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5 Best Methods for Deep Cleaning Grill Grates

Cleaning grill grates is an often dreaded task, but these five deep cleaning methods make it painless.

How to Deep Clean Grill Grates

Cooking lunch and dinner outdoors means your grill grates do a lot of heavy lifting. And with all that cooking comes burnt-on food and sauces. 

If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your grill grates, try one of these methods to bring them back to like-new.

How to Deep Clean Grill Grates

There’s more than one way to remove burnt-on grime. Look through your cupboard and find the supplies for one of these five methods.

Cleaning Grill Grates with Baking Soda and Vinegar

You can use vinegar, baking soda, and light scrubbing action to remove burnt residue from your grates. 

  • Add 2 cups of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda to a trash bag
  • Insert your grates
  • Tie the bag or close it off with a rubber band
  • Work the solution over the grates
  • Leave the bag closed overnight
  • The following day, rinse the grates with cool water and use a sponge to scrub off the remaining food particles.

How to Scrub Grill Grates with Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil helps clean in between the grooves of grill grates. It’s best to use it with another cleaning method, like soaking in vinegar and baking soda.

Here’s what to do: shape a piece of foil into a ball and scrape the grates with a gentle motion. Then, shape the ball to get between the cracks. Exercise caution when cleaning porcelain enameled grates – too much force can scrape off the coating.

Scrub with a Baking Soda and Dish Soap Paste

Baking soda and dish soap are the perfect duo for cleaning burnt-on food. Dish soap is a degreaser and can break down dirt, while baking soda is a mild abrasive, able to scrub off residue.

For this method, dump half a cup of baking soda into a bowl. Squirt in a few drops of Dawn dish soap until a paste forms. Next, use a soft-bristled scrub brush dipped in the paste to wash the grill rack. Rinse with water.

Use aluminum foil to remove the remaining pieces of grime between the cracks.

How to Clean Grill Grates with Onion

It seems crazy, but you can clean your grill grates with an onion. Use this method if you want to leave the grates on the grill. It works best for light to medium dirtiness levels.

 Here’s what to do:

  • Turn your grill to high heat
  • Cut an onion in half and place it on a grill fork with the cut side down
  • Once the grill is hot, rub the onion over the grates
  • The onion will produce steam and scrape off burnt food

Use Easy-Off Barbeque Grill Cleaner

A lot of people steer clear of Easy-Off because of the fumes. But, if you’re looking for the easiest way to clean the dirtiest of grates, it’s a product that’s hard to beat.

To use Easy Off BBQ Grill Cleaner, lay newspapers on a hard, non-wood surface, like pavement. Next, place the grates on the newspaper and spray them with Easy-Off. Wait 40 minutes, and wipe the grates clean.

Depending on how dirty your grates are, you may need to use this method twice for optimal results.

How to Clean Grill Grates After Each Use

To cut down on time deep cleaning grill grates, give them a light scrub after each use. For basic cleaning, spritz the grates with a mixture of half water and white vinegar while they’re still warm. Then, wait a few minutes and scrub the grates with your grill brush. Doing this will reduce build-up, and there’s no need to rinse afterward.

Tips for Cleaning Your Grill Grates

  • Invest in a quality grill brush for your type of grate. For porcelain-enameled grill grates, go with a nylon brush. If you have stainless steel or cast iron grates, you can use a more rigid brush, like one constructed of stainless steel bristles.
  • A couple of minutes spent cleaning after cooking will prevent hard-to-remove messes.
  • Deep clean your grates at least once per grilling season, more often if you use your grill daily.