10 Cleaning Products That’ll Tackle Your Toughest Grill Messes

published Jun 22, 2023
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Open grill, heating up
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Grilling is one of the most enjoyable parts of summer, but it’s also one of the messiest cooking methods you can partake in. Even if you prep your grates just right and monitor your burger patties the whole time to ensure they don’t burn, there’s no way to prevent the inevitable grime and charred black buildup that’s always left behind. We’re all too familiar with the tedious chore of grill cleaning, which is why we recently shared a list of the best cleaning tools, including brushes and scrapers, to invest in to simplify the process.

That roundup, however, mostly consisted of things that do the actually scrubbing. First, you’ll need something with which to prime your grates, baskets, and other grilling surfaces so that the consequent scraping doesn’t prove back-breaking. Lucky for you, we rounded up 10 cleaning solutions that are sure to degrease and soften up all the gunk so that you can seamlessly wipe it off afterward. Some of these products are editor favorites, while others are loved by shoppers across the internet. No matter which one you choose, you can’t go wrong.

1 / 10
Williams Sonoma

Finding the right grill cleaner is a process of trial and error. Whereas some folks prefer heavy-duty degreasers, others, like contributor Shifrah, rely on gentler, non-toxic alternatives such as the Traeger All-Natural Grill Cleaner. But make no mistake — just because this solution doesn't contain any harsh chemicals, that doesn't mean it's not effective. On the contrary! "It foams, but it’s not an aerosol, and it only needs to be left on for five to 10 minutes," Shifrah wrote. "Best of all, you can see the dirt and grease melt before your eyes, which is so satisfying ... From now on, hands-down, Traeger will be my go-to grill grate cleaner."

2 / 10
was $6.99

One of the top-rated grill cleaners on Amazon, this Easy-Off Heavy Duty spray was formulated to penetrate and lift even the toughtest stuck-on messes. At just $5 a bottle, it won't break the bank, but it will save your grates. It has more than 6,000 five-star ratings, with numerous reviewers saying it works exactly as described. Simply spray the degreaser onto the mess, leave it for 30 minutes, and watch as the grease comes off with little effort required on your part.

3 / 10
Ace Hardware

Another non-toxic option, this CitruSafe spray not only carries a pleasant lemon scent, but it's actually made from a chemical found in citrus fruit peels that works to effectively fight stubborn stickiness. You can use the multipurpose spray on everything from microwaves to ovens to barbecue grills and rest assured that they'll be left looking brand-new when you're done.

4 / 10

Chances are, you already have a perfectly good grill cleaner combo in your kitchen. Contributor Danielle swears by a mixture of classic Dawn dish soap and baking soda, which you can leave on for about 30 minutes and scrape off with aluminum foil. "I could see the mixture starting to break up the grease right away, turning brown and gunky instantly as it got to work," she wrote. "I could tell the mixture had dissolved pretty much all of the grease and made a lot of the stubborn, burnt-on stuff I couldn’t scrape off the first time a lot easier to remove. I rinsed the grate in a big bucket of warm water and was amazed at the difference!" If you happen to be out of Dawn, now's the perfect time to restock.

5 / 10
Ace Hardware

If soapy or lemony smells aren't your thing, opt for this scentless two-in-one oven and grill cleaner. Because you can use it both indoors and outdoors, this surface cleaner will continue to come in handy even after summer is over. You can even spray it on pots, pans, and other cookware that could use a deep clean. Watch as dirt and rust scrub off in a flash.

6 / 10

If you don't mind getting your hands a little dirty, the Mean Green degreaser is a solid choice. In her own quest to find the best grill cleaning method, contributor Ashley scrubbed her grates after spraying this on. "It did yield great results, but it took a lot to get to that point," she wrote. "While I was very happy with the grate after the cleaning, I did have lots of grease splatter marks (from all the scrubbing with the brush) on my shoes and pants!" In other words, if you use this solution, it's definitely going to have to be an outside job.

7 / 10
Home Depot

When scouring the internet for the top-rated grill cleaners, we repeatedly saw that many online shoppers strongly suggest Goo Gone. This line has many different surface cleaner sprays for a number of purposes, but their degreaser is easily the one of the more popular ones. It works on all kinds of surfaces, including on cars and heavy machinery, so there's little doubt that it'll lift all the crumminess off of your grill, too. There's certainly no harm in giving it a try.

8 / 10

We established that Danielle is a fan of using Dawn dish soap and baking soda to clean her grill grates, but she also ranked Dawn's Platinum Powerwash solution as an excellent method for removing stubborn buildup. In fact, this product might be even more convenient because it comes in a spray bottle. "I was seriously impressed by how well the Powerwash penetrated the baked-on grease," she wrote after trying out five different grill cleaning methods. "Once I started scrubbing, I could see it melting away as I scrubbed. This was definitely the most effective cleanser at removing the worst of the baked-on grease."

9 / 10

Of course, Easy-Off is perhaps better known for their standard oven cleaner, but Lisa, Kitchn's former executive lifestyle director, actually prefers it as her go-to grill cleaner. "The amount of grease and charred bits that came off was just unbelievable," she wrote after spraying her grates down with Easy-Off. "This was not only the easiest grate-cleaning process I’ve ever done, but it was also the most effective... I could actually swipe my finger across the grates without it coming up brown with grease!" Best of all, while the solution sits for 40 minutes, you're free to do other things with the extra time.

10 / 10
was $11.99

As you just saw, there are many "heavy-duty" degreasers on the market, but this KH-7 spray is very highly concentrated, promising to leave surfaces spotless after just five to seven minutes. Whether you spray it on your bike, grill, or even on your shoes, it's sure to become one of your go-to cleaning products after a couple of uses. Say goodbye to arduous scrubbing and implacable stains once and for all.