How Do I Choose the Best Barbecue Grill Cleaner?

Misty Amber Brighton

Food can become caked on when cooking on a grill, so finding the right barbecue grill cleaner is very important.These products should not have harsh odors or strong chemicals, as those may cause lingering effects. A strong degreaser makes a good barbecue grill cleaner, or a combination of ordinary household cleaners can also be effective. The cleaner should not be abrasive, as this could damage your equipment. Grill cleaner is applied in different ways, and the right one can depend on how dirty your grill is.

An aerosol spray can be ideal for tougher particles on a grate.
An aerosol spray can be ideal for tougher particles on a grate.

Products that contain harsh chemicals could leave a residue behind which can be very difficult to rinse off. The smell of strong chemicals might remain for some time after using the barbecue grill cleaner, causing any barbecue meals you make to have an unusual taste. Smelling the cleaner first can let you know if it has a strong odor and determine if a brand is too strong for you to use.

Baking soda can be added to degreasers to help remove baked-on substances.
Baking soda can be added to degreasers to help remove baked-on substances.

You may want to use a degreaser to clean your barbecue grill. Some may contain citrus, and one of these types does not usually have strong odors. Before you decide to use a degreaser as a barbecue grill cleaner, you should read the label to see if it is safe to use around food. You could also mix the degreaser with a small amount of baking soda and dish soap to make a paste. This combination can help loosen baked-on substances.

The BBQ could become scratched if powdered cleansers are used as a barbecue grill cleaner. This might mean that food would be more likely to stick and burn if the scratches were especially long or deep. Some gel-type cleaners also contain abrasives, so you may want to squeeze a small sample onto a damp cloth and then rub it between your fingers to see if it is gritty. Cleaners that contain baking soda are not normally abrasive because baking soda itself does not have a grainy texture.

An aerosol spray can be useful if you are trying to remove heavy particles from the grate since it normally foams and sticks to these particles. Barbecue grill cleaner in a spray bottle might be better for getting into tight crevices inside the equipment because it is easier to direct the spray into these areas. Liquid or gel products can work well on all parts of a BBQ as they are generally easy to spread with a damp sponge or cloth.

Cleaning a grill requires a stiff wire brush.
Cleaning a grill requires a stiff wire brush.

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Discussion Comments


@Grivusangel -- Yeah, I was thinking I wouldn't want to use anything on my barbecue grill that wasn't food safe to start with. Vinegar and baking soda sound perfect. If the mixture is good enough to clean my cat's litterbox without me worrying about toxic materials on his paws, then it's good enough for my barbecue grill for sure.

I've also seen on the cooking shows that running an oiled paper towel over the hot grill before cooking helps keep the food from sticking, which also facilitates a much quicker clean-up. I thought that was a great idea, too.


And then there's good old white vinegar and baking soda. That makes as good a cleaner as anything, and it's food safe!

Another good thing to have is a good scraping tool. A tool with a brush and scraper works very well and when combined with the vinegar mixture, is great for getting all kinds of gunk and cooked on stuff from a barbecue grill.

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