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How to Clean Your Barbecue Safely

How to Clean Your Barbecue Safely

Summer is nearly here and with great weather comes barbecue season. Whether you consider yourself a grill master or rookie, it’s important to barbecue safely.

The promise of crispy chicken wings, chargrilled veg and sizzling sausages is simply irresistible on a long, hot summer day, but the thought of awkwardly scrubbing that grill, and spraying the inside of your kitchen with washing up liquid and dirty water, can really put a dampener on the experience.

However, food poisoning equally doesn’t appeal.

A dirty grill becomes a hot spot germs and bacteria, and although it may be tempting to leave the ‘flavouriser bars’ and grills be, prioritise your health and follow our tips to a mess-free hygienic clean.

Why is it important to clean your barbecue?

There a multiple benefits to your grill including reducing rust, improving performance and avoiding flare-ups from excessive grease, but its important to remember how it can effect your health.

Food poisoning

The UK Food Standards Agency explains you can get food poisoning from various different types of bacteria on your grill, including:

Although it is often believed reheating the grill will kill off any germs, there is always the chance some bacteria may persist and contaminate your food. It is also important to cater towards those with different dietary requirements, cleaning your grill is essential to avoid cross-contamination.


If you leave your barbecue covered in leftover food over winter, you might not be the only one eating off your grill. An unclean grill attracts pests, increasing the chance of contamination and food poisoning.

Mould growth

Mould is a growth of fungi which harbours potentially harmful mycotoxins– these can be dangerous if inhaled or exposed through skin contact. If your barbecue has been left undisturbed, it could be a breeding ground for mould growth.

Mould exposure has a wealth of serious health implications such as flu-like symptoms, rashes, inflammation of the skin and muscles, all the way to cognitive dysfunction and memory loss. Don’t take the risk and clean your barbecue before its next use.

Four steps to a clean barbecue

  1. Every good clean starts with an initial wipe down. Get the marigolds on, wipe the grill with a damp cloth, and remove any leftover food or cobwebs that have accumulated over the winter period.
    You can safely clean the barbecue outside to avoid any mishaps in the kitchen.
    Leftover food and dirt on barbecue grill.
  2. Preheat your grill on high heat to burn off any residual food and loosen the grime ready for removal. Turn the gas off and allow this to cool before attempting any manual removal.
    Woman cleaning barbecue.
  3. Using a bucket of hot soapy water or barbecue cleaner and a grill brush with wire bristles, carefully work the grease remover into the grill. A scraping tool can be used to remove any stubborn grease.
    Don’t forget about your cooking utensils!
    Grill brush scrubbing barbecue.
    It is essential you do not use harsh cleaning chemicals not designed for a barbecue, as they can be too abrasive and ruin the grill.
    You can use a baking or heat-safe tray to collect any run off at the bottom of the grill to make clean up easier.
  4. Finally, use a sponge or microfiber cloth to clean and buff the lid and exterior of the barbecue.
    Wiping the barbecue down.

TOP TIP: Before cooking, rub the grill down with sunflower oil to seal it. This will prevent food-stick and your grill from rusting over time.

An alternative method:

Ideal home and Lynsey Queen of clean have a slightly different approach to cleaning your barbecue safely.

Follow steps 1& 2, then cover the grill with (generously) soaked old newspaper. Close the grill and leave this for half an hour.

The steam will make it easier to remove any caked-on food and grease. After half an hour, remove the newspaper and set about your grill with a metal scrubbing brush.

If you don’t have a grill brush, they recommend using a screwed-up ball of aluminium foil instead.

Safety first

  • Cover yourself with gloves and protective clothing.
  • Do not leave a hot barbecue unattended.
  • Alert others the barbecue is on.
  • Supervise children and pets when the barbecue is on or cooling down.
  • Gas, electric and coal barbecues have different needs, you can follow leading grill manufacturer Weber’s video guides for further information on how these differ.

Important note: food hygiene isn’t the only thing to think about when it comes to cooking on a barbecue safely. Barbecue’s rank number 11 in which white goods can be a fire risk– so ensure you are following the manufacturer’s safety precautions during use.

If you find yourself a victim of a house fire or balcony fire, the Rainbow fire restoration team can remedy any fire damage and carry out fire damage cleaning to get you back into your home quickly. With over 50 Rainbow branches around the UK, and a 24-hour helpline, specialist help is just one call away when you need it.

Updated: 10/5/23

Published: 10 May 2023