When you purchase an expensive barbecue grill, it's like an investment. You expect it to last for years to come and provide you with perfectly cooked food whenever you want it. But, keeping your barbecue working at optimal performance and looking its best is going to take a little work on your behalf. So, whether you have a natural gas grill, electric, charcoal or smoke barbecue grill, get ready to learn some easy tips on how to take care and repair it right at home.

You're going to need some tools to clean your barbecue grill, so check to see that you have these essential items on hand:

  • Brass wire grill brush
  • Soap-embedded, fine steel wool pads
  • Mild dish soap
  • Sponge or dishcloth
  • Spray cooking oil
  • Dry baking soda
  • Aluminum foil
  • Newspaper

These items will enable you to keep your charcoal, electric, gas or smoke barbecue grill looking as fantastic as the day you first brought it home. The first step to keeping your grill clean and sanitary is brushing off the grill surfaces. All barbecue grills will need this done on a regular basis, so don't neglect this crucial step. You will find that there are a variety of brushes available for this purpose, so make sure to choose the one best suited for the type of surface your barbecue grill is made of. If you have a cast iron surface, use a stainless steel brush, if you have a porcelain-coated barbecue grill, a brass-bristle brush is best. So, choose your brush wisely and your grill will reap the benefits. Also, check your grease pan every now and then for a buildup of debris. Clean it out if needed so your barbecue grill remains hygienic and safe.

Once your barbecue grill surface is clean, it's time to spray it with cooking oil. Make absolutely positively sure that the grill is cold so the oil doesn't ignite. Only a cold charcoal, electric, gas or smoke barbecue grill will benefit from a light coating of cooking oil. It will help to prevent your grill from rusting and prepare the surface for the next time you decide to fire up the barbecue!

The burner assemblies are additional parts on your barbecue grill that must be cleaned periodically as well. So, that means your gas valves, metal conduits and burners need your attention from time to time or debris, bugs and spiders will think of them as their permanent home.

A different idea for cleaning your electric, gas, charcoal or smoke barbecue grill involves the use of something you probably already have lying around the house. Standard baking soda is a great natural cleaning agent and will help to restore your grill to its usual splendor. Just sprinkle a bit of the baking soda onto a dry brush and scrub the grill. Rinse clean and do the same thing on knobs and trays.

Aluminum foil has yet another use, but I bet you didn't think it was for cleaning your barbecue grill, did you? Well, think again because all you have to do is roll it up and gently rub it back and forth on your grill. It cleans wonderfully and is an inexpensive way to aid in the upkeep of your grill.

Probably the most unorthodox way to remove that greasy residue from your smoke, charcoal, electric or gas barbecue grill is with newspaper. Once you've finished grilling, all you have to do is soak a newspaper in water and leave it on top of your lukewarm grill rack with the lid down. Wait about 45 minutes to an hour and then use the paper to wipe off all of that hard to remove grease and grime.

The use of dish soap is common and very effective for cleaning all types of barbecue grills, so don't rule out this method. Just place your grill and racks out in your yard and spray it down with water. Gently scrub your grill with a steel pad and rinse again.

All of these cleaning methods are great ideas for taking care of your grill, but to really make sure it looks model-perfect for as long as possible, invest in a cover. You spent a lot of money on your barbecue grill, so buy a cover and protect it from elements like rain, wind and dust.

Now that your gas, electric, smoke or charcoal barbecue is shiny and clean, it's time to check it out and address any issues you've been having with it. But, before you toss it in the garbage or haul it off to the repair man, check to see if you can repair it yourself. Who knows, you just might save yourself some money and you'll feel good about your handyman skills as well.

The first repair you'll want to look at is the burner. Make sure the gas is disconnected and your grill is cold before beginning. When these steps have been taken, remove the grill, lava rock and bottom grill until you find the burner. If it's rusty looking, take it out and replace it with a new one from your local hardware store. A professional would charge you a lot more to replace your burner, so skip that unnecessary step and do it yourself!

Many minor problems that arise in gas, electric, smoke or charcoal barbecue grills are a direct result of their upkeep. So, if your grill is making a weird noise, not lighting up as fast or just isn't acting like itself, the best way to "repair" it is to clean it! You may think that whatever is wrong is internal but it just could be that a buildup of grime, grease and other debris is hindering its performance. Taking care of your grill and repairing it won't be hard or time consuming if you baby it from the moment its wheels first meet your backyard. Buy a cover for it and clean if off after every use, it's that simple. So, try some of the methods explained in this article and your barbecue grill should be up, running and sparkling clean in no time.