Cleaning the grill: Everything you need to know
Having a clean barbecue is not only beneficial for the flavour of your food, it is also essential to ensure that your barbecue lasts for many years and that you can prepare your food in a hygienic way.
Regardless of whether you are new to barbecuing or a seasoned barbecuing enthusiast, this guide is designed to give you a variety of practical, easy-to-understand instructions for keeping your barbecue clean and ready to use.
Why is it important to clean a barbecue?
When you invest time and money in a good barbecue, it is very natural to want it to last as long as possible and provide the best “experience” every time you light it up. Proper cleaning of your barbecue is absolutely essential for its enjoyment, and it is something that should become a regular part of your barbecuing routine.
Regular cleaning contributes significantly to extending the life of the barbecue. Food debris, grease and other accumulated substances can cause corrosion and rust on barbecue surfaces and various mechanisms, especially if the barbecue is made of cast iron or stainless steel. By removing these accumulations, you can avoid unnecessary damage and ensure that your barbecue continues to be as good as new. Or very close to it.
A clean barbecue is also essential for achieving the best taste. Old food scraps and accumulated fat can affect the taste of the foods you barbecue, and this is rarely in a good way. By keeping the barbecue clean, you can be sure that only the taste of the food you are cooking will come out.
There is also the whole health aspect. Food debris left on the barbecue can harbour bacteria that can be transferred to the food you cook. Some will simply choose to burn off the bacteria when the barbecue starts up, but that is not always enough.
By regularly cleaning your barbecue, you eliminate these potential health risks and ensure that your barbecue is safe to use.
By making cleaning a regular part of your barbecuing routine, you can enjoy tasty, safe food from a barbecue that lasts for many years. Below you can learn more about how to actually clean the barbecue.
What do I need to clean the barbecue grill plate and the rest of the barbecue?
Cleaning your barbecue in depth requires more than just a quick wipe. It probably will not surprise you. But in fact, you need a number of different products to tackle your dirty barbecue and grill plate.
Here is a list of the most essential equipment and cleaning products that will help you get your barbecue sparkling clean (again):
- Barbecue grill plate brush: This is your first line of defence against burnt-on dirt and food residue on your barbecue grill plate. A good barbecue grill brush has stiff bristles that can scrub effectively without damaging the grill. Make it a habit to use it every time you use your barbecue.
- Soap: A mild soap solution can be incredibly effective in loosening and removing dirt. You can use ordinary washing-up liquid, but there are also special barbecue cleaners available that are designed to cope with stubborn stains. You can also use green soap - you can read more about that below.
- Tubs: A large tub is useful for softening and pre-soaking the various elements of the barbecue prior to cleaning. A mixture of warm water and soap can loosen burnt-on dirt and make it easier to scrub away.
- Grease dissolving detergent: This is a must-have for tackling grease stains that can be difficult to remove with regular soap and water. If you have a spray with fat dissolver, you can also prevent a lot of dirt accumulating.
- Soft sponge: A soft sponge is ideal for cleaning the exterior of the barbecue and the more delicate components. It can effectively remove dirt without scratching the surface. That way, you can ensure that you keep the barbecue clean without damaging it.
As you can see, these different products and solutions are essential for cleaning your barbecue and keeping it looking good. And by having them on hand, you can ensure that your barbecue is thoroughly cleaned every time. Remember that regular maintenance is key to a clean and well-functioning barbecue.
Can I use green soap to clean my barbecue?
You can also use green soap to clean your barbecue. green soap is an effective and natural cleanser that is known for its grease-dissolving properties. It can help loosen burnt-on dirt and grease on the barbecue grill plate and other parts of the barbecue.
You can mix green soap with warm water to make a cleaning solution. Apply the solution to the barbecue, let it work for a few minutes and then scrub with a brush. Remember to rinse the barbecue thoroughly with fresh water after cleaning to remove any soap residue. Biltema unfortunately does not have green soap on its shelves, but we have many alternatives for your barbecue cleaning.
Step-by-step guide to cleaning the barbecue
You now have all the tools and cleaning products you need to clean the barbecue. Below is a step-by-step guide to cleaning barbecues. You can follow these instructions, regardless of whether you want to give your barbecue a thorough clean or if you have just dug it out of winter storage and want to get it ready for a new season.
Cleaning the barbecue grill plate
Cleaning the barbecue grill plate is an important task, as this is where your food will be prepared. Start by removing any larger food debris using a barbecue grill brush. If there is stubborn dirt or rust, you may need to soak the grill plate first. Fill a large tub with a mixture of warm water and soap and leave the grill plate in the solution for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Once the grill plate has had a good soak, brush off any burnt-on dirt and rust with the barbecue grill brush. In case of stubborn stains, a mixture of baking soda and water can be used as a natural scrubbing agent. After brushing, rinse the grill plate with fresh water and wipe thoroughly.
Cleaning the inside of the barbecue
Cleaning the inside of the barbecue is just as important as cleaning the grill plate. Start by turning off the barbecue and carefully removing any heater element. Wash the drip tray with warm soapy water and a soft sponge. To remove stubborn dirt, you can use a barbecue grill brush or a scouring brush. Remember to rinse and dry thoroughly after cleaning.
Carefully unscrew all parts and wash each component separately. If there is burnt-on dirt or grease, it may be necessary to let the parts soak in a soap solution before brushing. Once all the parts are clean, wipe them off and put them back in place.
Cleaning the outside of the barbecue
Cleaning the outside of the barbecue not only helps make your barbecue look great, but it also protects the barbecue's materials, including the stainless steel and cast iron surfaces. Wipe the barbecue with a soft cloth dipped in warm soapy water. Use a soft sponge to rub on stubborn stains. Avoid using hard scouring brushes as they can scratch and damage the surface of the barbecue.
Post-cleaning treatment of the barbecue
Once your barbecue is clean and dry, it is time to treat it. Lubricate the barbecue grill plate with a flavourless oil on a dry cloth, as this can help prevent rust and make it easier to clean after future grilling sessions. Use a paper towel or dry cloth to spread the oil evenly over the grill plate.
Treatment may also include applying a protective coating to the external surfaces of the barbecue. It is especially advantageous to treat the outside surface of the barbecue if it is made of stainless steel or cast iron.
Avoid cleaning: How to store your barbecue correctly
Storing your barbecue properly is just as important as regular cleaning. At least if you want to ensure the longevity and performance of your barbecue for many years.
First of all, ensure that the barbecue is completely clean and dry before storing it. This will help prevent rust and damage caused by moisture and dirt.
If you have a covered terrace or shed, this is the ideal place to store your barbecue. This will protect it from the effects of the weather and minimise the risk of rust and damage.
If you do not have a covered area available, consider investing in a barbecue cover. A barbecue cover is designed to fit snugly over the barbecue and provides an extra layer of protection against the elements. It can also help keep the barbecue clean and free of dust and dirt while it is waiting for a new barbecue season to start.
When you are ready to use the barbecue again after a long period of storage, clean it thoroughly. Start by rinsing the barbecue with cold water to remove loose dirt. After that, you can use warm soapy water to clean the barbecue more thoroughly. If you encounter stubborn dirt, you can use a barbecue grill brush to scrub the area. Remember to rinse the barbecue thoroughly after cleaning to remove any soap residue.
Some people also choose to let the grill plate burn off the first time they use it again after a long period.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your barbecue remains in top shape and is ready to use, no matter how long it has been left unused.
Extra tips and tricks for easy cleaning of the barbecue
A clean barbecue not only means better flavour, but also safer and more efficient grilling. Here are some extra tips and tricks to make cleaning your barbecue even easier:
- Use a new foil tray to collect fat: One of the biggest challenges of cleaning a barbecue is dealing with the grease that drips down from food during cooking. An easy solution is to place a new foil tray under the barbecue grill plate to collect this grease. When you are done barbecuing, you can simply throw away the foil tray, which makes cleaning-up much easier. But you can often use the foil tray several times, so you do not waste unnecessary resources by throwing out a foil tray after every single time you have a barbecue.
- Use paper towels to grease the barbecue grill plate: Before you start barbecuing, we recommend lubricating the barbecue grill plate to prevent food from sticking. You can do this easily by dipping a paper towel in a flavourless oil, and then using tongs to rub the paper towel over the surface of the grill plate.
- Apply a mild soap solution to get rid of dirt more easily: While powerful cleaners can be effective in removing stubborn dirt, they can also be harsh on barbecue surfaces. A mild soap solution can often be just as effective, and it will not damage the finish of the barbecue or leave residue that could affect the flavour of the food. It's a great tip to keep your barbecue clean on an ongoing basis.
- Keep your barbecue grill brush clean: A clean barbecue grill brush is essential for effective cleaning. After each use, be sure to rinse the brush under warm water to remove any food debris. If the brush starts to look worn or the bristles become loose, replace it immediately to avoid loose bristles ending up in your food.
- Store the barbecue properly: After cleaning, as we said, it is important to store the barbecue correctly to protect it from the elements and extend its service life. Always use a barbecue cover and make sure the barbecue is completely dry before covering it. When the barbecue is dry, you ensure that no mould or anything else unwanted gets into the barbecue. You do not need to worry about rust if your barbecue is made of stainless steel – but it is still best that your barbecue is dry.
By following these tips and tricks, you can make cleaning your barbecue an easy and routine part of barbecuing, ensuring you always get the best results every time you light up the barbecue.
Summary: How to successfully clean a barbecue
Keeping your barbecue clean is a crucial part of ensuring an optimal barbecuing experience. From extending the life and performance of the barbecue to improving the taste of food and hygiene, regular cleaning is essential. As well as being a time and financial investment that pays off in the end.
In this guide, we have covered how to step-by-step clean your barbecue, including the grill plate, inside and outside, as well as how to treat the barbecue to protect and extend its lifespan. We have also covered the essentials of proper barbecue storage and given you some extra tips and tricks to make cleaning easier.