Cleaning the barbecue: practical advice to ensure you get great results

by Mark Bennett

July 08, 2024



Summertime is the season for barbecues (BBQ) with friends and relatives, so it's imperative that your barbecue and its grills are kept in tip-top condition.

So, when is it best to clean the BBQ - when it's still warm/hot or once it's cooled down? Well, below, we provide some useful advice when it come to doing this chore:

The best ways to clean the BBQ

There are different ways that you can clean your BBQ, and each way uses different tools; you can also clean the BBQ when it is cold or hot - just follow these steps:

  • To cold-clean the BBQ, wait for it to cool down completely and then scrub the grill with a special barbecue (wire) brush or with crumpled aluminum foil. For very stubborn grime, you can turn on the burners to maximum to char the residue, making it easier to remove later;
  • Another useful, cold-cleaning method uses all-natural and mild detergents that dissolve away dirt: you can make a solution of water and baking soda (or water and vinegar) and spray this directly onto the grill; leave on to act for 15 minutes before scrubbing off with a sponge. Alternatively, soak the grill in a solution of water and Marseille soap for 20 minutes, then scrub the dirty areas with a damp sponge;
  • Hot-cleaning, on the other hand, can be done using an onion or a lemon cut in half, and placed directly on the grill (being careful not to burn yourself, of course); then, scrub the onion or lemon over the grill using a fork. A BBQ brush will also be handy when cleaning a hot BBQ.


How to properly clean the rest of the BBQ

Lachlan Hardy/Flickr

The housing frame/body of the BBQ also needs to be thoroughly cleaned, along with the grills. Again, cleaning methods will be different depending on your BBQ model and type:

  • Electric BBQ: unplug the BBQ and wait until it is completely cold; then remove any food residue you can with a damp sponge. The hood and body can be cleaned by simply wiping them down with a damp cloth and using a solution of water and baking soda. Make sure the barbecue is completely dry before plugging it back in;
  • Gas BBQ: disconnect the gas, then scrub the BBQ with a steel brush to remove any solid residue; once done, wash down all surfaces with hot water and vinegar. Wipe down the hood and the body with a cloth dampened in a mixture of water and neutral soap (and also making sure to carefully clean the gas knobs);
  • Charcoal BBQ: this is the most common BBQ model/type and must first be cleared of the charcoal and ashes (once the embers have cooled down, of course). Remove any grease using a scraper, then clean both the inside and outside of the BBQ using a cloth dampened with hot water.

Using these cleaning methods, your barbecue will be pristine again in no time!