Easy Cleaning Ideas for Your Gas or Charcoal Grill

We all love using our grills in the summer to cook mouthwatering steaks and more, but unless they are kept clean, charred food can build up making your grill an unappetizing place to prepare your summer meal. There are some simple ways to keep your grill sparking and ready for your next back yard picnic. These methods work with both charcoal and gas grills.

First, if you have a new grill, and each time you cook with a clean one, be sure to spray the entire rack with a non-stick cooking spray, such as Pam. This will help the gunk to loosen and be much easier to clean, just as it does with your indoor cookware. After using the grill, while it is still WARM, wad a piece of aluminum foil to form a tight ball and use that to scrub the rack clean. It works much better than the stiff grill brushes and can be thrown away after use.

What if your grill is gross, it’s already cooled, and it really needs a good cleaning. There are actually three very effective ways to clean it. The first is to lay out long pieces of aluminum foil, shiny side up, and wrap your grill rack completely in this foil. (The shiny side should be against the metal rack.) Press the foil tightly and completely cover the rack, even if you have to lay pieces of foil both vertically and horizontally to cover it. Then place the rack back inside your grill and fire it up. If you have a gas grill, light it and close the lid. If you have a charcoal grill, fire it up and then cover it. Leave the foil-wrapped rack in the grill for thirty minutes. Then cool and remove. Unwrap and you will find that all the debris has fallen to the bottom of the foil and can be tossed away with the used foil. (This is a similar method to self-cleaning ovens.)

The second way to clean an already corroded grill rack is to wrap the rack in paper towels, spray the towels wet with ammonia, and then place in a trash bag. Tie the top tightly and allow to sit overnight. When you open, watch out for the fumes. Use the paper towels around the rack to wipe it easily clean. Then toss the towels and garbage bag for easy clean-up. When you first use a rack that has soaked in ammonia, let it heat for about fifteen minutes before adding your food to burn off any of the chemical that may be left.

Another way my neighbor swears by is to toss the cooled rack onto the grass and leave overnight. The dew from the grass will cut the grease and food particles right off, and the grill can be easily rinsed with the hose the next morning.

So what about the outside of the grill? Even if you keep your grill covered, they seem to get really dirty and covered with soot over time. Take a waterless cleaner, such as Kimberly Clark’s Naturally Tuff, available at Sam’s Club or any waterless cleaner from your home supply or automotive parts store. This looks like a small can of green slime, but does a fantastic job with shining up things. Apply it with a paper towel in a gentle circular motion and then buff with a dry paper towel. Your grill will look shiny and new again in a matter of minutes. Keeping your grill out of the weather and under a cover will also help to keep it looking new.

Another problem many Bar-B-Que enthusiasts have is the back soot that builds up on the bottom of pots they place on the grill to cook side dishes. If you will take an ordinary bar of soap, any brand, and rub the soap all over the bottom of the pot, the soot and grime will wipe off easily when the dishes are washed.

Summer is a fun time, and it is a great time to move the cooking outdoors to avoid heating up the house. Keeping your grill clean and hygienic will make your family’s meal much more appetizing and food safe. By using these easy tips, you can keep your grill in top-notch shape all season.

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