How to Clean a Grill

Nobody likes to clean in the summer time, which is probably why our grill racks more often than not end up covered with burned-on, black sticky gook. We tell ourselves it all burns off when we cook, but every now and then it’s time to face the fact we have a messy job ahead of us. Fortunately, cleaning your grill isn’t that difficult. The best way to avoid the headache of a dirty grill is prevention and avoiding buildup. When you’re through grilling, lower your grill rack to as close to the charcoal or heating element as you can. The fat and excess will burn off, leaving an easy-to-clean powder that can easily be scraped off with your grill scraper after your grill has cooled.

Break Out the Oven Cleaner

Get some sheets of newspaper and place them flat in a sunny spot of your back yard. Lay your gunky grill rack on top of the newspaper. Spray the grill rack with oven cleaner and allow the grill rack it sit for a few hours. Then with a grill brush, scrape off the now loosened gunk. Rinse well with water from the garden hose.

Use Your Self-Cleaning Oven

Bring your dirty grill rack inside and place it in your self-cleaning oven, if you have one. The cleaning cycle will remove the mess from the grill, plus you’ll get clean oven, too. After the cleaning cycle is complete, remove your grill rack from the oven.


Fill your bath tub with hot water and several cups of ammonia, enough to cover your grill rack completely. Allow the rack to soak until the grill debris is softened enough to scrape off with your grill brush or a washcloth. Make sure you avoid inhaling the ammonia fumes when possible.

Onion, Anyone?

You can also cut an onion in half and scrub you grill rack with the onion half, and the burned out residue will come right off!

As always, follow the instructions that came with your grill – if any cleaners aren’t recommended, such as oven cleaner or ammonia, don’t use the above method to clean your grill.

Betsy Cline

Betsy Cline has been a professional house cleaner for 15 years and also a mother of 4 amazing kids (who make lots of messes). She is the founder of How to Clean It and loves to share tips and advice for cleaning up anything life throws at you.

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