How to Clean Your Grill

How to clean your grill offers tips and tricks for natural methods to get your grill shiny and clean again. No chemicals. Just vinegar, aluminum oil, and an onion.

An image of a very dirty grill grate to illustrate how to clean your grill.

And by clean your grill, we don’t mean once a year at the end of summer. We mean after each use. (Sorry if we sound like your mom!) Not only can regular cleaning help prolong the life of your grill, it’ll prevent tonight’s chicken from tasting like last weekend’s salmon. And you probably already have everything you need. Win.

1. Don’t procrastinate

We know, we know. But the chore is vastly easier when the grill is still warm and any residue from dinner hasn’t had time to cool down and stick like Krazy Glue to the grate. So, no waiting ‘til Wednesday to clean up from Sunday night.

2. Spray the grill rack with white vinegar

Keep some plain old distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz the grill rack while it’s still warm. And yeah, you can wait until after you’ve finished dinner. [EDITOR’S NOTE: When we tried this vinegar trick in conjunction with the next step, it brought back that elusive shiny metal sheen of the grill rack we hadn’t seen since we first bought it years ago. Seriously.]

Two bottles of white vinegar, which can be used if you're wondering how do I clean my grill?

3. Scrub the grill rack (with crumpled aluminum foil)

That’s right. Use your tongs to grasp a ball of crumpled aluminum foil. And after you douse the grill with vinegar, scrub it. Hard.

You can instead opt for a grill brush, but honestly? In our experience, most of them are overpriced, oversized soft toothbrushes. If you do want to invest in one, look for a brush with wire bristles and a long, sturdy handle to keep your hands away from hot surfaces.

A scrunched up piece of aluminum foil, which can be used if you're wondering how do I clean my grill?Photo:

4. Enlist an onion to help with burnt-on grease

A whole onion and a cut onion half which you can use if you want to know how to clean your grill.Photo: Buriy

That’s right. An onion. If you can’t scrub off the greasy remains of ribs, cut an onion in half and rub it on the grill grate. While this method won’t remove all charred-on food residue, the enzymes in the onion effectively break down oil and grease. Not only are onions cheap, think of it as payback for all the tears they’ve caused over the years.

A word on cleaning with harsh chemicals

Some folks we know use oven cleaner to spray the grill rack to get it sparkly clean. Not going to tell you what to do or not. Simply bear in mind, anything that goes on the grill is eventually going to go in you.


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