As autumn draws in, it’s time to clean and store your BBQ properly to avoid your first cook-up of next summer starting with a trip to buy a new grill.
Many gas BBQs have to be replaced because the gas burners or metal body succumb to rust over the winter months. Follow our tips to stop the rust setting in and to keep your BBQ in working order after the winter.
Find out which grills have excelled in our tests with our guide to Which Best Buy barbecues.
1. Protect your BBQ from the elements
Rust usually starts because the metal surfaces of a BBQ get damaged and then damp.
So the the ideal place to store your BBQ is in a shed or garage, away from rain, frost and freezing temperatures.
Otherwise it’s wise to invest in a BBQ cover, which will cost from £15 to £60. Look for a cover that fits well and is easy to put on and take off. Covers have a habit of blowing off in strong winds, so look for one that has strong ties to attach it to the frame or use a rope to tie it on.
2. Give your grill a proper clean before storing it
Check your BBQ’s cleaning instructions first to ensure that the cleaning equipment you use won’t damage your grill or invalidate your warranty – some recommend the use of wire-wool scouring pads and others don’t.
Every BBQ that Which? tests is assessed for how easy it is to clean. To find out which ones are the easiest to clean visit our barbecue reviews.
The basic steps are to:
- Bake off grease deposits by leaving your grill with the heat and lid on for 15 minutes.
- Leave to cool down. Dispose of charcoal and ash, or disconnect the gas bottle.
- Scrape bits of carbonised grease off the lid and grills with a stainless steel brush.
- Wash the body, grills and flavouriser bars with a sponge and warm water.
- Use a metal pin or BBQ skewer to unblock individual gas outlets, taking care not to put debris into the burner itself.
- Clean stains from painted lids with warm soapy water and polish up with a mild glass cleaner and lint-free cloth.
- Use a mild stainless steel cleaner on the metal parts of the lid or metal shelves.
- Wash the gas burner and body of the BBQ with warm soapy water.
- Dry everything with a lint-free cloth.
3. How to stop cooking grates from rusting
Damaging the surface or coating on your cooking grills/grids/grates can let rust get a foothold. You need to treat the different types of grill materials in different ways to stop this happening.
Cast iron grills
These rust easily unless they’re kept seasoned. After cleaning the grill with warm soapy water and removing any rust with steel wool, dry thoroughly and then wipe over with a highly saturated solid fat such as lard or palm oil. Put them back in the BBQ with the burners on medium heat for a while, then leave them to cool before storing.
Stainless steel grills
After cleaning with a steel brush and warm soapy water dry the grills, then apply a light layer of vegetable oil before storing them away.
Chrome-coated wire grills
Avoid cleaning these with wire wool which can damage the surface – just wash them with hot, soapy water. Use a chrome cleaner if necessary. To prevent rusting, wipe them with cooking oil after rinsing and drying.
4. Final BBQ checks
Before you put your gas BBQ away take a bit of time to check the hose that connects the gas bottle to the BBQ. Remove fat or oil deposits and check the hose for kinks, splits and signs that the rubber is perishing – if it is order a replacement hose before next spring. Store the hose away from frost and direct sunlight.
Storing your cooking gas
- Store gas bottles in an upright position
- Store gas bottles in well-ventilated places
- Ensure gas bottles are stored away from heat and ignition sources
- Make sure gas bottles are stored outdoors, away from building entry/exit points, drains, frost and direct sunlight
- Store gas bottles below ground level
- Keep gas bottles near any corrosive, toxic or oxidant material