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How To Clean A BBQ Grill

A time-honored 4th of July tradition includes cooking outdoors surrounded by friends and family. While many people love to cook on their grill, few list cleaning a grill grate among their hobbies.

This 4th of July, use these five easy grill-cleaning methods to ensure your burgers and hot dogs are served clean.

Cleaning a BBQ Grill with Lemon or Onion

A little bit of lemon can go a long way when it comes to household cleaning as citric acid is great for cutting grease. In addition, onions aren’t just for burgers and shish kebabs anymore.

You’ll need:
  • Half of a large white onion or several halved lemons
  • Kosher salt (only if you’re using lemons)
  • A BBQ fork
  • A plate
  • A water hose
  1. Heat the grill until it’s very hot. Let it sit for a few minutes so that any food particles burn down.
  2. Pierce the onion or a lemon half with the BBQ fork, making sure the cut side faces down.
  3. If you’re using lemons, pour Kosher salt on a plate and dip the lemons into this.
  4. Rub the onion or lemon over the hot grill surface. You’ll need to put some pressure behind this for it to work. Replace your onion half or lemons as needed until the grill is clean.
  5. Wait for the grill to cool completely. Then, remove the grill grate and rinse it under clean water from your hose so that future meals aren’t unintentionally flavored like onion or salty lemon.

How to Clean a BBQ Grill with Baking Soda

Baking soda has amazing scouring properties, which make this simple household ingredient a great choice for fighting BBQ grill grease and build-up.

You’ll need:
  • A plate
  • ¼ cup of baking soda
  • A wire BBQ brush
  • A water hose
  • A towel
  1. Pour the baking soda on the plate.
  2. Dampen your wire BBQ brush, then dip it into the baking soda.
  3. Scrub the grill surface until it’s clean, re-dampening the brush and reapplying baking soda as needed. Note: The grill should not be hot for this method.
  4. Once the grill is free of stuck-on food bits and char, remove it and rinse it thoroughly under a water hose.
  5. Dry the grill with a towel or paper towels before replacing it. This is especially important when cleaning a BBQ grill with baking soda, as the residue from this method can ruin the flavor of food prepared in the future.

Cleaning a Grill with Vinegar and Aluminum Foil

You already know that distilled white vinegar can be used to clean many household items, including toilet bowls and showers. Therefore, you’re probably not too surprised to learn it can work some magic on a dirty BBQ grill, too.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of distilled white vinegar
  • A spray bottle
  • Aluminum foil
  • A water hose
  1. Heat the grill up to burn off as much caked-on residue as possible.
  2. Let the grill cool down completely.
  3. Pour the vinegar into the spray bottle and spritz the surface of the grill until it’s covered with liquid.
  4. Grab a sheet of aluminum foil and crumple it up. Use this to scrub the surface of the grill until any residue has been removed.
  5. Remove the grill and rinse off any remaining traces of vinegar using the water hose.

How to Clean the Dirtiest of BBQ Grills

Some BBQ grills look like they haven’t been touched since they were used last 4th of July. If you’re looking to clean a monster mess — or want to avoid a lot of scrubbing — the following method should do the trick.

You’ll need:
  • 3 cups of ammonia
  • 3 cups of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • A large plastic garbage bag
  1. Make sure the grill grate is completely cool, then place it in the trash bag.
  2. Mix the ammonia and vinegar together. Pour the mixture into the bag.
  3. Gently pour the baking soda into the bag.
  4. Seal the bag and shake it so that the solution coats the grill.
  5. Leave the grill in the bag with the solution. Let it sit for overnight, making sure it’s in the sun during the daytime and out of reach of pets or children.
  6. The next day, remove the grill and rinse it off under the water hose.

Final Touches: Cleaning the Grill’s Exterior

While the grate is the most important part of the grill, you want to go all the way in your cleaning to make sure your grill is ready for the big day. 

You’ll need:
  1. In the spray bottle, mix your dishwashing liquid with hot water.
  2. Spritz the exterior of the grill with the solution, with the exception of wooden handles. Note: If the grill top is warm, it can help you remove residue. However, you need to make sure it’s warm, but not so hot that you’ll burn yourself.
  3. Wipe down the grill lid, basin and legs with the solution and your microfiber cloth.
  4. Use a dry microfiber cloth to buff any streaks from the grill and to wipe down wooden handles.
Now that you know how to clean a BBQ grill, you may want some tips on washing your outdoor furniture. And if you’re having a lot of guests over and needs help getting the inside of your house in shape, contact your local Merry Maids for some backup.