How to Properly Clean Your Barbecue Grill After Use

So you’ve just finished hosting a fantastic backyard barbecue. As the day winds down, you’re left with the aftermath of a dirty and greasy grill. Cleaning might seem like a daunting task but not with the right techniques and a little guidance.

In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step of cleaning your charcoal BBQ after use. Keep reading and get it sparkling clean for your next memorable cookout!

Gather the Essential Tools

Wire brush

(Image Credit: Pxfuel)

Having the right equipment ensures a thorough cleaning and makes the process efficient. So, before you get started, take a moment to check if you have the following essential tools on hand:

  1. Wire brush: Get yourself a sturdy wire brush with tough bristles. It’s perfect for removing burnt-on residue and food particles from the grill grates.
  2. Grill scraper: A grill scraper, preferably with a long handle. This tool helps in removing stubborn grime and grease from hard-to-reach areas.
  3. Mild detergent: Use a mild dish detergent or a grill-specific cleaner. This cleaning solution aids in breaking down grease and removing any leftover residue.
  4. Gloves: Protect your hands by wearing heat-resistant gloves while cleaning. They provide a barrier against hot surfaces and harsh cleaning chemicals.
  5. Bucket of water: Keep a bucket filled with warm water for rinsing off the grates and other parts.

By having these tools, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the cleaning process with ease.

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Pre-Cleaning Preparation

A person cleaning the BBQ grill surface with a brush

(Image Credit: Pexels)

Here are some essential tips for pre-cleaning grill preparation:

  1. Pre-cleaning allows for better access to different parts of the grill. It makes the subsequent cleaning steps more effective. It also prevents cross-contamination between different cookouts and ensures hygienic cooking conditions.
  2. Take out the grill grates, plates, and other detachable parts. This enables you to clean them more thoroughly. Plus, it enables you to reach all the nooks and crannies that are otherwise difficult to access.
  3. Use a grill brush to remove loose debris, food particles, and ashes from the grates and interior. Doing so prevents the buildup of hardened residue. This makes the main cleaning process much smoother overall.

Clean the Grates

A person cleaning the BBQ grill surface with a brush and water and soap solution

(Image Credit: Pxfuel)

Once you’ve completed the pre-cleaning preparations, it’s time to focus on the grill grates.

First, scrub both sides of the grates. Using a wire brush with tough bristles, scrub both sides of the grates vigorously. This helps remove any leftover food particles, grease, and carbon buildup. Ensure you cover the entire surface area of the grates.

Then, address stubborn residue. For stubborn residue that may have accumulated over time, use a grill scraper or a putty knife. Apply firm but gentle pressure to avoid damaging the grates.

Finally, rinse with water. After thoroughly scrubbing the grates, rinse them with water. You can use a garden hose or a bucket of water for this step.

Remember that thorough cleaning is vital for optimal cooking results and flavour preservation. Accumulated grease and residue can affect the taste of your food. This could even lead to flare-ups during future grilling sessions.

Let’s move on to addressing grease and stubborn stains, shall we?

Addressing Grease and Stubborn Stains

For greasy areas, apply a suitable degreaser specifically designed for grill cleaning. Alternatively, create a paste by mixing baking soda and vinegar, and apply it to the greasy spots. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the solution to penetrate the grease before scrubbing.

To avoid damaging the grill’s surface, use a soft cloth or sponge for scrubbing. These materials are less abrasive and won’t scratch the BBQ. Apply gentle pressure while scrubbing so you won’t compromise the grill’s integrity.

Cleaning the Exterior

BillyOh Full Drum Smoker Charcoal BBQ with Offset Smoker
BillyOh Full Drum Smoker Charcoal BBQ with Offset Smoker

The cleaning method you choose should depend on the grill’s material. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Stainless steel

For stainless steel grills, wipe the surfaces with a damp non-abrasive cloth or sponge. Use mild detergent diluted in warm water to remove any grease or stains. Rinse the surfaces thoroughly and wipe dry with a clean cloth to prevent water spots or streaks.

Cast iron

When cleaning cast iron grills, avoid using excessive water as it can lead to rust. Instead, gently brush any loose debris or residue using a grill brush. For stubborn stains, you can use a paste of baking soda and water applied with a soft cloth. Wipe the grill thoroughly and re-season if necessary.


Enamel-coated grills require gentle cleaning to avoid damaging the enamel coating. Use a mild detergent mixed with warm water and a soft cloth or sponge to wipe down the surfaces. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or brushes that can scratch the enamel.

Note: Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning guidelines.

Reassemble and Store

BillyOh Heavy Duty Weatherproof Anti-UV BBQ Grill Cover
BillyOh Heavy Duty Weatherproof Anti-UV BBQ Grill Cover

Ensure you reassemble and store your grill correctly by following these tips:

  • Once all the parts have thoroughly dried, put them back in their respective positions. Ensure that all connections, such as gas lines, are securely attached. Double-check that everything is aligned correctly and in working order before proceeding.
  • To maintain your grill’s condition between uses, store it in a dry and well-ventilated area. If possible, keep it indoors to protect it from extreme weather conditions. If outdoor storage is necessary, consider using a grill cover to shield it from the elements. This helps prevent rust, corrosion, and damage to the grill’s surfaces.

By following these, you can extend the lifespan of your grill. And, of course, keep it in optimal condition for many more delicious cookouts to come!


Properly cleaning your barbecue grill after each use is essential for its:

  • longevity
  • optimal performance
  • food safety

By following these steps, you can ensure a thorough and effective cleaning process. Enjoy a clean and well-maintained grill that’s ready to deliver mouthwatering flavours!