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How to clean an old barbecue

The right advice to revive it just like new

Giulia, from the province of Arezzo, asks:


I purchased a country house, and I found a nice masonry barbecue in the garden, in the classic chimney shape. The problem is that the previous owners, judging by the prevailing condition of the aforementioned barbecue, never seemed to clean it! Could you please provide me with instructions and tips on how to sanitise it and bring it back to a decent condition?



The editors of yourFire answers:

Hello Giulia,

to thoroughly clean masonry parts from moss or other deposits, we recommend using a clothes brush with a small amount of dishwashing liquid. It is a simple and safe system for cleaning masonry.

In fact the use of more aggressive detergents or high-pressure cleaner, as some people do is not recommended.

Chemical-based detergents should be avoided as they may leave a residue which then would inevitably end up in your plate.

The high-pressure cleaner on the other hand, is likely to cause the barbecue to swell with water. If the water seeps into any small cracks, as soon as you light the barbecue you will have a pressure cooker effect: the water turns into steam and increasing in volume will cause cracks in the masonry (in this regard see our article on gradually lighting a water swollen barbecue:

An additional step to revive your barbecue is to check for any cracks. Even small ones may become even more evident when first lit, when the material expands with the heat (for more information: Our advice therefore is to fill the cracks using a silicone adhesive, for example BETONFAST®, sold under the Sunday brand, which has been specially designed to adapt to expansion due to heat.

Once well cleaned and the filler has dried, to bring your barbecue back to as good as new, we recommend repainting it, preferably with a water-repellent paint. It is an excellent solution to prevent the barbecue being soaked by water when it rains in winter. 

In this first part we have focused on masonry parts and not on the metal grills. In fact, if the former owners have left you the grills, it is not easy to bring them back “to life”. If they have been left in contact with moisture and the cold for a long time, the metal parts become irreparably damaged. Perhaps it is better to buy them new from a trusted dealer, calculating the size of the cooking compartment so that they can be used easily.

We hope that we have been able to help; we are available for any further questions.

Kind regards,


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