7 ways to clean and prepare your barbecue for summer

Get barbecue season ready with these barbecue cleaning and preparation tips

People grilling
(Image credit: Mike Kilcoyne / Unsplash)

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, chances are you’re planning a barbecue. But let’s be realistic – you probably haven’t used your barbecue for quite some time. Considering last summer was full of rain and storms, your barbecue has probably seen better days or at least hasn’t been fired up in months.

Before you start grilling on your best barbecue, it’s important to prepare your grill and give it a good clean to ensure it’s in top condition and up to hygiene standards. To help you get barbecue season ready, these are the seven things you need to do to clean and prepare your grill.

For more grilling tips, check out T3 Outdoor Living Month.

1. Heat the plates and burn off residue

If you haven’t used your barbecue in a while or you didn’t clean it after the last time you used it, you’ll want to first heat up your barbecue to its maximum temperature. The high heat will burn off any grease, stickiness or food that’s attached to the grill plates which makes it easier to remove when you come to the next step. Keep the temperature high for around 15-20 minutes before turning it off and letting it cool down.

2. Clean the grill grates

Before the barbecue is completely cold and you can comfortably touch the grill plate, take a brush or scraper and scrub the grills thoroughly to remove the food and grease stuck to it. Heating your grill first helps dislodge most of this and makes it easier for you to remove the grime.

After you’ve done this, remove the grill plates from your barbecue and give them a wash with warm soapy. Make sure to check your manufacturer’s instructions before you do this but most grill types and materials can be cleaned in this way. Let the plates air dry completely or wipe them down with a soft cloth before you put them back – but not until after the next step. 

Weber Traveler BBQ

(Image credit: Weber)

3. Give the interior a deep clean

Once you’ve removed and cleaned the grill plates, you’ll want to give the interior of your barbecue a deep clean. You don’t have to do this all the time but if you haven’t used your grill in a while, it’s recommended that you do this so you can remove all of last seasons’ food, dirt, ash and residues.

First, you’ll need to take out the internal components like the burners so you can remove all the gunk that’s collected in the bottom of the grill. When cleaning the burners, do so gently so you don’t damage them but washing them with warm soapy water should do the trick. Alternatively, you can find special barbecue and grill cleaners online or in hardware stores.

Once you’ve cleaned the burners and gotten rid of debris inside the barbecue, take a brush and scrub everything down to remove stains and stuck-on food. If your barbecue has a drop pan, remove and empty it before giving it a clean. After this is done, you can reattach all the internal components before replacing the grill plates on top.

4. Check the fuel hoses and do a leak test

If you have a charcoal or electric barbecue, you can skip this step but for gas barbecues, you’ll want to check your fuel hose and do a leak test. Firstly, check you have enough gas in your gas canister so you don’t have to rush out 20 minutes before everyone is due to arrive because you’ve run out. After that, inspect the gas hose and other tubes for scratches, holes, punctures and so on. If you see any damage to the hose, you’ll need to replace it.

If you haven’t used your gas barbecue for a long time, it’s recommended that you do a leak test in a well ventilated space outdoors. While we consider ourselves barbecue experts at T3, we recommend looking at Char-Broil’s instructions for how to check your grill for leaks.

A lifestyle image of the Masterbuilt AutoIgnite Series 545 with food on the grill

(Image credit: Masterbuilt)

5. Inspect for signs of damage

Similar to checking the fuel hose for damage, you should also give your entire barbecue an inspection to see if there are any issues that could affect its performance and your safety. This includes the burners, grill plates, lid, handles, wheels, storage shelves and more.

6. Wipe down the exterior

Once the inside is clean and the barbecue has been inspected, you can wipe down the exterior. The exterior of your barbecue can get surprisingly dirty so take a damp cloth and give it a good scrub. If there are any tough stains, take everyone’s favourite cleaning method – soapy water – and get rid of them. Dry your barbecue with a clean towel to prevent water marks and keep your grill looking clean and shiny.

7. Heat and season your grill before first use

Now that your grill is clean and ready to go, it’s recommended that you heat and season your grill in preparation for your next barbecue. To stop food from sticking and to ensure your food tastes delicious, add a light amount of oil to a paper towel and rub this over the grates. And that’s it!

For more grilling tips, here’s 5 mistakes everyone makes with barbecuing.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!