Tricks in Cleaning Grill Grates
Warm weather and backyard barbecues go hand-in-hand. With each use, the grate on your grill is exposed to grease, food particles and ash if you use a charcoal grill. Cleaning the grill grate is a messy, sometimes labor-intensive job, which often leads people to avoid the task altogether. But a clean grill grate results in better tasting food, and less smoke emitted from burning food particles while grilling.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
This dynamic duo cleaning combination is an environmentally friendly trick for cleaning the grill grate easily. Vinegar is a natural, mild acetic that breaks down protein, grease and food particles and helps to loosen them from the surface of the grill grate. Baking soda is a natural, safe mild abrasive cleaning agent that puts a little scrubbing action into the cleaning process. Together, this foaming mixture does most of the work for you to get grill grates shiny and clean.
Lay the grill grate on top of a plastic trash bag outdoors in order to avoid making a mess in the house. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda in a bucket or bowl, then wipe the solution onto the grill grate with a clean cloth or sponge. Make sure to turn the grate over so you get cleaning solution on both sides. Leave the solution on the grill grate for one to two hours, then scrub with a sponge and rinse with a hose. This grill grate cleaning trick results in a shiny, clean grate without a lot of elbow grease on your part.
Aluminum foil isn't just for wrapping the leftovers from your grilled dinner. A lightly crumpled piece of aluminum foil makes an effective scrubbing pad. This cleaning trick is especially useful for cleaning gas grill grates. Gas grill grates often need to be cleaned with a stiff metal brush, made specifically for cleaning the grate. If you don't have a metal brush, crumpled up aluminum scrubs off cooked-on food from the gas grill grate. Clean the gas grill grate before cooking, then afterwards in order to keep it in ready-to-use condition. Crumple up a 12-inch by 12-inch piece of aluminum foil and hold it with a pair of grilling tongs so you don't burn your hands on the hot grill. Scrub the surface of the gas grill with the aluminum foil, spraying a squirt of undiluted vinegar onto stubborn stains. Once you're finished scrubbing, wipe the surface of the gas grill grate with a clean cloth dampened with water.
Liquid Laundry Detergent
The use of laundry detergent to quickly and efficiently clean food, grease and grime off grill grates is probably one of the best-kept cleaning secrets. Laundry detergent works to dissolve grilled-on grease and food similar to the way it loosens and removes stains from clothing. Place a large bath or beach towel in the bottom of the bathtub and lay the grill grate on top of the towel. Cover the grill grates with hot water and mix in 1/2 cup liquid laundry detergent. Allow the grate to soak overnight then wipe it off the next morning with a clean sponge. The grease and grime will wipe right off the grill grate, which can be rinsed off and air-dried.