I Tested 8 Different Grill Cleaners — And This Is the One I’ll Be Buying from Now On

published Jun 10, 2022
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Open grill, heating up
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Summertime means juicy watermelon, tasty Popsicles, and backyard cookouts. But do you know what takes the thrill out of that first burger night, real fast? A dirty grill. 

Cleaning the grill is not my favorite chore, but it has to be done — ideally right before grilling season begins. And one thing that makes it a bit easier is having a convenient and reliable grill cleaner that cuts down on intensive scrubbing. That’s why I decided to try a bunch of different grill cleaners and find the most effective and easy-to-use one on the market. Here’s how I did it.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

How I Tested the Grill Cleaners

Here’s what I did: I gathered bottled grill cleaners from several different brands, including simple spray cleaners and foaming aerosols. Some were described as “non-toxic,” and some were … well, pretty potent. I ended up settling on eight cleaners in total.

To try them out, I divided the grill grate into eight sections. Because most of the cleaners recommended scraping off as much burnt-on food as possible before applying, I used a grill brush first. Then I followed the directions on the respective bottles, leaving each of the cleaners on for the specified amount of time. I scrubbed with the brush again, and then wiped the grate clean with a damp rag. 

Credit: Shifrah Combiths
Because my grill started out in such a dirty state, it's going to take a few rounds of cleaning. But already, look at the results after one application of Traeger's grill cleaner!

My Honest Review

I found that I liked cleaners that foamed because it made it easy to see where I had sprayed. This type of cleaner also seemed to work better than the others. With a few of them, I could see dirt and grime lift away as the foam penetrated.

I also preferred cleaners that I didn’t have to leave sitting for too long. A few minutes was fine, but one cleaner was supposed to be left on for 40 minutes! I didn’t want the project dragging on that long and that cleaning contender didn’t work any better than some of the others. 

Finally, I liked the less heavy-duty cleaners. The heavy-duty cleaners weren’t more effective than the all-natural ones, and I knew that ultimately I wouldn’t be comfortable using harsh chemicals to clean a surface that I cook food on. 

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

The Clear Winner

After testing each product, a clear winner emerged: Traeger All Natural Grill Cleaner. It foams but it’s not an aerosol and it only needs to be left on for five to 10 minutes. Best of all, you can see the dirt and grease melt before your eyes, which is so satisfying. It also means it works really well.

To top it all off, the grease-cutting formula is plant-based and biodegradable. There are actually only five ingredients listed: non-chlorinated water, corn, tree sap, cinnamon oil, and garlic. See, there’s nothing not to love about it. From now on, hands-down, Traeger will be my go-to grill grate cleaner.

Do you have a favorite grill cleaner? Tell us your ideas in the comments below.