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How to clean a BBQ

Melanie Whitehouse / 11 May 2016

Get your barbecue out of storage and give it a deep clean with our step-by-step guide to cleaning a barbecue.

Man cleaning a BBQ
Give your barbecue a quick clean after each use to prevent dirt building up

It’s a job that’s even more disliked than cleaning the oven, but before you can use it this summer to entertain family and friends, your barbecue will probably need some attention.

Find out how to clean a patio

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How to give your BBQ a deep clean

Step 1

Always refer to the owner’s manual for advice, as all barbecues are different.

Step 2

With the grill in place, heat up your barbecue until it’s red-hot. Put the lid on and leave for 15-20 minutes to carbonise all the food residue and grime. It will make it much easier to clean.

Step 3

Wait for the barbecue to cool down, then disconnect the gas bottle or unplug from the electric socket before starting any cleaning jobs.

Step 4

When cool, scrub the bars with a steel brush or a paint scraper. Never use oven cleaner – the chemicals may affect the taste and smell of your food, and can harm the enamelled or steel finish.

Step 5

Once you’ve got the crusty bits off, wash with mild soap and warm water.

Step 6

Then remove the grills, drip tray and any other fittings that you know how to put back. If in doubt, leave in place!

Step 7

Wipe the burners clean. If any holes are clogged up, clean them with a metal skewer.

Step 8

Use a wire brush or scraper to remove excess grease and dirt from the grills, then put them in the dishwasher on a hot wash. Re-season before re-using by spraying with cooking oil and heating for about 15 minutes.

Step 9

Then wash down the outside of the barbecue with warm, soapy water. Don’t use harsh, wire wool pads to rub off stains and muck or you’ll scratch the surface.

Step 10

Polish exterior stainless steel surfaces with a fine coat of oil (baby oil or cooking oil is fine) to protect the barbecue from the elements.

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Tricks for keeping your BBQ clean

Regular cleaning after use will make your annual deep clean so much easier.

When you have finished cooking, always brush the grill and hot plate to remove pieces of food.

Fill an old metal baking tray with water and place over one of the burners. Turn on just the one burner enough to make it slowly boil, and then close the lid. The steam will keep everything soft until you have a chance to clean it off.

Line the drip tray with aluminium foil, then fill with cat litter. When it is saturated with grease, remove it by lifting it out with the foil.

Place a Teflon non-stick sheet on your hotplate, scrape and wash clean after use and re-use.

Before you start cooking, pre-heat the barbecue for at least 15 minutes to burn off any residual dirt and grease and kill germs on cooking surfaces.

Next autumn, don’t put your barbecue away dirty: give it a deep clean before storing it away.

For safety’s sake, always make sure the barbecue is cool or cold before you touch it. Take care if steaming, and when dealing with hot grease, as both can give a nasty burn.

Try one of our delicious BBQ recipes

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.