The Easiest Way To Clean Grease Off A Grill

Once you get the hang of grilling, it becomes one of the most fun ways to cook, allowing you to impress all your friends and family with deliciously smoky and succulent food. But cleaning your grill grates afterwards? Well, that's not fun at all. Trying to remove grease after cooking fatty all-American cheeseburgers or a saucy rack or ribs can be a nightmare — unless you have some baking soda on hand.

You can use baking soda to clean your kitchen in a number of different ways, and it can definitely work magic on a grill. The pantry staple is non-toxic, and doesn't have the overpowering odor of some harsh chemical cleaners. Plus, it has a lightly abrasive quality, which makes it ideal for getting rid of burnt-on bits of food. There are several methods to try, depending on what material your grates are made from and how dirty they are.

To clean a stainless steel grill, simply mix equal parts baking soda and water to form a paste. Remove the grates, and use a brush to scrub the mixture onto both sides. Finally, wipe them off with a wet cloth before you dry them and put them back. If you grates are porcelain or enamel, sprinkle baking soda onto them and leave it on for around 10 minutes, then gently scrub using a scour sponge or a brush with nylon bristles (a wire brush will scratch them). Rinse and dry the grates before you put them back.

Mix baking soda with other products for stubborn messes

If your grill is a real mess, you can still use baking soda to get it sparkling again. You just need to mix it with other household items, which can produce a more powerful result than the powder alone. Baking soda has a pH that is higher than neutral (i.e. it's basic), so combining it with an acid, such as vinegar, causes a foaming reaction that can lift off food residue. Vinegar is also an effective cleaner, grease remover, and disinfectant in its own right; it can clean a glass-top stove in a jiffy, and will do the same for your grill.

To remove really stubborn stains, with no scrubbing involved, add two cups of vinegar and a cup of baking soda to a big trash bag. Add your grill grates (cooled down, not hot!) to the bag with the foamy concoction, tie it up well, and let it sit overnight in a cool place. Rinse the grates to remove the mixture before placing them back on your grill.

Alternatively, try combining baking soda with liquid dish soap to make a paste. Scrubbing the grates with the mixture and then letting them soak in it for half an hour will result in an impressively deep clean. You can even mix baking soda, dish soap, and vinegar all together and paint it on the cold grill grates. Let it work overnight before wiping all the grease off with a damp sponge.

More natural ingredients for cleaning a grill

If you're not keen on the odor of vinegar and you're fresh out of baking soda, you could try using lemon to clean your grill. Dip the halved fruit into chunky salt crystals and rub it across the grates. This trick works best if the grill isn't cold, so perhaps give it a try as it's heating up or cooling down, and hold the lemon using a grilling fork to keep your fingers off the heat. As well as gliding through the grease, lemon juice also has antibacterial properties for more cleaning power.

Another way to use lemons is to mix the juice with hot water and dish soap, and soak the grates in the solution. You can also mix water and lemon juice in a spray bottle as an all-natural cleaning liquid. Alternatively, try using another liquid you may have laying around: beer. Pouring just half a bottle over the warm grates will cut through the oiliness, making the scrubbing job easier.

No beer or lemons? You can also clean your grill grates with an onion. Cut one in half and rub it on the grill, and the enzymes in the flesh will help banish the grease. Or if your grill is starting to rust, try cleaning it with ketchup instead. This is handy if you've been cooking burgers, as chances are you already have this condiment nearby.