner. Just be sure that it isn’t too abrasive and toxic, like most household cleaners. Otherwise, you can get a grill cleaner.

Extra tip: If you don’t have a grill brush,  you can use aluminium foil. Screw it into a ball and rub the grill. 

4. Clean the tank

Once the barbeque has completely cooled down, place the ash into a bucket. You can also use an outdoor vacuum cleaner to collect all the ash. Then, wash the base using water and dishwashing liquid.

A man cleaning the tank of his BBQ

5. Wipe the outer part

Now, it’s time for the outside to be cleaned. Use water and dish soap and clean it. Afterwards, buff it with a dry cloth. If you own a stainless steel BBQ, you should use a polishing spray. Finally, protect your appliance with mineral or baby oil. You should absolutely apply an oily coat if you are planning to leave it outside. Plus, it’ll make it shine. Don’t forget to clean its tongs and other utensils around it!

6. Prevent grime from building up

Before you start cooking, apply a sunflower oil coating. This will prevent food from baking on the grate. Also, loosen any caked-on food while cooking with a long handle and brush. 

7. Cover it up

Always cover your barbecue after cleaning it or using it. It’ll protect it from dirt and debris and will save you from a lot of elbow grease. Most barbecues come with a lid. But, if yours doesn’t have one, then you should think about getting one. 

Extra Tip: If you don’t have time to apply the above cleaning way, you can try something else. Use a pressure washer to wash it and remove as much gunk as possible.

A man cleaning his BBQ parts with a pressure washer

DIY cleaning tips & methods

Beyond the soapy water and the special grill cleaners, you can always use household ingredients and make your homemade remedies.

White vinegar

White vinegar is a naturally powerful cleaning agent; we all use it for different cleaning purposes around the house. It’s also handy as a stainless steel cleaner. Fill a spray bottle with equal amounts of vinegar and water and spray it on the grill. Let it sit for 5 minutes and wipe it with a clean, dry cloth.

Oil

You might find this method a little bit bizarre; it effectively prevents food from sticking and your grill from rusting. Before you use your barbecue, apply some sunflower oil to it. Do exactly the same when you finish.

Beer

Beer isn’t only for drinking during a barbecue party. It’s also useful to clean the grill. Pour some beer on the warm grill and scrub it with a wire brush. It’ll sparkle!

Coffee

Another bizarre cleaning method but very useful for your grilling utensils. Soak them in coffee for an hour. The caked-on food residue will slide off, and your utensils will be shinning. 

Some coffee grounds on top of grounded coffee

How to clean BBQ before its first use

You have bought your new barbecue, and you are ready for grilling season. But before you place the burgers on the grates, there are some things you need to do first. 

1. Remove any coatings of the BBQ

When you buy a new barbecue, it is usually protected not to get scratched and dusted. You need to remove that protective coating.

2. Wash it

Once you’ve bought your barbecue and before using it for the first time, you need to wash all the exposed parts to high heat. You can use warm water and your dish soap to clean it. In case you own a stainless steel BBQ, you should buy a specialised cleaner. In the end, polish it with a soft cloth. 

3. Clean the hot plates

You also need to wash the hot plates. Remove them and clean the cooking surface with warm soapy water and a sponge. Afterwards, rinse them very well until there’s no soap residue left and dry it completely with a soft cloth. 

4. Protect the cooking surface

There are special sprays that you can use to apply a protective coating on the cooking surface. That way your cooking sessions will be amazing and your barbecue will be totally clean.

5. Light the first fire in the BBQ

Before cooking your steaks for the first time, you have to light a fire with the barbecue being empty and let it burn for an hour. Then, give it some time to cool down and repeat the process. 

A bbq lit on fire for cleaning reasons

6. Clean the cooking grates

Now, the final step! Scrub the cooking grates with warm water and a grill brush and wipe dry with a soft cloth. Then, apply cooking oil or vegetable oil and preheat the grill! Voila! You can now enjoy your steaks!

The DON’Ts of BBQ cleaning

You should avoid certain things while cleaning your barbecue. You know what you need to do. But do you know the DON’Ts? 

  • Don’t deep clean it. Don’t get confused! You should clean your barbecue, but you should leave some grease behind. Don’t remove it all. Oils will protect your barbecue from getting rust and dusty. 
  • Don’t use cleaning products containing harsh chemicals. Harsh chemicals might do an incredible cleaning job, but they’re dangerous for both your health and your appliance’s safety. They will affect the food taste, and they might harm the barbecue’s finish and its parts.
  • Don’t use abrasive scrubbers. If you have a steel BBQ, you need to be careful with the materials you use to clean it. Avoid abrasive tools as they can scratch the surface. 
  • Don’t disassemble the gas components. If you are tempted to disassemble your gas grill to clean it, you should reconsider it. If you don’t reassemble the gas parts the right way, there’s a great risk of harming yourself.

What are the benefits of a clean BBQ?

Food on the grill is much healthier and tastier! That’s the reason why you bought one in the first place. You eat and use less fat, the meat keeps its nutrients, and the grilled vegetables retain their vitamins and minerals. But why do you have to clean your barbecue? What are the benefits?

A man cooking on his bbq grill for his family

1. It’s healthy

Prior to all the benefits are the one that concerns your health. A dirty one is full of bacteria and grime, which will be transferred to your food. Cleaning it regularly will prevent the buildup, and you’ll remove all the harmful particles. 

2. It’s safe

Barbecue grates covered with grease and oils are rather dangerous, and there are great chances to catch fire. By cleaning regularly your barbecue grills, you’ll remove any burnt-on food and grease from the grill grate, reducing the chances to catch fire. Plus you’ll check for any damages to the components. 

3. Food smells and tastes better

A dirty grill affects the taste and smell of the food you cook. Even if you had previously cooked steaks and looking forward to cooking steaks again, they won’t have the same taste. They won’t even smell the same way. The second time, your steaks will taste burnt. Yuck! 

4. It doesn’t attract bugs

Food attracts bugs and insects. Thus, leaving your barbecue with food residue stuck on the grate after having used it, it’ll be a good reason for bugs to camp. Do you want to eat your delicious grilled steaks with bugs on top? Think about it!

5. It improves the overall look of both your barbecue and your yard

How would you feel if you cooked your meal in a dirty oven? And can you imagine having cleaned your kitchen but haven’t cleaned the stove? Your kitchen would still look messy and dirty. The same applies to the barbecue. Cooking your burgers on a clean barbecue not only upgrades the taste but also makes your garden look tidy. 

6. The BBQ will last longer

The proper maintenance of your barbecue will keep it in good shape and help it last longer. If you don’t clean it often and in the right way, you’ll just allow it to be worn down faster. 

How often should you clean the BBQ? 

Cleaning your barbecue is an essential task, and you should do it regularly, which means after every use. After every time you cook, it would be a good idea if you’ve cleaned the grills. Wait for the grates to stop burning but not to cool down completely, and scrub any food particles stuck on the grate with your wire brushWhat’s more, every twice a year, schedule a more thorough cleaning, mainly if you use it quite often. Thus, every six months, disassemble the grill, clean all the compartments, check the burner tubes, gas flow, and rust signs. 

A bbq full of delicious meats

Grill cleaning should be a task you never neglect or put off. It’s for both your BBQ and your health sake. Cleaning your grill might be a chore you wish someone else could do instead of you but on the bright side, it’s not that hard after all. You just need to do it the right way!

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