I Cleaned My Disgusting Grill Grates with Oven Cleaner — And I’ll Never Use Anything Else Ever Again

updated May 5, 2021
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Hand lifting a grill grate from the grill
Credit: Rachel Joy Barehl

We write about oven cleaner a lot, here at Kitchn. We’ve done stories on using the stuff to clean the outside of enameled Dutch ovens, browned baking sheets, and more. Usually, it’s featuring Easy-Off, which is wildly popular and one of the best-selling options on Amazon. Within the Easy-Off family, you have a few options — and when I recently ordered a can of Easy-Off Oven & Grill Cleaner by accident, a lightbulb went off in my head. “I can use this stuff to clean my grill grates!”

See, we grill regularly at my house. And while we brush down the grates each time with a super-sturdy grill brush, they were, um, very overdue for a deep clean. (And that’s putting it very nicely.)

Anyone who owns a grill knows this is no easy task. You can’t put grill grates in the dishwasher. And I don’t really want all that grease going down my drains. In the past, I’ve tried all sorts of methods: I’ve tried liquid dish soap, a baking soda paste, and even a very serious-looking bottle of degreaser. All while squatting for way too long in the backyard. These options all worked well enough … eventually. But they also required a lot of time and elbow grease on my part. The idea of using oven cleaner to clean these grates was very enticing because, even though I knew I’d still have to wash them with soap and water (to get the chemicals off), the can promised mostly hands-off work. You simply brush down the grates, spray them, and let them sit for 40 minutes. That was 40 minutes I could spend doing literally anything else — anything that didn’t involve squatting! Worth a shot!

Read more: Your Gas Grill Is Likely Pretty Filthy — Here’s How to Clean It

I put a trash bag down on the driveway (the can suggests newspaper, but in true millennial fashion, I do not get printed newspapers delivered to my house) and got to work. I did the first pass of scraping and then sprayed the grates. Right away, I noticed that some of the foam instantly turned brown due to the grease. It was already working! I sprayed every nook and cranny, set the timer on my phone for 40 minutes, and went inside.

Sadly, I found it very hard to get pics when I was actually cleaning the grates (you want to wear gloves because of the grease and the chemicals in the oven cleaner!), so please take my word for it when I tell you that those 40 minutes were highly effective. I scrubbed the grates again, turned them over, and sprayed side two.

After! Not perfect but a million times better than usual!

The amount of grease and charred bits that came off was just unbelievable. This was not only the easiest grate-cleaning process I’ve ever done, but it was also the most effective. Are these grates out-of-the-box clean and perfect right now? No, but I don’t think that’s ever possible. Are they a million times cleaner than they’ve ever been after any other attempt? You bet your burger they are! I could actually swipe my finger across the grates without it coming up brown with grease!

Again, you’ll definitely want to rinse the grates with soap and water when you’re done and before you eat off them, but that won’t take you too long. I’m so excited about my new deep-cleaning process (as are my knees) that I almost don’t want to grill tonight. We will, though, and we’ll scrub the grates down when we’re done eating and after a week or so of heavy use, I’ll bust out Easy-Off again.

How do you clean your grill grates?