Step-by-Step Guide: How to Clean Your Grill

large Weber barbeque grill with cleaning products sitting on the side

There’s nothing like having a good ol’ barbecue with family and good friends! Those memories of great food and great company will last a lifetime but can you say the same about your charcoal barbecue grill? Well, unless cleaned and maintained properly, it certainly won’t last very long. 

While everyone enjoys some finger-licking good barbecue right off the grill, no one likes to clean up the mess it leaves behind! Burnt-on grease and charred food bits blacken your grill over time, making it that much harder to restore to its original appearance. Above this, the overall condition of the grill will also suffer if proper maintenance is not provided. 

So, if you want to know how to clean your grill and keep it clean, check out our simple, five-step cleaning guide below, along with some crucial maintenance tips for a long-lasting BBQ grill!

Step One: Get the Grill Going Again

a soiled barbeque grill ready for cleaning

A steel grill that’s been sitting idle (and greasy) for a while will require a lot of elbow grease to scrub down. In fact, some dried up, burnt-on foods don’t come off at all unless heat is applied. The easiest and most effortless way to do this is to light the coal and leave the grill over the heat for a good 20-30 minutes.

If your grill has a lid, be sure to keep it covered so that more heat is trapped inside. The purpose of using heat in the process of cleaning your grill is owed to the carbonisation that takes place when high temperatures are introduced to grease. This leaves the oily substance crusty which is far easier to scrub off as compared to stuck-on grease.

WARNING: Do not attempt to clean your grill while it is still hot.

Step Two: Gather Tools Required for the Clean

A Weber Barbeque grill during the cleaning process

Since it will take a while for the grill to be cool enough to touch, use this time to prepare for the actual cleaning process. Fortunately, everything you need to clean your grill includes common household items and cleaning tools as mentioned below:

  • Kitchen rubber gloves
  • Liquid dish soap
  • A bucket/basin (large enough to accommodate the grill)
  • Wired brush/scrubber
  • Abrasive scrubbers
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Spray bottle
  • Cloths/rags
  • Old hard-bristled toothbrush (optional)
  • Olive oil (optional)

Now that you’ve got what you need to get your entire BBQ grill kit cleaned up, carefully check if the grill has cooled down, and continue the cleaning process.

Step Three: Soak & Scrub the Grill + Tray

washing grill with scourer in large plastic bucket

Although you can start scrubbing your steel grill and tray as soon as they cool down, we advise soaking them in a soapy solution to loosen up the crusty grease on the grill and charred bits on the tray; even as little as 5 minutes will help make the scrubbing process more effortless. For this, a sudsy solution of water and liquid dish soap in a bucket/basin will suffice.

At the end of 5 minutes, while the grimy BBQ grill is still submerged, put on your rubber gloves, and clean with a wired scrubbing tool. For corners with stubborn grease, use a hard-bristled toothbrush to clean out the spaces. As far as the tray is concerned, this can be cleaned in a similar fashion using a scrubber and liquid dish soap.

Finish off by rinsing the BBQ grill and tray, and wipe them dry with a clean towel.

Step Four: Clean Other Components

washing barbeque grill components in a large plastic tub

Apart from the steel grill and coal tray, other parts of your BBQ kit are prone to grease stains and food spills. The lid of the grill and BBQ stand accumulate dirt and bacteria (especially when greasy) and hence, must be deep cleaned as part of the grill cleaning process. This is where the vinegar and baking soda come into play.

Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 3 cups of vinegar; pour the solution into a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the BBQ stand (including the inner side of the legs) until soaked; then use an abrasive scrubber to clean off any grease and stains. Do the same for the lid and observe whether the smoke stains on the underside are getting lighter. If not, make a vinegar-baking soda paste and apply it to the stained area. Leave it to dry before cleaning with a damp scrubber.

Step Five: Dry and Store 

grill after having been pprofessionally cleaned

Instead of leaving the rest of your barbecue grill to air dry which can be damaging to some types of metals, pat it dry with a clean towel. It’s also important to wrap each component of your grill in a slightly porous material and store it away in a cool, dry place. Leaving your BBQ grill exposed to the elements can rust or corrode the material over time while the accumulation of dust, dirt, and bacteria will leave your deep cleaning efforts in vain.

Quick Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Grill Clean

the final step of the barbeque grill cleaning process

  1. Clean your grill after every use. Never wait for more than a day to do this as chances are you’ll put it off until it’s time to use it again.
  2. Apply olive oil to the grill to prevent rusting. This will also give the metal a beautiful, glossy finish.
  3. When the grill and tray cool down (after they have been used), soak them in a soapy solution overnight for a quick and easy scrub down the next day.
  4. Wipe up spills on the lid and stand before they dry up (make sure that the surface is cool to touch first).

Thanks to this thorough guide on how to clean your grill and maintain it, you will always be ready for a last-minute barbecue with family and friends!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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