It is worth giving your BBQ grills a basic clean 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.
1. Check your BBQ’s cleaning instructions
Make sure that the cleaning equipment you use won’t damage your grill or invalidate your warranty - for example, some recommend the use of wire-wool scouring pads and others don't.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wash with warm soapy water and dry with a lint-free cloth.
Brush across the width of the burner rather than along the length of it to avoid pushing debris from one hole to another.
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.
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.
6. Protect your barbecue
Apply a thin coating of vegetable oil to your grills and reassemble your barbecue.
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.
1. Protect your barbecue 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. 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.
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.
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.
3. Final BBQ checks
Before you put your gas BBQ away, take a bit of time to check the following:
Make sure it's clean and dry.
Check the hose that connects the gas bottle to the BBQ and remove fat or oil deposits. Look 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.