The sun’s finally out and no doubt you’re craving burgers and bangers, steaks and salmon, cooked to order on the BBQ. Yum. Or maybe not, because the last time you saw your grill it was gathering dust in the shed, still caked in last summer’s last grill out. Sound about right? Then it’s time to bite the bullet, put on a pair of rubber gloves and get scrubbing. This isn’t just a step-by-step guide to how to clean a BBQ – we’ve also added a few hacks to help you keep your grill clean all summer long.
No way that grease and grime is coming off? Then take a look at barbecues – our pick of the best
1. Start with heat
If there’s still caked-on food left over from last year, light fresh coals in your barbecue and leave them to reach a very high heat. This will burn off a lot of the most stubborn remnants.
2. Clean the BBQ with steam
Allow your barbecue to cool slightly, but while it’s still warm, cover the grill in water-soaked old newspaper. Close the lid for half an hour to steam clean it.
3. Get scrubbing
Use a grill brush with wire bristles to get rid of remaining food particles. If you have a porcelain-coated rack, it’s best to use a brass-bristled grill brush to avoid damaging it. No grill brush? Screw up aluminium foil into a ball and scrub the grill with it instead. Next, clean the grill with a dishcloth and hot soapy water.
If that doesn’t shift the dirt, you might want to try a household cleaner. However, some can be abrasive and toxic for a barbecue, so make sure you get a cleaner that’s specifically designed for the job, such as Jeyes barbecue cleaner, £3.50 for 750ml, B&Q.
4. Tackle the base
As soon as your barbecue is cool, tip away leftover ash into a bucket – it will collect moisture and be harder to clean later if you leave it. Use damp kitchen roll to pick up the final bits, alternatively an outdoor vacuum is an easy way to collecting any remaining bits. Then give the base a good wash using warm water and washing-up liquid.
5. Wipe the outside
Using fresh warm water and washing-up liquid, wipe the exterior, then buff the metal shell with a dry cloth. If your barbecue is stainless steel, use a specialist polishing spray. It’s also worth giving your BBQ a light coating of mineral or baby oil to protect it from the elements. This is doubly important if you’re planning to keep your barbecue outside all summer long, and will give it a lovely shine.
6. Prevent more grime from building up
Next time you fire up your grill, give it a good coating of sunflower oil before you start cooking to stop food from baking on to the surface. Also, have a brush with a long handle to hand, so you can loosen any stuck-on food while the barbecue is still hot.
7. How to clean a BBQ if time is against you
Try some speedy antibacterial wipes. We like double-sided Barbecue Cleaning Wipes, £4.99, Landmann.
Alternatively, you can skip the scrubbing and give the BBQ a hose down with a pressure washer. We like the Kärcher K3 home pressure washer.
8. Always cover up
It may seem like a faff, but covering your grill to protect it from the elements will save you loads of hassle in the long run. Covers are available for most brands of barbecue. You’ll usually have to pay extra for them, but they will ward off rust and keep out extra dirt between cook-outs.
9. Keep on top of things
Now that you’ve got your barbecue looking pristine, ensure it remains in tip-top condition by using a barbecue cleaning product after every use. Weber BBQ Grate Cleaner, £8.99 for 500ml, John Lewis, will do the job perfectly.
However there are a few natural cleaners that you can make at home to keep your BBQ sparkling after each use.
DIY BBQ cleaners
A favourite for cleaning inside the home, white vinegar is a great alternative to stainless steel cleaner. Use a left-over spray bottle and fill it with half white vinegar and half water. Spray it over the grill, wait five minutes before wiping it off with a clean, dry cloth.
This method might sound counter-productive to cleaning, but it will help prevent food sticking and your grill from going rusty. Each time before you use the BBQ give it a good coating in sunflower oil, and rub it down the same way once you’ve finished. Your BBQ will thank you.
If find yourself with a little beer leftover after a BBQ, pour it over the grill while it’s still warm. Then give it a good scrub with a wire brush to get it sparkling.
Get your barbecuing utensils gleaming again by soaking them in coffee for an hour. Any cooked-on food should slide right off.
If reading our ‘how to clean a BBQ tips’ has got you in the mood for sprucing things up, check out our care and cleaning page
Got any BBQ cleaning tips that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments box.