Homemade Grill Cleaner
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13 Homemade Grill Cleaner: The Most Effective Methods 2024

Homemade grill cleaners are what you should consider having in your house. As you know, at every BBQ party, a grill is indispensable equipment; it helps you enjoy many tasty grilled dishes, of course.

However, something may happen and spoil your mood, like a grill with grease buildup, for example. And not everyone knows proper ways to clean the grill without being affected by the pungent smell from potentially unsafe chemicals.

That’s why I’m writing this article, and it will provide you with all-natural cleaning solutions and helpful tips to clean and keep your grill looking new. Let’s go exploring.

A Grill Makes The Party More Enjoyable
A grill makes the party more enjoyable with all mouth-watering dishes.

Why Should You Use Homemade Grill Cleaners?

Here are some reasons why you should replace cleaning products sold in the markets with DIY cleaners:

  • Homemade grill cleaners are made of all-natural ingredients, so they are safer for your health rather than other chemicals. Proper care of your grill can prevent it from the accumulation of residue and bacteria, which are dangerous when roasting food.
  • An effective cleaner will last your grill lifespan. You don’t need to replace a new grate or part just because it is full of grease or tough stains.
  • Reasonable price and good results. Although homemade cleaners are made of simple ingredients, they bring cleaning results as good as commercial detergent. For instance, they can also remove grease or tough stains from your grill altogether.
  • The cleaner your grill is, the better your food tastes. A perfect cleaning solution won’t leave any charring on your food after the latest use. Also, it will protect your non-stick grill from buildup.

Top 13 Best DIY Grill Cleaners

Below are the most straightforward recipes for cleaning your grill. I think that you have at least some of these ingredients on hand already. Believe me, they work well on most types of grills, from cast iron grills to charcoal or stainless grills.

Option 1: Steam Cleaning

Steaming is the fastest method to clean the grill without adding any chemicals. High heat will easily remove grease or food residue.

Steam Cleaning The Grill
Steaming will soften tough spots and allow you to clean your grill more easily.

What you’ll need:

  • Steamer
  • A cloth
  • Water

How to use:

Step 1: Don’t forget to detach the racks before steaming. Don’t let the grill cool down since a warm or hot grill will be more effective.

Step 2: Apple the steamer directly to the grill; pay attention to the stubborn areas.

Step 3: Remember to dry your grill racks after cleaning.

Option 2: White Vinegar Cleaner Spray

The first recipe is vinegar – the most common cleaning solution. The acetic acid (1) found in white vinegar can effectively dissolve dirt, grease, and other deposits on your grill.

White Vinegar Cleaner Spray
White vinegar is an indispensable ingredient for cleaning around your house

What you’ll need:

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • A spray bottle
  • A sheet of aluminum foil

How to use:

Step 1: To begin, mix vinegar and water with equal parts into the spritz bottle. Then gently shake the bottle to mix them up.

Step 2: Spray on the surface, don’t forget its grates. Let the solution sit for 10 minutes to dissolve grease or grime.

Step 3: Rub the grates with aluminum foil. Since vinegar is not dangerous for your grates, you can choose to rinse them underwater or not.

Check these instructions to ensure you are cleaning right.

Watch this video: Clean your BBQ Grill

Option 3: Vinegar And Olive Oil

In addition to vinegar – a versatile-purpose cleaning solution, this recipe also has olive oil, which can eliminate all streaks or smudges and leave a coating on your grates.

Vinegar And Olive Oil Cleaning Solution
Olive oil is a natural cooking ingredient, so it’s the safest but effective cleaning option.

What you’ll need:

  • Vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Spray bottle
  • A clean cloth

How to use:

Step 1: Pour white vinegar into the spray bottle and apply directly on the grill. Then wipe until it cleans.

Step 2: Pour olive oil on the cloth and gently rub the grates.

Option 4: Vinegar And Baking Soda

If the stains on your grill are so stubborn that vinegar cannot eliminate, you should think of a more powerful cleaner. The reaction between vinegar and baking soda will effectively scrub the surface to get rid of grease and tough stains.

Vinegar And Baking Soda Is Grill Cleaner
A perfect homemade grill cleaner from baking soda and white vinegar.

What you’ll need:

  • A large plastic bag
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda

It’s noted that the cleaning mixture will bubble up in the process, so make sure you take a bag that is larger than your grates.

How to use:

Step 1: Take out the grates and put them in a large plastic bag (or a garbage bag).

Step 2: In a bowl, stir together 1 cup of vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda. Then, pour this solution on the grills inside the bag and let it sit there overnight.

Step 3: If there is still residue on the surface, you can use a stainless steel brush to lightly brush them off. Now, you can rinse the loosened grease with water.

Option 5: Baking Soda, Vinegar, And Hot Water

This is a quick cleaning solution; you don’t need to wait for an hour to prepare before cooking. For this method, hot water will soften buildup or grease, while baking soda and vinegar will easily remove them.

Hot Water Will Soften Buildup Or Grease
Mixing with hot water will boost the cleaning ability of this liquid.

What you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Hot water
  • A brush

How to use:

Step 1: Turn on your grill at medium-high temperature, close, and leave it for about 15 minutes.

Step 2: Remove residue using a brush

Step 3: Mix the cleaner, including ¼ cup baking soda, ¼ cup white vinegar, and 1-gallon hot water. Soak your grates into the cleaner, or you can pour the cleaner directly over the grates.

Step 4: Gently scrub the surface and let the grill cool down. Then, rinse it with water to remove all remaining particles.

Option 6: Baking Soda And Aluminum Foil

Another easy-to-find ingredient is baking soda. It is a mild alkali and mildly abrasive (2). Therefore baking soda can remove dirt and grease effectively. Also, baking soda is used in cooking, so it’s safe to use on the grills without potential harm like many other cleaners.

Use Of Aluminum Foil To Brush The Grates
You can make use of aluminum foil to brush the grates.

What you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A brush/ sponge
  • A piece of aluminum foil.

How to use:

Step 1: Mix 1 ½ cup of baking soda with ½ cup of water in a bowl or any container. Use a brush or sponge to apply the liquid on the grill surface, then let it sit for a few minutes.

Step 2: Form your aluminum foil into a ball, use it to scrub the entire grates. And

Step 3: Rinse the grate with water.

Option 7: Baking Soda And Sponge

If your grill grates are made of porcelain or enamel, you should clean the grill with a scour sponge instead of using a brush or a ball of aluminum foil. By doing this, your surface won’t be scratched.

A Soft Sponge Protect The Grill Surface
A soft sponge will protect your grill surface from being scratched.

What you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A sponge

How to use:

Step 1: Remove the grate from your grill and wet it with water. Sprinkle some baking soda on its surface and wait for 10 minutes

Step 2: Damp the sponge and use it to scrub the grate from top to down, and make sure you clean every wire.

Step 3: Rinse the surface off with water.

Simple-yet-effective, cleaning your grill cannot be easier.

Watch this video: How to Get Your Grill Sparkling

Option 8: Water, Dish Soap, Baking Soda, And Vinegar (For Grates)

A Cast Iron Cooking Grate Gets Rusty
A cast iron cooking grate gets rusty after regular use.

Most cast iron grill grates are easily rusted over time. Cleaning the surface with baking soda regularly may protect it from rusting. For this method, you can combine common ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, water, and dish soap.

What you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • A brush

How to use:

Step 1: Add 1 ½ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup dish soap to ¼ cup of vinegar in a container.

Step 2: Cover the grates with the liquid using a brush, close the grill (don’t turn it on), and let the mixture sit overnight or for 8-12 hours.

Step 3: Remove the debris and grime with a sponge and wipe them away using warm water.

After your cleaning is done, you should coat the surface with vegetable oil to prevent the grates from air and moisture. Then, you can also turn on the grill to lock the oily coating.

Option 9: Onion Or Lemon

Onion and lemon are must-have items of most families. In addition to essential ingredients for cooking, the acidity in onion or lemon juice can clean the grill, like breaking down food residue or grease. Here is how this quick solution works.

The Acidity In Onion Or Lemon Juice Clean The Grill
It’s such a versatile ingredient! Onion works well in both cooking and cleaning.

What you’ll need:

  • Half an onion/ lemon
  • Salt (optional)

How to use:

Step 1: Warm up your grill grates.

Step 2: Place half an onion into a grill and rub the cut side down over the grates. Do the same with half of the cut lemon.

A lemon or onion can just deal with normal stains; in case your grill has a lot of buildups, you should consider using an abrasive substance – salt. Dip the lemon/onion into salt and scrub the grates gently. Remember to apply salt on serious stains.

See how’s quick grill cleaning with an onion.

Watch this video: Clean a Grill With an Onion

Option 10: Beer

Beer contains carbonation with low pH acidic; thus, it can help to dissolve dirt and grease on your grill.

Beer Dissolve Dirt And Grease On Grill
This fresh drink can also be used as a homemade grill cleaner. That’s surprising!

What you’ll need:

  • Half of Beer
  • Aluminum foil/ A stainless-steel brush

How to use:

Step 1: Gently pour beer over the grate surface when it’s still warm

Step 2: Use an aluminum foil or grill brush to scrub the grates.

Step 3: Wipe residue with water after all stains are removed.

Option 11: All-Purpose Grill Cleaning Spray

To have the best cleaning result, why don’t you try this recipe which combines various ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, oil, and any natural cleaner (I recommend Sal Suds, a coconut-based multiple purpose cleaner).

Cleaning Solution From Baking Soda Natural Oil And Vinegar
A zero waste eco-friendly cleaning solution from baking soda, natural oil, and vinegar.

In addition to white vinegar and baking soda, oils have potential effects on cleaning and preventing your grill from rusting.

Here is how to make the recipe.

What you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Sal Suds ( any natural, biodegradable cleaner)
  • Avocado oil spray
  • Hot water
  • A container ( you can use a tin/ pie tin)
  • A spray bottle
  • A metal scrubber
  • Gloves

How to use:

Step 1: Warm up the grill, add 2 cups of hot water into a container, and put it on the grates. Now, close the grill and leave it for about 10 minutes for steaming.

Step 2: In the spray bottle, mix water, Sal Suds, baking soda with vinegar and mix them up.

Step 3: Wear the oven gloves to take the container out of the grill. Turn off the grill and wait for a few minutes to cool completely.

Step 4: Spray the solution onto the grates; Then, use the metal scrubber/ an aluminum foil/ a grill brush to remove all residue.

Step 5: Wipe off the surface using a clean cloth.

Step 6: You can use a paper towel to cover avocado oil onto the grates. The oil layer will protect your surface from rusting.

Option 12: Dish Soap

Grab the bottle of dish soap in your kitchen and create a super-easy cleaning recipe. It can eliminate all gunk on your grates. You can use this method for both hot and cold grates.

Dish Soap Clean Your Grill
You can easily find dish soap in your kitchen. Now, you can use it to clean your grill too

What you’ll need:

  • A bottle of dish soap
  • Hot water
  • A bucket
  • Gloves
  • Baking soda ( Optional)

How to use:

Step 1: Choose a big enough bucket to contain your grates and fill it with hot water. Then stir about a quarter of a cup of dish soap. You can mix with some baking soda to remove grease easily.

Step 2: Soak the grates in the bucket, don’t forget to equip yourself with gloves to prevent burning. Let the grates sit for 15 to 60 minutes.

Step 3: Remove them from the bucket, gently scrub the surface and rinse with cold water to eliminate all traces of the soap.

Option 13: Coffee

Coffee is good for keeping you awake and cleaning your grill as well. Yes, it’s true. The acidic nature of coffee works great for cleaning up grease on the grills.

Coffee Clean Your Grill
More than a drink, coffee can effectively clean your grill due to the acidic nature found in it.

What you’ll need:

  • Coffee
  • A basin
  • Warm water

How to use:

Step 1: Pour leftover coffee into a basin and put the grate into it. Let it sit there for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Take the grates out of the coffee, and scrub them to remove all residues, and rinse with water. Lastly, wipe clean with a paper towel.

Three-Step Process For Cleaning Charcoal Grills

Like other types of grills, charcoal grills should be treated with proper care. After each use, you should remove all old coals, ashes, and thoroughly clean its rock bed. Let’s follow the below steps to keep your charcoal grill clean and last its lifespan.

Tools and materials you’ll need:

  • A brush
  • A steel brush
  • Aluminum foil and a tong (optional)
  • A long-handled brush
  • Vegetable oil
  • Paper towel
  • A sponge or a scourer


Step 1: Remove all ash

Take your grates out and clean all the old ash using a brush

Step 2: Clean the grates

You can use a long-handle brush or make a ball from aluminum foil and use a tong to hold it. After that, continue brushing the grates to remove stains and residue food.

You can apply vegetable oil to the grates to prevent food and rust from building up. Pour the oil on a paper towel and wipe the grates carefully.

Step 3: Cleaning the grilling bowl and lid

Use the soapy solution and a steel brush to clean the interior grilling bowl and lid.

Step 4: Clean the outer

You can use the same cleaner as the previous steps to clean the exterior. Dip a sponge or a scourer into the solution, and clean the outer surface. Don’t forget to dry it with a clean towel.

You should refer to this guideline while cleaning your grill to avoid missing any steps.

Watch this video: How to Clean a Charcoal Grill

Step-By-Step Guideline To Clean Your Gas Grill

Grills are indispensable in every barbecue party, full of tasty meat, sausages, hotdogs…So, you should always keep it clean. You don’t want to spoil your parties just because of a dirty grill, right?

If you aren’t sure about how to clean your gas grill, let’s read this part. It provides an 8-step guideline on deeply cleaning the grill.

Tools and materials you’ll need:

  • DIY grill cleaner ( choose one of your favorite on the list mentioned)
  • Towel
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • A spray bottle
  • A garbage can
  • A putty knife
  • Vacuum or hand broom
  • A brush


Step 1: Clean the upper cook box

Turn off your grill first, open the lid of your grill. Use a DIY grill cleaner spray ( you can opt for one of your favorites on the list above), and spray it onto the inside of the upper cook box. Let the cleaning solution sit for a few minutes.

After that, use a stainless steel brush to remove all traces of dirt. Next, take the grill grates out from the inside to be ready for the cleaning.

Step 2: Scrub burner tubes and lower cook box

Remove all dirt in the burner tubes with the brush from side to side. Or you can use a hand broom or vacuum to remove all debris from the bottom of the cook box.

Then, scrape residue into the grill’s grease tray with a putty knife. Clean carefully to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Step 3: Clean grill grates

Remove all dirt from the grates with the putty knife and stainless steel brush. Once you eliminate all debris, spray a grill cleaner onto the surface, rinse them with water, or simply wipe them off with a towel.

However, I have some notes when cleaning grates:

  • Don’t clean porcelain grates with metal or wire brushes; they will remove the rust-resistant on the grate’s surface. A soft-bristle or a nylon grill brush will be better.
  • With cast-iron grates, they may not withstand water-iron tends to rust. So, you should clean them whenever they are calm and burn off all food left; and just use the nylon brush to clean them.

And ensure you dry all water on the surface entirely and end up with vegetable oil after cleaning to prevent rusting.

  • When cleaning stainless steel grates, you should use aluminum foil to cover the top of the grates and set the temperature high for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • By doing that, you can burn off the food left on the surface. Wait for the grates to cold and wipe with a nylon brush.

Step 4: Check the igniters

At the end of each burner tube, there are the igniters. Once cleaned, ensure they are sparkly and in good working order. If they aren’t, it’s time to replace them with new ones.

Gently spray the cleaning solution onto the surface to remove any grease from the igniters and wipe it with the towel.

Step 5: Clean burner tubes and lower cook box

Remove dirt thoroughly from the burner tubes and lower the cook box with your vacuum or hand broom. Then spray grill cleaner onto both of them until they’re clean.

Step 6: The grease tray and grill pan

Open your grill’s door and put out the grease tray and the pan. Then, remove all the debris. Spray both with a grill cleaning solution and wipe them from the top to the bottom of the tray.

Step 7: Clean the inside of the cabinet

Vacuum or sweep perfectly all the surfaces. After that, use a grill cleaner to spray directly onto them and wipe them. Ensure you also reach the top edge of the cabinet doors.

Step 8: Clean the grill exterior

To start, remove the control knobs from your grill and wipe them and the surface under them to remove all dirt and grease. Then, spray the grill cleaner and thoroughly wipe the outside, especially in the grease-prone area near the cook box.

You can clean your grill like a pro.

Watch this video: How to Clean a Gas Grill

Clever Tips To Keep Your Grill Sparkling

In addition to the cleaning solution and method, you should maintain them carefully to keep your grill looking like a new one. Here are some tips that may be helpful for you:

  • You should leave your grill on high heat for 15 minutes to turn food leftover to ash. It’s easier to clean your grill afterward.
  • Clean the grates when it’s still warm, which will help to clean easier. It’s recommended that you should scrap and wipe your grill for about 10 minutes after finishing grilling.
  • You should remove old ash and coals before you start grilling again.
  • Once the grill starts to cool down, you should cover it with a water-soaked newspaper and close the lid. Let it sit for 30 minutes for a steam cleaning.
  • To prevent your grill from grim, you should cover the grates with aluminum foil or cooking oil. Also, you can use a grill pan or basket.
  • You should use soft sponges and wooden scrapers to clean your BBQ grill. Plastic tools can be used when the grill cools completely. Keep in mind using rough tools when needed.


Here are some frequent questions I’ve been asked. I think you may find them helpful for your grill.

Can I use Dawn on my grill?

You can use Dawn to remove tough spots on your grill; make sure you thoroughly wash it away after cleaning.

Can I use Easy Off to clean my grill?

Easy Off is an oven cleaner; I recommend you not to use it to clean BBQ. This cleaning solution can destroy the exterior of your BBQ grill; it even makes the non-stick layer on your grates less effective.

Can you power wash grill grates?

A power washer will effectively clean your grill. You should use a gas or electric washer which produces about1.3 GPM at 2,000 PSI. Its power can deal with all grime stuck on your grill.

What can I use to substitute a grill brush?

Suppose you don’t have a grill brush. You can try a ball of aluminum foil. It works the same as the brush on the grill surface.

Can I use WD-40 to remove grease from my grill?

WD-40 is suitable for cleaning, and it is a rust repellent. However, make sure you use it before seasonal storage. And don’t forget to thoroughly wash it away before using the grill.

How often should you clean your grill?

The answer depends on how often you grill, and it’s recommended that you clean it every time you use it. For deep cleaning, every 6 months or at least once a year will provide the best results.

Can I use steel wool on grill grates?

Never use steel wool on the grill surface, especially stainless steel grates. That may cause pits and scratches on the surface. Over time, grease or dirt will fill them in, and they’re difficult to clean.

Simplest, But Most Effective Recipes

After reading my homemade grill cleaners, have you found some recipes to clean your grill? I’m sure you have your own answer. These methods are simple yet effective in removing stains on the grates, so don’t forget to apply them to tidy up your grill at the next BBQ party.

If you find this post useful, don’t hesitate to like and share it with your friends. Don’t forget to leave your interesting ideas below this post.

Homemade Grill Cleaner


  1. Vinegar. (2021). Wikipedia.
  2. En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Sodium bicarbonate – Wikipedia.

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Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Home Cleaning Specialist

Expertise: In-depth Knowledge of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses, Advanced Home Sanitization, Techniques Expertise in Cleaning and Maintaining, Various Floor Types, Innovations in Home Cleaning Tools

School: American College of Home Economics

Kevin Jones is a seasoned home cleaning specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. A stickler for cleanliness and organization, Kevin brings a systematic and innovative approach to home maintenance. His expertise ranges from traditional methods to modern cleaning technology, ensuring homes are not just clean but healthy environments too.

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