How to clean a BBQ: 10 five minute tricks

Here's how to clean a BBQ, from homemade solutions to dedicated cleaning products

how to clean a bbq: Karcher pressure washer
(Image credit: Karcher)

Searching for how to clean a BBQ probably wasn't what you wanted to be doing right before the weekend, but then you saw the state of the barbecue, just out of the shed...

Throwing away ashes from your BBQ base is the easy bit; it's getting the grill clean that can be a challenge. 

These are the best ways to get it sparkling clean – and not spend hours scrubbing.

Don't have a BBQ yet? Check out our buyer's guide to the best barbecues. Then head to our garden ideas page for more inspiration.

1. Clean a bbq grill with baking soda

Baking soda/bicarbonate of soda is a wonder ingredient for dissolving all kinds of organic substances, and is brilliant at tackling grease and stuck-on food. Sprinkle liberally all over a damp barbecue grate and let sit for 10 minutes. Then activate the soda with warm water and a scourer sponge. Rinse and you should be ready to go.

Find out how to use bicarbonate of soda to clean your home.

2. Use vinegar to clean a bbq grate

Make a vinegar solution with equal parts white vinegar and water, spray onto your grill, and let sit for half an hour. Then, empty the bottle and refill with a small quantity of neat vinegar. Spray again, let it sit for another half an hour, and then wipe your grate clean. 

For more tips on using this great ingredient, check out these ways to use vinegar to clean your home.

3. Clean your bbq with coffee

This method works especially well if you use a percolator to make filer coffee. Simply refill your un-emptied percolator with hot water, and pour the coffee all over your grate. Coffee is acidic and will break down crusted on food. 

4. Stick the barbecue grill into your dishwasher

This method obviously only applies if the size of your grill matches or is smaller than the size of your dishwasher, but unless your BBQ is very large, this should be the case. Stick them in and run your dishwasher on a heavy duty cycle. Find out more weird ways to use dishwashers to speed up cleaning. Annnnd, find out how to clean a dishwasher (you might need to afterwards).

5. Use a specialised barbecue grill cleaning brush

All-purpose brushes and scourers aren't the best option for cleaning BBQs: they're likely to not be heavy duty enough, and you'll need to apply quite a bit of extra pressure with your hands to get a result. A grill cleaning brush, on the other hand, has a longer handle with a rough scourer attached, which means that you don't have to work quite so hard.

18" Triangle Metal BBQ Grill Cleaning Brush

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Use a pumice stone to clean your bbq

Did you know that the same stuff many people use to exfoliate their feet works magic on a dirty grill? Pumice stone is naturally anti-bacterial and removes stuck on food very effectively. And you can get ones especially for cleaning charcoal grills.

Deanyi grilling stone cleaner

(Image credit: Deanyi)

7. Soak your bbq grate in soapy water

This method is obvious, but the key to its success is patience. Fill a large plastic tray full of hot water and dishwashing liquid, submerge the grill, and leave it be. This will take a while, at least half an hour before the burnt on food loosens and can be removed with a simple scrubbing brush. 

Lakeland Large Oven Rack & Grill Soaking & Cleaning Tray

(Image credit: Lakeland)

8. How to clean your bbq with lemon

The bigger your lemons, the better (so to speak). Slice the lemons in half and dip them into salt crystals. Heat up your BBQ, and then rub and squeeze your lemon halves all over the hot charcoal grill. You've got abrasive action from the salt, and cleaning and antibacterial action from the citric acid. 

Lemons are useful all around the home; take a look at these ways to use lemon to clean your home.

spring cleaning hacks

(Image credit: shutterstock)

9. How to clean a charcoal grill with a pressure washer

Got a pressure washer? You can use it to effortlessly clean a charcoal grate. First empty the barbecue of ash, replace the charcoal grate, and then stand it away from anything you don't want to splash (the middle of the lawn is perfect; near a compost heap better. Then simply turn your pressure washer on a medium setting, and wash downwards, not up, to avoid making a mess. 

We have a buyer's guide to the best pressure washers if you're in the market for one. 

Karcher pressure washer

(Image credit: Karcher)

10. Use a dedicated bbq grate cleaner spray

Don't like DIY cleaning? Use a commercial bbq grate cleaner spray. The benefit of these sprays is that they come in spray bottles with 360-degree nozzles, which means you don't have to hold the spray in any particular way to get the solution onto your grill. Then, it's just a case of following the manufacturer's instructions.

More cleaning tips:

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

Anna is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.