How To Clean Your Grill With Aluminum Foil And Some Elbow Grease

If you stop and think about what's lurking on your dirty grill, you'll want to clean it immediately.

Grilling season is here, which means it’s time to break out the tongs and refill the propane tank. More than likely, it’s also time you give your grill a good scrub.

Dirty grills are no good for obvious reasons. Leftover bits of food can get stuck to food you’re cooking, ruining the taste, while old grease and fat can spread harmful bacteria. But beware of cleaning off your grill with a brush — stray metallic bristles have been swallowed by unsuspecting diners, causing all sorts of health problems.

Luckily, SFGate has found the easiest — and safest — method to thoroughly clean your grill (though you should always first check if your oven’s manufacturer has its own directions or warnings about cleaning). All it takes is a towel, some tongs, a few sheets of aluminum foil and a little hard work.

  • Use an old towel or rag (make sure it’s dry) to wipe down your grill and remove any large chunks of grit and grime from your last use.
  • Tightly cover the top of your grill grates with 1 or 2 sheets of aluminum foil and turn the grill on high. Shut your grill and leave it covered for about 25 minutes.
  • Turn down the heat and let your grill cool off. Using tongs, remove the foil. Use your old towel to wipe away the grime, which by now should have turned into ash.

And voila! You’ve got a clean grill, free of health risks and unwanted food bits. And in the future, after using the grill again, The Daily Meal recommends balling up some more aluminum foil and scrubbing each grill grate individually while it’s still warm to prevent further buildup.

If you don’t have any aluminum around, try ultimate grill authority Steven Raichlen’s advice. He previously gave HuffPost these tips:

  • “Evict any spiders or other nesting critters and clear out the cobwebs or other debris from the manifolds, burner valves, connectors, etc. Compressed air (available canned if you don’t own an air compressor) is an efficient way to do this. Empty and clean the grease trap or drip pan; replace any disposables, such as foil pans, if needed.”
  • “Use a commercial grill cleaner such as the one made by Green Earth Technologies or a product like Simple Green to clean the interior and any internal parts, such as baffles, flavorizer bars, etc. If your grill is polished stainless steel, use a commercial stainless steel cleaner on the exterior, or wipe it down with a soft cloth using a mixture of water, mild dish soap, and white vinegar. Replace ceramic briquettes as needed.”

Read the rest of Raichlen’s tips, and you’ll have the cleanest grill in no time!

Happy cleaning!

An earlier version of this article was published in May 2015.