How to Clean a Grill Without a Wire Brush

You don't need a brush to keep the grill spic 'n' span! Here's a list of ways you can clean up without one.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Using a grill brush isn’t the only option when it comes to getting your grill clean between barbecue sessions. These unexpected ideas for how to clean a grill will all get the job done effectively, no brush required. You won’t feel guilty about firing up the grill to cook extra-saucy BBQ recipes this summer, because any leftover marinade will come off in minutes.

Be sure to clean your grill grates or racks after each use for the best-tasting meals. Here’s what to do:

Use a Leftover Onion

It might seem a little strange, but you can use half an onion to clean your grill. Just spear the onion on a barbecue fork, and use the cut side to scrub things clean while the grill is still hot. The acidic enzymes will break down grease without being overly abrasive, but be careful with your hands.

Clean up with Aluminum Foil

Grab a handful of aluminum foil, ball it up and use grill tongs to hold it while you scrub away. You can even re-use the same aluminum foil from cooking. (These wrap-and-cook packet recipes will give you a tasty dinner and the foil you need!)

Snag a Nylon Scouring Pad

Grab a scouring pad from your kitchen and take it to the grill for fast and easy cleanup. You can find them on Amazon in so many shapes and sizes, so you’ll be able to find what you like working with best.

Use Your Steamer

Have a portable steamer (like this one) at home? It’s good for more than just clothes! Bring your steamer outdoors to dislodge anything that isn’t coming off with other cleaning methods alone.

Mix Vinegar & Ammonia

For the most stubborn, baked-on gunk, put your grill grates into a trash bag with 3 cups ammonia, 3 cups white vinegar and 1 cup baking soda. It will deliver a deep clean with ingredients you probably already have. (Is there anything vinegar can’t do?) Depending on how greased-on the grime is, you will probably want to let it soak for a solid 24 hours before rinsing off.

Oil the Grill in Advance

While you’ll definitely still need to give your grill a thorough cleaning before each barbecue, you can make the clean-up work easier by putting oil on the grates in advance. Just use a paper towel to rub oil on the grill gates in advance to prevent as much stickage.

Don’t miss our expert How to Clean Your Grill guide!

The Best Menu for Your Next Cookout
1 / 59

This post is brought to you by Taste of Home editors, who aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Submit your thoughts, here.

Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.