The barbecue is a prevalent Australian tradition during summer that has been gaining popularity practically all over the world. Nowadays everybody likes to spend some time outdoors, talking to friendly people and eating grilled meat and vegetables. The time spent grilling and enjoying our time may be pleasant, but after it comes the time to clean. And barbecues are quite difficult to clean, thanks to all the grease and small meat particles stuck to it. Fortunately, experts have gathered this little guide with a few neat BBQ cleaning tricks, which will help you handle the situation.
Tools you might need
- Newspaper or kitchen roll – actually any paper will do.
- A bucket full of water – be sure to have a chance to get water a couple of times.
- Wet cloth – a regular kitchen cloth will do.
- Safety rubber gloves
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Dishwashing detergent
- Oven cleaner/degreaser
- Scrubbing stone
- Wire brush
- Scraper tool – many types of BBQ cleaning gadgets can be found on the market, especially on eBay. There are various affordable 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 devices to include a wire brush and a deep scraper; some are even electrically powered.
Efficient DIY BBQ cleaning solutions
Many people use tin foil to wrap their barbecues in it, so all the splashes and food will get stuck to it instead of the BBQ itself. This is a great way to protect your grill, but what many people don’t take into account is the fact the tin foil can also be used as a BBQ cleaning solution. You can ball up a piece of tin foil with your hand and then use it to scrub the BBQ with it. Since both the grill and the foil are made from metal, it will be a lot easier to take the dirt off the BBQ. It reaches even those hidden nooks and crannies, because the foil is soft and malleable, and it can fit perfectly between the individual bars.
Vinegar is the other potent BBQ cleaning solution. As you may know, it’s a powerful disinfectant, which can kill all the dangerous germs from every kind of surface. If you want, you can use it in combination with baking soda – mix one cup of soda with two cups of white vinegar, and apply it to the BBQ. After a while, the grease will come off all by itself. Just scrub a little, wash off and dry. The barbecue should be good as new.
Lately, the idea of green cleaning has become more and more popular among homeowners and even professional BBQ cleaners. Baking soda is one of those natural cleaners, which can take care of different stains and dissolve grease and other types of oil. This makes the baking soda not only a great way to give our cakes some volume but also to clean our oven and BBQ grill correctly. You can use only baking soda and some warm water to scrub down hard to remove dirt, or you can combine it with white vinegar for explosive results.
The oxygenated bleach is a safer alternative to all the toxic BBQ cleaners out there. As you may know, once oxygenated bleach gets in touch with water, it starts to fizz. The oxygen molecules are then released, which can assist in doing your scrubbing for you. The only thing you need to do is soak the BBQ in a bucket filled with this solution and wait for a while. Just don’t leave it overnight, because most grills might get rust on them unless they are made from stainless steel.
How to clean the BBQ drip tray
The drip tray is the flat metal container that gathers all the grease beneath the grills, so cleaning it can be quite a challenge. Don’t let it accumulate for too long because this will cut the tray’s lifespan short. Get a metal scraper, remove the tray gently from the barbecue, and scrape all the fat away. It’s not a very pleasant task, but you will be surprised at how good it feels to do it. Then you can use some paper or an old rag to remove the excess fat and prepare it for washing. If the BBQ drip tray is mildly stained, you can wash it with dishwashing liquid and water. For bigger messes, spread some baking soda and pour white vinegar on top of it. Please wait for it to foam for at least 15 minutes, then wash as usual.
How to clean BBQ hot plates
The next challenge on the list is the hot plates. Just like the drip tray, the hot plates also gather burnt food and grease that you need to scrape. Leave the BBQ on for a few minutes to loosen them; this will make it come off faster. Use some newspaper to clear all the loose dirt. If the hot plates are filthy, you can soak them in a vinegar and baking soda solution or spray them generously with a degreaser and wash everything away.
How to clean BBQ grill grates
Grill grates are trickier to clean than hotplates because the dirt can drip between the two sides and get stuck between the grates. This is why once you scrape all the bigger chunks on dirt, you need to soak them for a more extended period. This will loosen all the burnt food and grease, which will allow you to clean it easier. Here is the full process you should follow:
- Preheat the grill grates
- Begin rough cleaning with a scraper
- Grab a wire brush, dipped in water first. Scrub everything clean inch by inch.
- Soak the grill grates for at least half an hour in a bucket filled with hot soapy water.
- Continue with a detailed wiping using a wet cloth to remove the remaining dirt.
- Apply a cleaning detergent of choice (simple dishwashing liquid or a degreaser will do the job).
- Rinse well at the end and make sure there are no bristles or dirt left anywhere on the surface and between the grates.
Wipe the entire BBQ down
When we cook, food and sauces often spill, and they can stain the body of the BBQ itself. Get a wet rag dipped in soapy water and wash down the outside of your device, to make sure it shines again. Then rinse with some water and dry it with a paper cloth, to make sure there won’t be any water stains after it dries.
Useful BBQ maintenance tips
To keep the BBQ in good condition and serving you longer, cleaning is an essential part of its maintenance. However, if you’d like to prevent rust and mould during the months it stays in storage, there are a few extra steps you can take:
- Clean after each use. The best way to deal with grime and grease is to prevent it from building up. Cleaning before and after each use will save you time (I know it doesn’t sound like it, but it is true). When you clean after you have used it, the grease and the food particles are still warm and very easy to wipe away.
- If you haven’t cleaned and used it in a while, definitely use scrapers or a scrubbing stone. Regular sponges will only waste your time.
- Keep the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions at hand. You may have to consult them if you have doubts about how to clean your BBQ. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Clean and empty the grease trays every few uses – absolutely necessary! Check the local rules and regulations for safely disposing of old grease and make sure you get safely rid of yours.
- When it comes to grates, the best practice is to wash and clean them after every use. It sounds sad, but in the long term you will avoid all that tireless scrubbing, so it’s worth it.
- Line your drip tray. If you line the drip tray with some aluminium foil, it will be protected, and you won’t have to worry about scraping it clean. If you want to take things even further, you can invest in some Fat-sorb. It’s a product similar to kitty litter, but it absorbs grease while you cook and makes it very easy to clean afterwards. You’ll have to replace it every ten uses or so.
- Always oil your hot plates and grates after cleaning. This will protect them from rust, and the meat won’t stick as much.
- Cover your BBQ with something when you’re not using it. This way, it won’t be exposed to different unpleasant factors, like dust and corrosion.
Remember there are professional cleaning experts who can assist you with any tasks that may be too large or difficult. Be sure to check public reviews and ask any questions you deem necessary.