Cleaning Guides

How to Clean a Charcoal Barbecue

А charcoal barbecue is a must-have for anyone with a garden and a love for juicy, grilled meat. These BBQs can give your food the most incredible smoky flavour and are also light and small, which makes them easy to store. However, the price you pay to have such great tasting meat comes later in the form of grime build-up and an ash catcher, filled to the brim.

So, if you:

  • have grease build-up on your charcoal barbeque grill;
  • are searching for a natural and eco-friendly way to clean your BBQ;
  • want to learn how to maintain your barbecue clean for longer.

Read along!

The materials you’ll need

Before you begin cleaning the appliance, make sure to equip yourself with the following items to achieve the best results possible:

  • A nylon sheet
  • Rubber gloves
  • Grill brush or any other type of hard bristle brush 
  • A big container full of soapy water (not mandatory)
  • Sponge
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Plastic putty knife

How to clean a charcoal BBQ

If you’ve never cleaned your charcoal barbecue before, brace yourself, because things will get literally dirty. First…

  1. Find a suitable place for BBQ cleaning

    Choose an area in your garden away from walking paths or driveways. You will be brushing a lot of encrusted char and ash, and you don’t want that to fall on any walking areas. Also, place a nylon sheet under the BBQ, so the ground can be protected during the cleaning.

  2. Clean the lid exterior

    Use warm soapy water and a sponge to remove any dust and dirt. Afterwards, dry the lid exterior with a microfiber cloth.

  3. Light the grill

    Any burnt leftovers will carbonise when heated. If you’ve ever wondered how to clean out a charcoal BBQ easily, this is it. Light your grill as you normally would, and put the lid on. This will allow the heat to make the food leftovers and splatters dry and non-greasy.

  4. Clean the lid on the inside

    Wait for the lid to cool down a bit and scrape off the carbonised grease with your plastic putty knife. Afterwards, use your grill brush to remove the fine pieces of char and finish by washing with warm, soapy water.

  5. Clean the grill grates

    Remove the grates. Dip them in the container full of soapy water, and scrub them with your grill brush. This will help to soften the nasty build-up. Mind you, a water container is not mandatory. You can clean the grates while they’re inside the BBQ as well

  6. Clean the bowl

    Again, with your putty knife, scrape off any left black flakes of grease. Afterwards, get your grill brush and clear out any leftovers.

  7. Clear out the ash container

    Any charcoal grill model has a container of this sort where the ashes are stored. Too much ash build-up can obstruct the vents of the grill and make it difficult to control the temperature when cooking.

There is no need to use harsh chemicals when a wipe with warm, soapy water can suffice. Chemical detergents can leave a residue, which can affect the taste and smell of the food the next time you use the appliance.

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How to maintain a charcoal BBQ

You don’t need to do anything to the BBQ when you don’t use it. It won’t get dirty on its own. However, you need to know how to clean your charcoal BBQ after each use. Here is how:

  1. Empty the ash catcher – You don’t have to wait for it to be full to throw it out.
  2. Clean the grates – Preheat the grill and brush it with a grill brush. If you don’t have one at your disposal, use a ball made of tin foil. You can hold this ball in your cooking tongs, instead of getting your hands dirty.
  3. Oil the grates – Oil prevents food from sticking to the grill. Saturate a clean rag with the oil of your choosing and rub the grates carefully. Oil shouldn’t drip into the coals, so don’t oversaturate the rag and don’t press too hard.

What to do after the grilling season is over

Once the season ends, you need to take measures to ensure your charcoal BBQ will be ready for next year. You will thank yourself later when the new season starts.

  1. Empty the BBQ of ashes.
  2. Wash the grates, bowl, and lid.
  3. Oil the cooking grates. You already know that oil makes the surface non-sticky, but it also protects the grates from rust.
  4. Cover the entire charcoal BBQ grill with a waterproof cover. If you have a garage, even better. Place the BBQ inside.
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Do you need a professional BBQ cleaning service?

If you’re not up to the cleaning task and want to spend your time on more pleasurable activities, then book our professional BBQ cleaning services.

Fantastic Services works with experienced and fully equipped technicians who clean all barbecue models regardless of brand. They will disassemble all removable parts and place them in a dip tank, whilst cleaning the rest of the appliance. Once the service is done, the specialist will put everything back together and perform one final inspection. Afterwards, you can use your BBQ right away.

So – what are you waiting for? Get in touch today!

Need a professional bbq cleaning?

Find a professional to take care of your bbq.

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  • Heat the charcoal BBQ to carbonise leftover food bits. This will make them easier to clean;
  • Clean the grates in a water tank full of mild detergent;
  • Always clean the charcoal grill grates after each use;
  • Always treat the grill at the end of the season, so it’s ready to use afterwards;
  • Cover the grill grates in oil to protect them.


Have any other BBQ cleaning tips? Let us know by commenting below!

Image source: Crystal Madsen/

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