Clean Your Barbecue Grill Without Chemicals!

cleaning your bbq grill

I don’t know about you…but I can’t wait for warmer weather! We are getting a tiny taste of it here and there lately and it’s definitely giving me Spring fever! One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is outdoor cooking! Which inevitably has me lamenting over the awful state of our BBQ grill! No really, it’s BAD!

Last summer I bought myself a Weber Q100 Portable Gas Grill (pictured above). The hubster has a large pellet smoker and we have a large kettle charcoal grill, but neither of those are very useful when you want to grill something quick for dinner.

This little Weber, however, is VERY handy to use….so we end up using it a LOT! My oldest son Erik, who lives in the basement apartment of our home with his lovely wife Kaitlyn, ALSO uses it, so it takes a beating! The last few times I cooked on it I’ve been more than a little disgusted and realized it was long overdue for a cleaning.

I must warn you, this is not for the faint of heart! If you have a weak stomach, you may want to look away!

cleaning your bbq grill

cleaning your bbq grill

I warned you!

I was going to try the same method I used on my stove burner pans (see Cleaning Those Nasty Stove Burners) which works amazingly well, but then I read somewhere that if your grill grate is small enough to fit in your oven, you can clean it by heating it to 500 degrees and “cooking” it for about an hour. It’s basically like putting it through your oven’s self-cleaning cycle.

Since our grill is small I thought this sounded like a good idea.

cleaning your bbq grill

I put one of my old cookies sheets that the hubster uses in his smoker underneath the grill to catch any gunk that might fall through.

I was glad I wouldn’t have to endure that awful ammonia smell, but what I didn’t bargain for was the smoke that this method would generate. Which in hindsight makes perfect sense considering all the grease that was on there! Luckily it was a nice day and I just opened a few windows and doors until the worst of it had passed and no smoke alarms went off. :-)

cleaning your bbq grill

One hour later it looked like this. Hmmmmmmmm….that didn’t look very encouraging! But looks can be deceiving, because as soon as it had cooled down enough to move it to the sink, almost all that burnt on crud had basically turned to ash and came right off with minimal brushing.

After I had brushed the majority of the built up gunk off, I then scrubbed it with some Dawn dishwashing liquid to finish off the grease.

How is this different from just leaving your gas grill on and letting the food burn off? I don’t know. I just know that I’ve tried that SEVERAL times and it never yielded these kinds of results.

cleaning your bbq grill

cleaning your bbq grill

This is how it looked when I returned it to it’s home just an hour and a half later.

Unfortunately it didn’t last very long because no sooner had I replaced it than I looked outside and found Erik out there grilling hamburgers! OY!  A domestic goddesses job is never done! :-)

cleaning your bbq grill

Happy Grilling!

Clean your bbq grill


Print Friendly
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter23Pin on Pinterest15.8kGoogle+0

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!



  1. jenw says

    Awesome! Our grill is worse than yours I think…it clearly, clearly needs attention. Thanks for the tip!

  2. EmmaGW says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, jillee. I think you just saved my marriage with this one.

  3. Sandy says

    We clean our grill by placing a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the grate, shiny side down. Heat the grill on high until it stops smoking. Everything on the grate will turn to ash and can be brushed off. Have used this method for years.

    • Anne says

      Hi, do you leave the grill cover open? And then if so, does the smoke just come out of the holes on the sides?

      • Kassie says

        I do this every time I grill. Press the aluminum foil firmly down onto the grill. Turn it on high, I close the lid, and let it heat for 10 minutes. When everything is ashes, I use my brush to clean it off.
        I do this before I cook my food. I get the big chunks off after I cook, but leave the little stuff until I clean it the next time.

      • Kelley P says

        This is my method, too. And once the grill is clean, I oil it well several times. It smokes for a moment but leaves a shiny, non-stick surface.

      • M. Jean Burns says

        I too, wondered if you leave the grill cover open or close it???????? Enjoy your column. Thanks.

    • M. Jean Burns says

      wondering the same – close cover or leave open?? enjoy your column. thanks.

    • Erik says

      It goes right along with my Vikings, Wild, and Golden Gophers hats. I’m a bit of a collector. Born in St. Paul, so I got to represent. :)

      • kelley says

        Woo-hoo! I am now living in Texas but love to see that Minnesota pride. I went to the U of M- saw the Gophers at their Bowl game in Houston last December! My family still lives there so I also support the teams! :)

  4. maz o'reilly says

    My daughter cleaned our bbq last time we went to use it, and all she did was heat up the hot plate and spray with vinegar and wipe off. works a charm. and no chemicals either.

      • Kelley P says

        True, vinegar is a chemical. So is ammonia. So is water, for that matter. I do get a little miffed when people through the “no chemical” tag around.

  5. Vicky says

    Thank you for the wonderful tip and your son’s hat made me smile…I’ve been a twins fan my whole life :)

  6. Ilissa says

    Awesome! Another tip, be sure to season your grill properly and always preheat it before adding your meat or what-not, to ensure your items don’t stick to your grill (or at least they will stick less). Love your website Jillee!!!

  7. Jessica says

    Sound like a great idea! I was just wondering if you meant 500 Degrees Fahrenheit or Degrees Celsius?

    • Bethel says

      This sounds like an expensive way to clean a grill! Imagine the heat generated in your kitchen and the energy it takes to reach 500F. I clean my grills by placing them in a “clean” white garbage bag, pour in a little ammonia and allow to stand overnight. Cleans right off with a brush, rinse, no chemicals left behind.