Grilling outdoors is a great way to save energy and money during the summer months, but what is the best way to clean your grill between uses? Whether you happen to find yourself without a wire-bristle grill brush or opt not to use one for safety reasons, below are three alternatives to getting your grill grates clean.

Quick Cleaning

  1. Aluminum foil. The closest substitute you’ll have to a wire-bristle brush would be to use a densely packed ball of aluminum foil and some elbow grease to scrape the surface of the grill. Just make sure your grill and its grates are completely cool before using this method. Otherwise, opt for tongs and heat-proof gloves to maneuver your makeshift brush over the warm grates. This option is handy when using public grills at parks and you want to grill directly on the grates– most likely you’ll already have aluminum foil on hand!
  2. Vinegar and onion. Turn your grill on high for a few minutes and spray your grill grates down with either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (whatever acidic option you have – lemon juice also works). Using tongs and heat-proof gloves, firmly run half an onion cut-side down along the grates to loosen the baked on grime. Following the process, rinse your grill out with a hose to eliminate any lingering smells.

Deep Cleaning

  1. Baking soda, dish soap and vinegar. Remove your cooled grill grates and place in a sturdy garbage bag. In a container, stir together two cups of vinegar and one cup each of baking soda and dish soap. Pour the bubbled solution in the trash bag with the grates and secure it well, while pushing as much air out of the bag as possible. Being careful not to puncture the bag, use your hands to massage it to coat the solution over the grates. Leave overnight and hose off in the morning. Scrub with an aluminum foil ball for more stubborn baked on grease.

What grilling tips do you have? Share them in the comments below. Find more ways to save energy and money this summer at