Tailgating Tips: How to Safely Clean that Grill

It’s time for one of the best seasons of the year. We’re not talking about fall, though that is part of it. Instead, it’s tailgating season! That means it’s time to fire up the grill and cook something delicious with friends and family. It’s also a great time to learn how to safely clean the grill.

How to Safely Clean the Grill

Steps and products to avoid when cleaning the grill

While there are some products that are ideal for cleaning the grill, not all cleaning tools and products are created equally. In fact, there are some on the market that could have a negative impact on your overall health. Take a few minutes to take inventory of your grill cleaning materials to see if any could be potentially harmful. Here are a few things to consider removing from your household.

  • Wire brushes - While wire brushes can help with stuck-on grime, they can also be a major health risk. The little metal pieces of the brush can be left behind on the grill and find their way into your food. This is incredibly dangerous and should be avoided.
  • Cleaning products filled with caustic cleaners - While some cleaning products are promised as a solution to cleaning the grill, they are actually a problem in a few ways. For one, they can leave behind chemicals you will not one to consume. For two, they can break down the parts of your grill more quickly than a safer cleaning option might. Take a look at the chemical makeup of the grill cleaner you are using to check for overall safety. Be sure to use a cleaner that is family and pet-safe.
  • Don’t mix chemicals - When dealing with stubborn stuck-on messes, avoid mixing cleaning products. Not all cleaning products should be used together. Make sure to use one product when cleaning as combining cleaning products can cause a negative chemical reaction.
  • Don’t use the grill if there are broken/missing pieces - If your grill is in disrepair in any way, it is best to fully repair the problem before cooking. A grill that is damaged can have serious safety issues you may not be able to see the effects of until it is already heated up.

Safely cleaning the grill

While there are a few things you shouldn’t be doing, there are some simple things you should be doing. Cleaning the grill safely doesn’t have to be stressful. With a few of the tips below, you can clean your grill safely and simply. Here are a few of our favorite ways to safely clean a grill.

  • Switch out those wire brushes - A few options to consider instead are grill cleaning blocks, nylon bristle brushes, pumice stones, or even a bit of steam.
  • Wipe the grill down with half an onion while still hot - Did you know the acidic enzymes will break down grease on your grill without being overly abrasive? Use a grilling fork or a pair of tongs to avoid putting your hands too close to the heat.
  • Own a steam cleaner? - If you own a simple handheld steam cleaner, it can help to take the steam to the grates of your grill after it has had time to cool. This will break down stubborn stuck-on grime and grease.
  • Use a kitchen and home cleaner degreaser for added cleaning help - If you need a little more help with getting the more stubborn messes under control, we recommend a kitchen and home cleaner degreaser that will help to break down grease and make these surfaces even easier to clean! Even better, this product won’t leave behind harsh chemicals that are harmful to your family.
  • Don’t put away the grill dirty! - If you clean the grill the day you clean it, you are more likely to avoid more stubborn messes that are harder to clean. Once the food is stuck on it becomes much more difficult to clean.
  • What if I still can’t get it clean? - Sometimes cleaning the grill on the same day isn’t possible. If that’s the case, you may be left with a more difficult cleaning job. It can help to pull the grill grates inside. Place the grates in the sink. Make a paste of baking soda and water with 2 parts baking soda/1 part water. Rub down the grill grates and then pour vinegar over them. The chemical reaction will help to break down some of the stuck-on grime.

How to keep the grill clean

Once you’ve gone through all of the steps above you probably won’t want to have to do as much cleaning work. Grills are a great example of the saying, “an ounce of preparation prevents a pound of pain.” Keeping your grill clean after giving it a good clean can be easy. Even better, many of these tips will take minimal time from you. Here are a few things to try when trying to keep your grill clean.

  • Oil the grate - One way to prevent messes when grilling is to take a few minutes to oil the grate. Dip a paper towel in your preferred cooking oil. Using tongs, rub the grates with oil to keep food from sticking when grilling.
  • Verify that everything is in working order - Damage to any part of your grill can lead to having to spend more time cleaning. Take the time to do a check-up on your grill before grilling.
  • Dispose of charcoal - Used charcoal needs to be disposed of properly once it has cooled completely. Leaving charcoal in the grill that has been overused can damage the grill and leave you with a bigger mess.
  • Use grill-friendly pans and cooking containers - Are you using your grill to cook foods that are more like to spill? There are many skillets and pots that can be safely used on the grill without the added mess.
  • Put down a layer of foil - If you are grilling something with a great deal of sauce, putting down a layer of foil can help with clean-up after grilling. You would just need to make sure to remove it once it cooled completely and clean anything that dripped under it.