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Updated on April 5, 2024

Pro Tips

How to Properly Clean and Maintain a BBQ or Grill

Proper cleaning and maintenance of the BBQ, pizza oven, or griddle is the secret ingredient to great outdoor cooking. Following these simple steps at the beginning and end of the season, as well as throughout, will help you keep your grills in top condition for years to come.

Difficulty level: Easy
Duration: 1-2 hours
Please note
A barbecue placed in a location where it will be exposed to sunlight is less likely to collect spiderwebs and attract other insects than a barbecue placed in a cool and damp spot. The best solution, however, is to protect your barbecue from both sun and rain with a BBQ cover.

Why Take the Time to Maintain Your BBQ?

Nothing beats the sizzle and aroma of a perfectly grilled meal. A clean BBQ grill will provide higher temperatures and better heat distribution, and you won’t have as much trouble with food sticking to the grates either. All in all, good maintenance means better performance, better cooking results, and better durability.
Close-up of a barbecue burner

Cleaning the Burner

The burner and gas tubes are the most important part of the grill. They ensure that your temperature is just right for everything from smoking to searing. Keeping them clean will help you cook anything on the grill to perfection.

Burner maintenance should be done at the start and end of the season. The cleaning process will be the same both times:
  • 1.1Start by turning off the propane tank and removing the cooking grates.
  • 1.2Detach the tubes and burner, taking care not to damage any components. The tubes can be cleaned with warm, soapy water. For the burner, wipe with a damp microfibre cloth.
  • 1.3Towel dry the burner ports and clean out any remaining residue with a toothpick.
  • 1.4Set the burner and the tubes aside until you’re finished cleaning the rest of the grill.

Pro Tip

It’s important to clean the feeder tubes that move the gas from the front controls to the burners. Spiders’ webs and small cocoons can interfere with gas flow to the burners, which compromises performance and creates a potential fire hazard around the controls. The best way to find out if the gas is flowing to the burner properly is to observe the flames: if the flames are yellowish and burn slowly, the tubes are probably blocked. To remove the obstruction, use a cleaner developed for this purpose.

The inside of a clean barbecue

Clean the Inside of Your BBQ

After removing the burner and hoses, take the opportunity to give the inside of the barbecue a good cleaning. At the start of the season, this will remove any dirt or debris that has settled inside while in storage; at the end, it will remove any built-up cooking residue.

Here’s how:
  • 2.1Start by covering the gas valves with aluminum foil to prevent corrosion.
  • 2.2Then, take a long-handled, stiff-wire grill brush and scrub the grill’s interior using warm, soapy water. A grill cleaner can help tackle particularly tough grease spots.
  • 2.3Once all debris and residues have been scraped off, rinse the inside of the barbecue thoroughly and dry with a cloth.
  • 2.4When everything is completely dry, replace the burner and gas tubes.

Burn Off the Grease

The briquettes that transfer heat to your cooking grate can get coated with grease over time, hindering your grill’s performance and affecting the flavour of your food. Over the course of the grilling season, you’ll want to burn off the grease to maintain optimal cooking quality:
  • 3.1Turn the briquettes over.
  • 3.2Close the barbecue lid.
  • 3.3Heat on high for approximately 15 minutes.

Pro Tip

Burn off the grease one last time after your last cookout, then give the grill its final wash.

Dirty barbecue grates

Clean the Grates

After cleaning the briquettes, make sure that the burners are fully off and allow the grill to cool. Then, clean the grates. Regular maintenance will help prevent the build-up of food and bacteria, as well as protect the grates from rust. Warm, soapy water should be enough to get most of the debris, but a grate cleaner can help with tougher spots.
  • 4.1Remove the cooking grates and scrub them with a long-handled, stiff-bristled barbecue grill brush or scraper. Please note that cast iron is a porous material that can absorb water and rust. Use a stainless steel brush or spatula to remove burnt-on residue and embedded grease.
  • 4.2Thoroughly towel dry the cooking grates and place them back into the grill.
  • 4.3Apply a coat of vegetable oil to the grates once you are finished.

A Few Tips for Keeping Grates Clean

Cooking on a clean grill is the first rule for barbecue success. When you’re finished cooking, heat the barbecue for up to 10 minutes with the lid closed. Any leftover residue will burn and turn to ashes. You can then scrub the grill with a barbecue brush. Oiling the grill is an important step to prevent food from sticking and leaving residue. Rub an oil-soaked cloth over the grill using tongs.

Smart Saving Tips

If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and budget-friendly way to clean your BBQ grates, give Coca-Cola a try! Place the grates in a large bin, then pour enough Coca-Cola to cover the grates. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the phosphoric acid to break down and dissolve any food residue. Scrub the grates, then rinse with water.

Stainless steel barbecue

Clean the Outside of the BBQ

Once you’ve finished caring for the inside of your barbecue, it’s time to turn your attention to the exterior. The cleaning method to use will depend on the surface material, which varies among grills. Here are some tips for the 4 most common materials:
  • 5.1For a stainless steel lid, warm soapy water will generally be enough to remove most of the grease and grime. If a little more effort is required, use a sponge and rub in the same direction as the stainless steel grain. Going against the grain can leave marks on the surface, or even damage it. Rinse off any remaining soap with warm water and dry with a clean cloth. Finish with a stainless steel cleaner for a polished look.
  • 5.2Porcelain-coated steel lids look fantastic, but they are relatively fragile and might crack or break if not handled with care. Treat them with care and clean them with a mild dishwashing soap and water solution. Dry the surface with a cloth and finish with a glass cleaner.
  • 5.3A powder-coated steel lid may look like stainless steel, but it should be treated like an enamelled steel lid. Clean the cover with mild soap and water, then dry it off with a microfibre cloth. Be careful not to use stainless steel cleaners on powder-coated surfaces, as they may damage the finish.
  • 5.4A painted lid can be cleaned regularly with soapy water, just like the other materials. If the surface shows signs of corrosion, you can refinish the lid with high-temperature spray paint. To do this, first remove the rust using sandpaper and a scraper. Wash, then allow to dry. When thoroughly dry, apply the paint according to the packaging instructions.

Pro Tip

No matter what type of surface material your grill is made out of, you can keep it protected while in storage and looking great every season with a quality BBQ cover.

Check and Clean the Gas Feed Pipe

Check the gas feed pipe of your natural gas barbecue. If it is cracked or broken, replace it. If you suspect a gas leak, brush soapy water onto the tube connections; if bubbles appear when the gas is turned on, you know you have a leak. Throughout the summer, clean the gas supply tube frequently to remove all traces of food, which can attract small animals.

Keep Propane Tanks in Good Condition

If you are using a propane gas barbecue, always keep an eye on your tanks to make sure they're in good condition. A rusty, dented, faulty cylinder or a cylinder more than 10 years old can be hazardous and should be returned immediately to your propane distributor. Have it disposed of or exchanged for a new one. Even if a cylinder no longer contains sufficient gas to light the barbecue, the residual gas may be enough to cause an explosion.

Propane tanks must be stored upright and outdoors, summer and winter alike. They must also be kept in an upright position during storage or transport.
Close-up of a charcoal grill grate

How to Clean Your Charcoal Grill

If you have a charcoal grill, then many of your start- and end-of-season tasks will be the same. The main difference is that charcoal grills require more regular maintenance to keep them in top condition, and should ideally be cleaned after each use.

Surfaces are easier to clean while the grill is still hot. We recommend using a gril brush that can release water to make the grill cleaning process easier. You can also sprinkle a little water on the brush to achieve a similar effect. Make sure you also clean out the ash at the bottom of the grill after every use to prevent it from blocking the vents. Simply remove the charcoal briquettes when they have cooled and sweep up the ash.
An outdoor pizza oven

How to Clean Your Pizza Oven

Here’s how to clean and maintain an outdoor pizza oven:

  1. Before wiping down soot or clearing debris, make sure your oven is completely cool.
  2. To clean the inside of the oven, wipe down the surface with a dry paper towel. Always wear protective gloves when doing this.
  3. When cool, the outside of the oven can be wiped with a damp cloth and dried completely. The stainless steel exterior surfaces can then be cleaned using a stainless steel cleaner to remove any marks or smudges. Always avoid using water to clean the inside of your oven or stone.

Your stone baking board can be cleaned by running your pizza oven at top temperatures. If you need to remove hard-to-budge debris from the stone, use a hard bristle grill brush. After each cook, when your oven is completely cool you can flip the stone baking board for a fresh start the next time you cook – the high temperatures inside your pizza oven will naturally clean the underside.
A griddle barbecue

How to Clean Your Griddle

To clean your griddle after using it, all you need is a metal spatula, paper towels, hot water, a scouring pad, and cooking oil. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Let the griddle cool down after cooking.
  2. Scrape the surface with a metal spatula or scraper.
  3. Wipe it down with a paper towel. You can use a dishcloth, but it can get greasy.
  4. For stuck on food, pour some water onto the griddle while it’s still warm. The hot water will make it easier for the harder residue to come off.
  5. Rinse off the water with paper towels.
  6. Dry it gently with a cloth.
  7. Coat with a layer of oil or Blackstone seasoning in between uses.


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