Best Grill Cleaner: Keeping Your BBQ Tasty All Summer Long - Backyard Boss
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Best Grill Cleaner: Keeping Your BBQ Tasty All Summer Long

If you want the best-tasting BBQ each and every time you fire up the grill, then you need to apply some basic care, cleaning, and maintenance to your cooking surfaces on a regular basis. All the fuel sources, oils, and seasonings you cook with can leave behind residue, as can the fats and grease of the foods you’re cooking.

These can affect the taste and even the cook time of your food, so keeping a clean grill can help avoid flavor mishaps or undercooked meat. It also ensures your grill will have a long life. We’ll show you our favorite cleaners below, along with tips on how to clean your grill and some of the best accessories you can use for a cleaner cooking experience.

Backyard Boss Top 5 Grill Cleaners for 2021

WD-40 300349 Industrial Strength Cleaner and Degreaser - Best Grill Cleaner: Keeping Your BBQ Tasty All Summer LongWD-40 300349 Industrial Strength Cleaner and Degreaser
  • Size: 24 ounces
  • Style: Non-aerosol trigger
  • Type: Industrial strength
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Kingsford BB0131 Grill and Oven Cleaner - Best Grill Cleaner: Keeping Your BBQ Tasty All Summer LongKingsford BB0131 Grill and Oven Cleaner
  • Size: 14.5 ounces
  • Style: Aerosol
  • Type: Heavy-duty
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Easy Off Professional Cleaner - Best Grill Cleaner: Keeping Your BBQ Tasty All Summer LongEasy Off Professional Cleaner
  • Size: 24 ounces
  • Style: Aerosol
  • Type: Heavy-duty
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Goo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner - Best Grill Cleaner: Keeping Your BBQ Tasty All Summer LongGoo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner
  • Size: 24 ounces
  • Style: Non-aerosol trigger
  • Type: All-around
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Citrusafe Grill Cleaning Spray - Best Grill Cleaner: Keeping Your BBQ Tasty All Summer LongCitrusafe Grill Cleaning Spray
  • Size: 23 ounces
  • Style: Non-aerosol trigger
  • Type: All-around
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Why Trust Us

Having a birthday in late May, it seemed like there was always a BBQ going on around my special day. I am a bit of a char-fan, so you can catch me at the grill just about any week of the year when it is warm enough. A good bit of that time is spent cleaning up the mess I made. The following grill cleaners are our favorites based on overall value and ease of use. Since these will be used on cooking surfaces specifically, we’ve picked all non-toxic products. We’ve also made sure that they leave no residue or odor.

Best All-Around

WD-40 300349 Industrial Strength Cleaner and Degreaser
    Made by one of the most trusted brands in the USA, WD-40 Industrial Strength Cleaner and Degreaser is one of the strongest grill cleaners on the market.



What We Like: Grill cleaners don’t come much more reliable or heavy-duty than WD-40’s 300349 Industrial Strength Cleaner and Degreaser. The non-aerosol spray bottle is 24 ounces in size, and it only takes a few squirts to work. The solution is super potent but is EPA safety approved. That means you’re not going to poison yourself if you prepare food on surfaces cleaned with this spray. It is by far one of the strongest grill cleaners out there and works well on kitchen equipment, cruddy car parts, and much more. If you are looking for the best cleaner for messy BBQing, look no further.

Who Should Buy It: After cooking out, when it comes time to clean up the mess, including messy BBQ stains and heavy carbon build-up, WD-40 cuts through the crud with ease.

Best Heavy-Duty Cleaner

Kingsford BB0131 Grill and Oven Cleaner
    When it comes to heavy-duty grill messes, few cleaners offer a heavier-duty solution than Kingford's Grill and Oven Cleaner.



What We Like: Made by one of the leading grill accessories brands in the world, Kingsford’s heavy-duty grill cleaner helps get rid of even the stickiest grill messes.

Kingsford’s Grill and Oven Cleaner is a 14.5-ounce aerosol can of heavy-duty cleaner second to none. In our opinion, it is one of the very best, a perfect partner for any grill. It works on more than just grills as well, so the next time you have an accident in the oven, break out the Kingsford cleaner and you’re good to go after spraying it on and letting it foam up and set for half an hour. The only downside is that it is best to wipe down surfaces cleaned with this cleaner before using them for food preparation.

Who Should Buy It: If you tend to use a lot of sauce, or gather carbon while BBQing, you would do well to keep a can of this stuff tucked away under the grill for clean-ups.

Runner-Up Best Heavy-Duty Cleaner

Easy Off Professional Oven & Grill Cleaner
    Looking for a good all-around cleaner for the kitchen and grill? This is all you need in your cupboard for an easy, deep clean.



What We Like: Easy Off is one of the most well-known grill cleaners, period, and for good reason. The stuff really works!

The Easy Off Professional Cleaner is designed for both kitchen and grill use and helps cut through tough grease both in and on your oven, pots and pans, and grill. It’s incredibly easy to use – spray, wait a few minutes, and then wipe off the grease. Afterwards, we recommend a thorough washing with non-toxic soap and water. The smell is strong, but that’s how you know it’s working.

Who Should Buy It: Regardless of how often you grill, keeping some Easy Off around ensures that the mess is never too great.

Best Natural Cleaner: Goo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner

Goo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner
    If you want a thicker cleaner that helps adhere to vertical surfaces and works deep into stuck on grime, this is a great option.



What We Like: Goo Gone is another really well-known brand name when it comes to products that clean up hard-to-clean gunk. Their grill cleaner is no exception.

Goo Gone is a popular brand known for the removal of tough, stuck-on substances. This gel-based cleanser is thicker and more viscous to help it stay where it’s sprayed. It’s perfect for vertical surfaces; it’s completely non-toxic and works on all surfaces except aluminum and faux stainless steel. Not only does it clean your messy equipment, it just may make them shine in the process.

Who Should Buy It: Whether you are looking for a good natural cleaner, or simply just want one that really works, Goo Gone is an excellent solution.

Best Value Pick

Citrusafe Grill Cleaning Spray
    Citrusafe Grill Cleaning Spray



What We Like: An underdog, but no slouch. Citrusafe uses the power of citrus to cut through tough messes.

The Citrusafe Grill Cleaning Spray is non-toxic, biodegradable, and non-corrosive. That said, it is one of the best all-around grill cleaners out there. The citrus-based spray makes short work of grill and bbq messes as well as being excellent for indoor use in the kitchen. Smokers, ovens, microwaves, and even the kitchen counter, use it wherever the messes are. No need to be afraid to prepare on surfaces cleaned with this cleaner, as it is organic!

Who Should Buy It: For the money, few grill cleaners provide the promised results like Citrusafe.

What Is a Grill Cleaner?

A grill cleaner is a special-purpose solution designed to dissolve stubborn greases, sugars, and oils left behind by your grilling exploits. Most are spray-on and some come with purpose-created accessories for application.  There are also dozens of different brushes and scraping tools that supposedly assist the process.

Benefits of Using a Grill Cleaner

Even if you use a grill brush or crank it to maximum heat and let the remnants burn off after each use, there will still be residue that requires a deeper cleaning every now and then.

Grill cleaners break up any leftover carbons from prior meals. These can cause your food to take on the smells of other foods and seasonings. They also create excess smoke while you cook, which may speed up or change your cook times. Even worse, built-up grease can start a fire, which means ruining a good steak might be the least of your problems.

Grill Cleaner Accessories

Grill cleaners are not designed as stand-alone products and are designed to work with grill cleaning tools. Grill cleaner brushes and grill scrapers are great for cleaning after every use, but they can also be utilized with a cleaner to help break up tough, stuck-on foods.

If you’re looking for a good grill brush, we recommend one that is stainless steel with secure bristles.

    GRILLART Grill Brush and Scraper

grillart grill brush
    Stainless steel, woven grill brush with attached scraper.

You can also use kitchen sponges, nylon bristle brushes, and textured scrubs often used for cleaning pots and pans. These are generally inexpensive and easy to toss in the trash after use. They rarely clean up well once you’ve used them for a good grill scrubbing.

Types of Grill Cleaners

Which one you use will depend on how dirty your grill is and its construction. You will want to have several on-hand for the different surfaces of the grill to ensure proper treatment.

  • Heavy-duty cleaners to cut into the carbon and grease left behind by frequent use.
  • Soft cleaners are used with a damp cloth and work well on non-stick coated surfaces for light, frequent cleaning, and regular use.
  • Stainless steel outdoor surfaces and lids need special stainless steel cleaners.
  • All-rounders work well on just about any surface to cut through grease and dirt, but you may want to avoid using these on coated grates.

How and When to Clean Your Grill

Although you should brush off and scrape your grill grates and empty grease traps on a regular basis, once every month or two is enough for a deep clean depending on your usage. You also should take your BBQ apart at least once a year (more if you use it year-round) for a deeper clean that gets into all the small cracks and crevices.

Along with a cleaning solution, be sure to have some good scrubbing brushes as discussed above, and gloves for hand protection.

When cleaning, remove your grill grates, drawers, and any other easy-to-remove parts. You can soak these if needed as well as give them a good scrubbing. Be sure to clean the inside of the lid, bottom of your grill, and the outside. Depending on the type of material your grill is made from, you may want to re-oil it after cleaning as a means to help keep it well seasoned.

One cheap cleaner is regular degreasing dish soap, but to really get your grates and grill clean, you should invest in some of the specialized products listed below.

How We Picked

To pick the very best grill cleaners we had a nice long look at cleaners and degreases for stainless steel, the kitchen, and outdoor cooking equipment. We came up with a handful of products that stood out among the rest, and then we compared them amongst each other. When we finished, we were left with five grill cleaners that clearly deserved a place on our list. We based our decisions on the strength of the cleaner, the price, whether or not it damages surfaces, and much more.

Which Grill Cleaner Is Best for You?

Keeping your grill clean is essential for long-term reliability and great-tasting food all year round. It also helps avoid dangerous situations from carbon and grease build-up. The highlighted cleaners are all durable and get the job done the first time without having to apply too much effort on your part. Simply spray, wait a few minutes, and scrub. Be sure to pay close attention to the surfaces they work best for and also consider the ingredients. Some are designed with chemicals, but do rinse clean to avoid any cross-contamination; others are more natural.

Our top pick is without a doubt WD-40’s Industrial Strength Cleaner and Degreaser. It is stronger than most, more versatile (you can use it on automotive parts and other mechanical parts), and is EPA safety compliant. Not to mention it simply does a better job than most competitors’ products.