How to Clean a BBQ: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Grill in Tip-Top Shape

How long has it been since the BBQ got a deep clean, or went through one of those wet/winter seasons?

The great outdoors are meant to be enjoyed. Whether you’re cooking up a storm for the family or hosting a backyard barbecue with friends, a grill is an essential addition to any outdoor kitchen. But oftentimes we just leave it out after we use the grill. A dirty grill can cause you a whole host of problems, from sticking grates, and grease fires, to losing the flavor of your food. That’s why it is important to clean your grill periodically.

A dirty grill isn’t something you can ignore. It’ll quickly become a nuisance, and there are some pretty serious consequences if you don’t take care of it. Follow these cleaning tips and keep your grill in tip-top shape so you can keep grilling without fail.

Cleaning Your BBQ Grill

1. Gather Your Tools

Before you clean your barbecue, you’ll need to gather the right tools. You can clean your barbecue with a sponge, a rag, and some soapy water. For the grills with removable grates, use a wire brush or a scraper to remove the charred remains from the grates. For the gas grills, a bottle of gasoline and a rag will do the trick. You can also use something called a “Cake Out”, which is basically a barbecue sponge that uses pressure to get the grill clean. If you choose to go this route, make sure you have a bottle of gas on hand in case you have any problems.

2. Locate the Grate

The first thing you’ll want to do is locate the grate on your grill. If the grate is removable, you can use a wire brush or a scraper to remove the remains from it. If not, you can use the grill’s exterior to get a good look around for any spots or stains.

If the grate isn’t removable, the cleaning process will be a little bit more involved. You’ll first want to remove the charred remains from the grates. You can do this by scrubbing with a wire brush or a scraper and then using a rag to wipe away the burnt scraps. Once the charred bits are gone, you can use a sponge to clean the grates.

3. Remove The Grill Grate

Next, you’ll want to remove the grill grate. If it’s not removable, you can use a flat-head screwdriver or a 1/2″ pry bar to loosen it. If it is removable, use a screwdriver or a pry bar to loosen it from the top and bottom of the barbecue. Once the grate is loose, you can lift it out of the way and give your grill a good clean.

4. Wipe Down the Outside

Once you’ve removed the grate, you can use a sponge to clean the exterior of the barbecue. Make sure to get in the nooks and crannies of the grill, as well as on the lid and the walls. Make sure to get in the vents and any other crevices. For extra grime, a rag and some soapy water can also be used to wipe down the exterior.

5. Clean The Burners

After you’ve cleaned the outside of the grill, you can use a rag to clean the burners. Start with the outside burners, and then work your way in. You can also use a coffee filter to sift through the ashes, collecting any remaining embers, which can then be disposed of safely. You can also use a rag to wipe down the interior of the grill.

6. Wipe Down the Barbecue

After you’ve cleaned the outside, the inside, and the burners, the grill is ready for a good scrubbing. Use a sponge, a rag, and some soapy water to get the barbecue clean. Make sure to scrub the insides of the legs, the shelves, and the body of the grill. For extra grime, a wire brush or a scraper can be used to remove the remaining charred remains from the grates

7. Clean the Oven Rack

The outside of the grill may be clean, but there might still be some residual grease or food bits on the oven rack. Use a damp rag or a sponge with some soapy water to clean it thoroughly. Make sure to dust it off thoroughly as well, as a buildup of grease can lead to poor heat conductivity and dangerous fires.

Cleaning The Inside of BBQ

The inside of your BBQ grill is just as important as the outside. When you cook on a dirty BBQ grill, food debris, grease, and other sticky substances tend to accumulate inside your grill. If you don’t clean the inside of your BBQ grill, these contaminants will end up on your food. Not only is this unsanitary and a messy job, but it can also diminish the flavor of your food.

  • To get the inside of the BBQ clean, you need to empty it completely and remove any fixtures including the grates. Schedule this in good weather so that you can dry out the grill once you’re done cleaning it. If it’s raining, clean your grill in the garage or a covered area.
  • To begin cleaning, you will need a grill cleaner brush, a wire brush, and soap. Brush the grills lengthwise instead of across, as this will give you a quicker clean and prevent splattering all over your clothes. For a quick and easy clean, you can use a 4:1 ratio, mix one teaspoon of liquid dish soap with 4 cups of warm water. To make cleaning a grill even easier, invest in a grill-cleaning brush which can be found at most supermarkets.
  • Next, use the wire brush to scrub out any crevices or holes where food or grease may have accumulated. Finally, use soap and water to wash down the inside of your BBQ grill if necessary. 
  • Once you’ve finished cleaning the inside of your BBQ grill, dry it off using a towel or paper towels. Use an oven mitt to avoid burning yourself since the heat from the sun can cause metal surfaces to get very hot. Once dry you can return all fixtures including grates if applicable and begin preparing food for cooking.
  • If you want to get really tricky, you can use the cleaning brush to clean the grill grates. Make sure you wear gloves and a mask to avoid breathing in any toxic fumes that might be released from degreasing the grates.

The Outside of the BBQ

The outside of your BBQ grill is just as important as the inside. This is the first place most of the grime will accumulate. Make sure you clean the outside of your BBQ regularly so it stays looking nice, and you can avoid getting a build-up of grime on the outside of your grill.

Stainless Steel 

Cleaning a stainless steel grill surface is pretty easy if you have the necessary materials to do so. Stainless steel material is easy to scratch, that’s why you have to be selective when using the material to clean stainless steel. It is important to avoid using metal brushes or steel wool when cleaning your grill, and you should also avoid abrasive chemical cleaners.

One product you can use to clean your barbecue grill is Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner. It serves as both a degreaser and a protectant. It not only cleans your stainless steel but also helps keep it free of gunk and residue.

Although you can use detergents on stainless steel, it is not recommended to use them. The chemicals in standard detergent will cause the surface of your stainless steel items to become dull or damaged because they are too potent. If you want shiny and clean dishes without damaging your surfaces, there are a few options that don’t require any type of soap at all! 

Painted Grills

Painted grills can be difficult to keep looking good. They can fade, get sunspots, and become grimy over time. Keeping your grill looking good is a full-time job. The good news is, there are plenty of easy ways to keep it looking good as new. 

Soapy water is the safest way to clean most painted grills. Wipe the exterior of the grill with soapy water, remove any soap residue by rinsing it off with clean water and then dry it thoroughly.

How to Keep a BBQ Clean

There are a few ways to keep your BBQ clean. One of the most effective ways is to use a BBQ cleaner. These are especially useful for keeping your BBQ grill clean during and after the winter.

1. Keep Everything Organized

The day always seems to pass quickly when you have a lot of outdoor chores to do. You’re excited to get started, but you suddenly realize you haven’t thought through what you’ll need to do to get ready to grill. You could spend half an hour looking for your apron and tongs. And if you have kids, you might even have to ask for help.

With all that mess and chaos, it’s easy to forget about the environment around you. That’s why it’s so important to keep everything organized when you’re barbecuing. Put all your tools in their proper places — in the kitchen, on the patio, in the garage, and so on. That way, everything is within arm’s reach and you don’t have to walk more than two steps to find what you need.

2. Keep Your Tools Clean

Just like your grill, your tools should be kept neat and clean as well. If they aren’t, bacteria and other contaminants will spread quickly. And every time you use them, you’ll be spreading that mess around to other objects in your kitchen.

Your best bet is to wash your tools after each use. You can use a dishwasher-safe sponge to clean the exterior of your tools, as well as a disinfectant to clean any handles or other areas that come into contact with your food. Be sure to clean your utensils thoroughly, especially if you’ve been handling raw meat. That includes removing any bloody parts and washing your hands thoroughly afterwards.

3. Don’t Forget the Smoker Box

It’s easy to forget about the smoker box when you’re cleaning your barbecue. After all, it’s over on the side of the grill that’s hidden away when you’re cooking. But it’s important to clean out the smoker box, too. That’s because it’s also where the charcoal or wood chips are kept. If they aren’t emptied completely, they’ll end up in your food when you pour the coals or wood chips into your barbecue.

And if those smokers aren’t emptied completely as well, they’ll also end up in your food. A little bit of ash and wood chips in your food is almost unavoidable — but if you’re not careful, it can add up to a lot of food that is now uneatable. Take the time to clean out your smoker box, and you won’t have to worry as much about that.

 Final Words

So there you have it, folks. Your grill is dirty, right? And you don’t have time to clean it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. All you have to do is follow these cleaning tips and your grill will stay clean and look good in no time.

Remember, a dirty grill is unsafe and unappealing to look at. Keep it spick-and-span and you’ll be able to keep grilling with confidence and style.