The summer is finally drawing to an end, and it’s time to start getting our gardens and outdoor areas ready for the change in weather. One of the jobs thousands of people will be taking on over the coming weeks is cleaning the barbecue grill — and it’s usually a time-consuming and unpleasant job.
However, it doesn’t have to be a chore you keep putting off until summer comes around again. In fact, you might be able to clean your grill completely in around 30 minutes — and using stuff you may have lying around your kitchen right now. Check your fridge and cupboards for lemon juice, onion and vinegar… they could prove very useful.
1. Cleaning a barbecue with onion
Believe it or not, onions contain natural antibacterial agents, so they’re great at killing bacteria on barbecue grills. Start the cleaning process by heating the grill to its usual cooking temperature. Cut a large white onion in half, and using a long skewer, rub the surface of the onion across the entire cooking surface. This will help to kill stubborn bacteria and pick up any food debris your usual cleaning method has missed.
2. Cleaning a barbecue with vinegar
The acidity in white vinegar is great at removing carbonised food and cutting through grease. Start by creating a solution of one part water and one part vinegar, and pour it into a clean spray bottle. Spray the entire grill, including the grill, the racks and the external surfaces. Allow around 20 minutes of contact time. Scrunch up a sheet of aluminium foil, and scrub the dirty surfaces of the barbecue — adding more vinegar solution as you go. Finish off by washing the grill down with warm water to remove the potent smell of vinegar.
3. Cleaning a barbecue with lemon
Lemons work in the same way as vinegar — their acidic juices cut through dirt and grease beautifully. However, the big advantage with using lemon juice is that your grill will smell fantastic afterwards.
Start by bringing your barbecue to temperature and cutting a few large lemons in half. Sprinkle some table salt liberally onto a place, and coat the wet side of each lemon half in it. Using a skewer, wipe the grill down with the salty lemon. You should see the acid cutting through the grease, creating a brown slurry that slowly drips of the racking. Allow the grill to cool, and wipe it down with a clean cloth.
4. Cleaning a barbecue with steam
There’s virtually nothing in the home that can’t be cleaned with steam. Whether you’re cleaning your floors, your kitchen surfaces or the inside of your microwave, steam cuts through grease and kills bacteria with ease. And yes, the power of steam can also clean certain types of barbecue grill.
If your grill has a lid, fill a roasting dish with water, and place it on the grill’s rack. Close the lid, and bring the barbecue to cooking temperature. Once the water starts turning into steam, give it at least 10 minutes to work its magic. Switch the grill off, and allow it to cool until you can safely open the lid. You should notice that grease and carbonised food have simply melted away. Once it is safe to do so, use a clean microfibre cloth to wipe away the excess dirt and grease.
If your grill doesn’t have a lid, you can still use steam to clean it. A domestic steam cleaner with the right attachments can be used to cut into grease and dirt. You’ll probably need something with handheld capabilities, and something capable of delivering a jet of concentrated steam exactly where it is needed.
Don’t let your dirty barbecue fester and stew in its own juices over the winter; use one of these cleaning methods to prepare it for another summer of faithful service.