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Which? advice: clean your BBQ for a longer lifespan

Five top tips to extend the life of your BBQ

Barbecue cleaning kit

A basic BBQ cleaning kit will help your grill last longer by cleaning without damaging surfaces

Planning a BBQ this bank holiday weekend? Follow our cleaning tips to prevent rust and keep your gas or charcoal grill working for years to come.

Keeping your BBQ clean won’t only help to prevent nasty stomach upsets, it can also keep it in a good working condition for longer.

Many gas BBQs have to be replaced because the gas burners or metal body succumb to rust. 

Follow our tips to keep your BBQ in working order, or find out which ones have excelled in our tests with our guide to Which? Best Buy BBQs.

1. Assemble your BBQ cleaning kit

It is worth giving your BBQ a basic clean of the grills after each use and a deep clean every three months. You’ll want to clean it without damaging the paint or metal surfaces which can allow rust to start forming. 

Basic BBQ cleaning kit

  • Rubber gloves – to protect your hands
  • Brush with stainless steel bristles – to remove baked-on food and carbonised grease
  • Lint-free cloth for cleaning, drying and buffing surfaces
  • Warm soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge pad – to remove stains
  • Mild glass cleaner – to clean painted surfaces
  • Stainless steel cleaner – to clean polished metal surfaces

Top tip: It’s wise to 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.

Many manufacturers sell their own BBQ-cleaning products and have videos of their recommended cleaning methods online.

Find out which are the best gas barbecue brands.

2. Bake off grease deposits

Leave your gas or charcoal BBQ with the heat and lid on for 15 minutes to bake grease and food deposits into a blackened layer which is easier to remove than liquid grease.

Leave the BBQ to cool down and remove the coals and ash from a charcoal grill or disconnect the gas bottle from a gas grill. 

3. Clean the lid and grills

Use a stainless steel grill brush to remove carbonised grease from the inside of the lid and the cooking grills. Remove the grills, and flavouriser bars of gas BBQs, then wash these and the lid with warm soapy water and a non-scratch sponge pad.

Top tip: Avoid a build-up of carbonised grease on the BBQ lid by wiping over with a damp rag while it’s still warm to remove moisture and debris.

Cleaning a barbecue with tools

Removing carbonised grease from a BBQ lid and clearing the gas burners

Caring for metal and painted surfaces

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. 

Top tip: Clean with a side-to-side motion in the direction of the metal grain and then buff until shiny.

4. Cleaning the gas burners

Clean the gas burners using a steel brush to remove deposits. Use a metal pin or BBQ skewer to unblock individual gas outlets, taking care not to put debris into the burner itself.

Top tip: Brush across the width of the burner rather than along the length of it to avoid pushing debris from one hole to another. 

Wash with warm soapy water and dry with a lint-free cloth.

5. Clean the cavity of the BBQ

Remove big deposits of food particles or grease and then clean the inside with warm, soapy water and a sponge. Rinse and dry with a lint-free cloth.

Top tip: Use a flat metal tool, such as a putty knife or a paint scraper, to remove large grease deposits.

Empty and clean the drip tray and replace any drip-tray liners ready for the next time you use your BBQ.

And finally:

Apply a thin coating of vegetable oil to your grills and reassemble your barbecue. 

If possible, store it in a shed or garage to provide the best protection from the elements, otherwise use a good-quality BBQ cover to protect it from the rain.

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