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The Correct (And Simple) Way to Clean Your BBQ: A Step-by-Step Guide

The Correct (And Simple) Way to Clean Your BBQ: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that August is finally here, your barbecue will likely need some serious cleaning TLC.  We break down exactly what you need to do – and how long it will take to clean BBQ grill grates, the inside of a gas grill, the grill top and how to clean a BBQ after a grease fire.


Published on June 30, 2018, Updated August 1, 2022.

Step 1: Dial In

Safety is always a top priority. If you have a propane barbecue, confirm all the dials are firmly off and disconnect the tank before doing anything else. If the tank is empty, fill it up on your next hardware store run, so when the BBQ is clean, you’re ready to grill. 

Time count: 1 minute

A clean silver grate of the a grill.

Clean grilling surface of a new BBQ. Copy space. CLICK FOR...

Related: How to Clean Outdoor Furniture Like a Pro

Step 2: Grate Minds

Pop on a pair of work gloves to protect against metal splinters and gobs of old grease. Remove the grill, grates, grease pan, and other removable metal pieces. Fill up a large garden bucket with a squirt of regular dish soap and hot water and let the parts sit in the suds for 10 minutes. 

Time count: 1 minute

Step 3: Brush Strokes

Place a piece of aluminum foil over the BBQ’s heating elements to protect them from falling debris. Grab a nearby metal-bristled grill brush and go to town scrubbing under the hood, sides and any other area that’s been in the draft path of that greasy cooking smoke. If you come across areas that look like peeling paint, carbon build-up will likely brush off with a bit of elbow grease.

Time count: 5 minutes

Step 4: Wipe Down

For the most satisfying part of the cleaning process, take a couple of damp towels and wipe down the walls and hood, picking up and whisking away any carbon build-up, ash and rust that’s fallen down while scrubbing.

Time count: 2 minutes


Step 5: Brush Strokes

Remove the grates and grill from the hot soapy water and find a clean, sturdy wall to lean them up against. Use the grill brush to scrape away any now-loosened debris and hardened grease. The filth should be easy to get off at this point since the soaking step is designed to loosen and lighten the greasy barbecue build-up.

Time count: 3 minutes

A closed silver grill with black buttons.

A brand new stainless steel bbq being used for the first...

Related: How to Bring Style to Your Deck: Best Deck Design Ideas

Step 6: Hose Control

Next, pull out a garden hose. Spray down the metal pieces and rinse away all the soap. Use a towel to soak up any remaining water to prevent future rusting. 

Time count: 3 minutes

Step 7: Clean Sweep

If your barbecue has a stand or casing, get a hard-bristled broom to sweep out any debris, dirt or leaves that have been hiding. Give the exterior a good wipe down as well. You don’t want particles floating up and landing on your steak mid-flip. Plus, it’ll look better when it’s free from mud and old mustard spills.

Time count: 3 minutes

A group of friends grilling veggies on a porch in the summer.

Related: These Stylish Pizza Ovens Are a Slice of Outdoor Heaven

Step 8: Reuse Recycle

Remove the protective aluminum foil and shake the debris in the garbage – if it’s not too damaged, be sure you place the foil in the recycling bin. Replace the now-sparkling metal plates, grills, grates and drip pan, and reconnect the propane tank. And voila! You’re ready to get grilling. Try these recipes for easy summer entertaining

Time count: 2 minutes

Images courtesy of Pexels and Getty Images. 

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