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How to clean any type of BBQ

You’re in the garden with your favourite people, soaking up the sun and munching a succulent burger straight off the BBQ.

The last thing on your mind? Cleaning the BBQ!

But warm weather and outdoor cooking are a match made in heaven for bacteria, so it’s crucial to keep your grill in tip-top condition.

But don’t worry, it’s much easier than you think, and the payback for a bit of upkeep is huge.

This BBQ cleaning guide covers everything you need to know, from the best way to clean a grill to cleaning specific types (gas, charcoal) and ridding your grill of rust. 

So, grab a brush and a bowl of warm soapy water and let’s get that barbie squeaky clean!

Best way to clean a BBQ grill

Cleaning BBQ grates with a hardwire brushCleaning BBQ grates with a hardwire brush


A clean BBQ is crucial for getting the most out of your grill – there should be no food residue in sight!

So, what’s the best way to clean a BBQ?

The Food Standards Authority (FSA) recommends cleaning your BBQ by hand.

The following section provides a quick run-through before we break down each BBQ cleaning method in a few easy steps.

BBQ cleaning tips

  • While the grill is still hot, scrape away the worst of the food build-up with a long hardwire brush. Don’t touch the metal when you do this (it’ll still be very hot!); let the brush do the work.
  • When the grill cools, clean it with washing-up liquid and warm water.
  • Rinse and dry immediately – this is crucial to prevent rusting.
  • Once fully dry, use a paper towel to rub vegetable oil onto the grill.

They’re the key BBQ cleaning steps, but sometimes you need more detail – especially when your sausages are on the line!

Read on to learn everything you need to know about cleaning a BBQ.

How often to clean a BBQ

Treat your BBQ like your kitchen stove, cleaning it every time you prep a meal.

This works twofold – it’ll eliminate contaminants and improves your food’s taste – win-win!

How to clean a BBQ before first use

Cleaning a large chrome BBQ before first useCleaning a large chrome BBQ before first use


Your shiny new VonHaus BBQ will need a quick clean before using it for the first time; here’s how to do it:


1. Remove the packaging

Remove the packaging and protective coating from the BBQ.


2. Clean the BBQ with soapy water

Clean the BBQ with warm soapy water, focusing on the parts exposed to high heat. Buff up with a cloth.


3. Rinse and dry the hot plates

Remove the hot plates and clean the cooking surface with warm soapy water. Rinse thoroughly, ensuring there’s no soap left. Dry the surface with a cloth.


4. Coat the cooking surface

Coat the cooking surface with BBQ spray.


5. Fire it up, let it cool, repeat

Turn the BBQ to a moderate heat for an hour or so before letting it cool. Repeat the process, leaving it for 45 minutes the second time around.


6. Scrub and preheat

Using a brush and warm water, gently scrub the cooking surface. Dry thoroughly. Coat the BBQ with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Preheat the BBQ, and you’re ready to grill!

How to clean a gas BBQ

Large gas BBQ on a patio deckLarge gas BBQ on a patio deck


Before diving in, you’ll need to disconnect the propane tank and detach all the removable components before cleaning them.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning a gas BBQ:


1. Disconnect the propane tank

This step is essential – don’t proceed without disconnecting the gas!


2. Detach all removable parts

Wearing work gloves, remove the BBQ grates and all metal plates.


3. Remove any excess fat

Scrub away excess fat from the BBQ. Ensure you scrub both sides of the grill to eradicate fat clinging to the bottom!


4. Clean each component

Place all parts (plates, warmer racks and flame diffusers) in a bucket filled with warm soapy water. Use a sponge to clean each piece.


VonHaus top tip

Soak stainless-steel warmer racks in warm water and laundry power for an hour before scrubbing them clean with a scouring pad.

Rinse and dry.


 5. Clean the BBQ body with hot soapy water

Clean the main body of the BBQ with hot soapy water and a soft scourer. Don’t worry; you won’t have to do this every time – BBQ wipes will keep your BBQ squeaky clean between washes.


6. Leave all parts to dry

Ensure all parts are completely dry before proceeding to step 7.


7. Protect the grill with cooking oil

Protect the grill by spraying both sides with cooking oil – it pays to keep the cooking surface coated in oil to prevent the hot plate from rusting. Next, line the drip tray with foil and cover it with a fat absorber. Pop the tray back under the grill.


8. Reassemble the BBQ and fire it up

Connect the gas, season the plates, and fire up the BBQ.


9. Let the BBQ burn off any residue

Leave the BBQ on for 15-20 minutes to burn off any residue.

After cleaning your BBQ, conduct these quick safety checks: 

Disconnect the propane tank and check the hose for damage after each use – if it’s cracked or worn out, it needs replacing.

Check the gas seal and bottle hose for damage or erosion, as this can cause a gas leak.

How to clean a charcoal BBQ

A black charcoal BBQ on decking in a summer gardenA black charcoal BBQ on decking in a summer garden


Ash and carbon quickly accumulate on charcoal BBQs, so give yours a deep clean at least once a year (more if you’re a frequent griller).

Cleaning a charcoal BBQ involves three easy steps:

Clean the grill and charcoal grate

Remove ash and clean the tray and bottom of the BBQ

Reassemble the BBQ and leave it to air dry


Here’s how to clean a charcoal BBQ in ten easy steps:


1. Remove the grill grate

Place your BBQ in an open space outside (things might get messy!) and remove the grill grate.


2. Clean the grill

Using a long-handled wire brush*, clean the BBQ grill grate and remove any residue.


3. Coat the grills in oil

Once the grill is squeaky clean, use a cloth to apply vegetable oil. This prevents food from sticking to the grate and prevents rust.


4. Remove any ash and residue

Ash can accumulate and block the grill vents, making it tricky to control the temperature dial. So, it’s best to take the charcoal grate off to get rid of any remaining ash.


5. Clean the inside of the cook box and lid

After removing the ash, use a brush and mild soap to clean the cook box and lid.

See those little black bits on the inside of the lid? Don’t worry; the paint isn’t peeling – they’re deposits from grease and smoke, which you can remove with a hard-wire brush.


6. Clean the charcoal grate with foil

Scrunch foil into a ball and scrub away any remaining debris. Why foil? It’s less abrasive than a scourer but still gets the job done!


7. Put the charcoal grate back on

Place the grate back into position and add new charcoal for your next cookout.


8. Clean the outside of the cook box and lid

Clean the outside of the cook box and lid using soap and water. If the gunk is particularly stubborn, grab some grill cleaning spray.


9. Dry and cover

Dry your BBQ with a towel and cover the grill – this serves two purposes: it’ll prevent rust and extend the life of your BBQ. Our waterproof protective covers are ideal and come in all sizes to fit any BBQ.

VonHaus top tip 

Clean the grates after each use while they’re still warm, preventing food and grease from hardening.

If you BBQ often, try to replace the grate brush frequently to keep it in tip-top shape.  


BBQ cleaning tips: How to clean different BBQ parts

So far we’ve covered cleaning the two main types of BBQ, so let’s take a deep dive into cleaning specific BBQ parts.

This section explains includes six sections, explaining how to clean:

BBQ heat plates

How to season a BBQ

How to clean a rusty BBQ

How to clean a BBQ drip tray

How to clean a BBQ body

How to clean BBQ burners


Let’s get into it! 

How to clean BBQ heat plates

Cleaning a BBQ heat plateCleaning a BBQ heat plate


Heat plates minimise flare-ups and extend the life of your grill burners by diverting grease away from them and incinerating dripping.

However, food often gets stuck to the plates’ flat surface, so you’ll need to clean them regularly.

Here’s how to do it:

Turn the BBQ on and let It burn away any residue on the heat plate

Scrape away any remaining residue with a spatula

Turn the BBQ off and let it cool

Pour cooking oil on the plate and spread with a brush. Dry with a cloth

Repeat this procedure before you use the BBQ again


And that’s it! Squeaky clean heat plates for you.

But they can get greasy, too, and while firing up the BBQ kills bacteria, stuck-on fats can contaminate your food.

Don’t worry; here’s an easy way to eradicate grease:

Cleaning greasy BBQ heat plates

Set the BBQ to a high temperature and let it heat up.

Scrape away the surface residue with a spatula.

Turn the BBQ off and sprinkle salt on the surface to absorb any excess grease.

Once the BBQ has cooled, wipe the surface down the surface with a kitchen towel.

How to season a BBQ

Seasoning a BBQ with oil protects against corrosion and creates a stick-resistant cooking surface.

Here’s how to season your BBQ in three simple steps:

Step 1

Pour some cooking oil on the plate and spread with a kitchen towel.

Step 2

Set the BBQ to medium heat. This will cause the oil to smoke and the surface to become discoloured – don’t worry, this is the oil bonding with the metal.

Keep the BBQ on until it stops smoking and the surface turns grey – this takes around half an hour.

Step 3

When the entire plate turns grey, turn off the BBQ.

Leave the BBQ to cool before adding another layer of oil.

How to clean a rusty BBQ

Jar of baking soda on a rusty BBQ grillJar of baking soda on a rusty BBQ grill


In some cases, like steel or cast-iron corrosion, rust is unavoidable.

But while it’s inevitable, you can clean a rusty BBQ and restore its natural shine. Just remember, you’ll be cooking on the surface, so no harsh chemicals!

To clean rusty BBQ plates safely and effectively, grab these cleaning tools and follow the five easy steps:


A spatula or metal scraper

Baking soda

Cooking oil

Thick paper towels

Grill stone block


1. Set the BBQ to a high heat

Turn on the BBQ and leave it for 15-20 minutes on a high heat. This will loosen rust and debris.

Turn off the BBQ and let it cool.


2. Remove any rust and debris with a metal scraper or spatula

Scrape away any rust and debris and wipe the surface with a paper towel.

Do this when the BBQ plate is completely dry – water is what causes rust, after all!


3. If there is excess rust, set the BBQ to a high heat again

Set the BBQ to a high heat and cover the rusty BBQ plate with baking soda. The baking soda will bubble and remove any excess rust. 

Once the bubbling reaction stops, turn off the BBQ.


4. Pour cooking oil on the BBQ plate and rub with a grill stone

After pouring on the cooking oil, rub the rustiest spots with a grill stone.


5. Add more cooking oil and give the surface a final wipe

Add more cooking oil and wipe the plate until all the rust is gone.

Missed a bit? Just grab your grill stone and give it another scrub before wiping the surface with thick paper towels or an old rag.

How to clean a BBQ drip tray

Now we’re in the trenches...

BBQ drip trays are notoriously difficult to clean – especially if you don’t do it often.

But stuck-on grease is a fire hazard, so make it easy on yourself – and your barbie – by cleaning it after every 3-4 uses. All you’ll need is some aluminium foil, a bit of sand, and some warm soapy water.

All prepped? Okay, here’s how to clean a BBQ drip tray:

  • Line the tray with aluminium foil
  • Fill the tray with sand (just enough to cover the bottom). This will absorb most of the grease while the foil protects the tray
  • After filling the tray, remove the sand and foil
  • Wash the tray with warm soapy water before leaving it to dry
  • Repeat the process

How to clean a BBQ body

Cleaning a BBQ body with a spongeCleaning a BBQ body with a sponge


After all that scrubbing, you’ll be glad to hear cleaning the BBQ’s body is the easiest part! Use this super-simple method to clean the exterior regardless of the material:

Wipe the BBQ down with a moist cloth; buff it with a dry one. That’s it!

If the BBQ is particularly dirty, wash it with warm water and mild dish detergent, scrubbing with a sponge if necessary.

How to clean BBQ burners

Before cleaning the BBQ burners, turn off the gas supply and disconnect the gas tank.

Next, detach all BBQ parts restricting access to the burners (grates, grill, trays etc.). It’s best to have the BBQ instruction manual to hand as you’ll need to reattach the parts in the correct order after cleaning.

Now you’re prepped, follow these three steps for squeaky clean BBQ burners:


  • Brush away food debris or dirt from the burner tube using a hardwire brush
  • Unblock any clogged ports with a drill bit or toothpick
  • If your BBQ has infrared ceramic burners, set the heat to full power to burn away any remaining residue

So, there you have it, a squeaky-clean BBQ ready to cook up a storm!

And if you’re hungry for more DIY care guides, delicious recipes and interior inspiration, head over to our blog – it’s packed full of handy hacks to level up your life!

Until next time friends, happy BBQing!

2022-08-17 09:48:00 0 viewed
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