The 7 Best Grill Cleaners for Removing Burnt-on Messes

Our top pick is Weber’s Grate Grill Cleaner because it’s expert-recommended and extra tough on grease.

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Weber Grill Grate Cleaner
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If you want to keep your grill in tip-top shape, regular cleaning is a must. With each use, burnt food, grease, and other debris can build up—affecting the quality of your grill and the flavor of your food. That's why it's important to invest in a quality grill cleaner.

To find the best grill cleaners, we interviewed three experts—Christie Vanover, competitive pitmaster and founder of Girls Can Grill, Ray Rastelli Jr., butcher and president of Rastelli Food Group, and Roger Sitrin, chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education—to learn how to choose the best grill cleaners for different types of grills and messes. Using their recommendations as a starting point, we spent hours researching grill cleaners, assessing them for strength, ingredients, and ease of use.

"Be sure whatever cleaner you buy states that it's for barbecues or grills," Vanover says. "And read the instructions carefully." That's because while some grill cleaners work best on piping hot grills, others are only safe to use once your grill has cooled down.

Our top pick, Weber's Grate Grill Cleaner, is easy to apply, tough on grime, and safe for all kinds of appliances (like grills, smokers, ovens, and microwaves). Plus, it's one of Rastelli's favorite grill cleaners for tackling caked-on grease.

Here are the best grill cleaners.

Best Overall Grill Cleaner

Weber Grill Grate Cleaner

Weber Grill Grate Cleaner

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a reliable grill cleaner that's fast-acting, beginner-friendly, and safe to use on other appliances.

Who it isn't for: People who need a cleaning product that can also handle rust.

Weber's Grate Grill Cleaner earned the top spot on our list because it's the most well-rounded grill cleaner that comes recommended by the experts we spoke to. This cleaner is easy to use, fast-acting, and tough on grease and grime. Not only is this cleaner perfect for grill upkeep and deep cleaning, but it also works on other appliances like microwaves and ovens—making it an extremely versatile and budget-friendly pick.

We love that it cuts through grime in seconds—and it doesn't rely on harsh ingredients to do it. The cleaner's formula isn't flammable or corrosive, so it's easy for beginners to use. And it works just as fast as the harsher cleaners on our list. It's great on burnt food, sticky gunk, and other common grill debris, which it can break down in no time—although you might want to pick another option if you're dealing with rust. This grill cleaner is also one of Rastelli's favorites for getting rid of burnt-on grease.

Product Details:

  • Type: Cleaning (degreasing) spray
  • Ingredients: Not listed
  • Size: 16 ounces

Best Grill Cleaner for Grease

Easy Off BBQ, Smoker & Grill Cleaner

Easy Off BBQ, Smoker & Grill Cleaner

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a degreasing spray that works in seconds.

Who it isn't for: People who want a cleaner that can be used on more than just grill grates.

It doesn't take long for grease to build up on your grill. And once it has, you'll want to have Easy Off's grill cleaner on hand. The cleaning spray breaks down burnt-on grease in no time—and two of our experts recommend it. "For heavy grease buildup inside and out, I use a commercial degreaser, like Easy Off," says Rastelli.

The cleaning spray is tough enough to cut through grease, but since it's not abrasive, you don't have to worry about it scratching up your grill. Simply spray the cleaner on your grill grates, wait 30 seconds, and wipe down your grill with a cleaning cloth. The grease should come right off—no tough scrubbing required. For tough messes and deeper cleans, you might need to leave the product on your grates for around 40 minutes.

Even though Easy Off is a no-brainer cutting through grease, it isn't as versatile as some of the other cleaners on our list. The spray is only safe on your grill grates—not the other parts of your grill. And you can't use it on other appliances, either.

Product Details:

  • Type: Cleaning (degreasing) spray
  • Ingredients: Monoethanolamine, diethylene glycol n-butyl ether
  • Size: 14.5 ounces

Best Grill Cleaner for Rust

EarthStone International GrillStone Grill Cleaning Block

EarthStone International GrillStone Grill Cleaning Block

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a chemical-free way to get rid of rust, grease, and grime.

Who it isn't for: People who want an easy cleaning method that doesn't require much elbow grease.

If your grill has started to rust, you need something rough enough to scrub the grates clean, like EarthStone's Grill Cleaning Block. This grill brick is tougher than a traditional grill brush, so it's great for heavy-duty cleaning. (In fact, Vanover uses one to deep clean her grill every year—even when she's not dealing with rust.)

"The best way to clean nuisance rust off your grill is to use grill bricks," says Rastelli. "However, after you use them, you must remember to clean the grates with a cloth, [and] then spray or wipe oil on them to prevent more rusting."

The grill brick is small—just 6 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 2 inches tall. But thanks to its rough texture, it's one of the most powerful cleaners on our list. Just rub the stone on your grill grates and caked-on rust and debris should come right off—leaving you with a grill that looks as good as new. One of our favorite things about this product is that it doesn't rely on harsh chemicals to dissolve debris—it simply sands it away. However, you'll want to be careful where you use it. While its rough texture is safe on cast iron, steel, and porcelain enamel, it can tear up glass, wood, and other polished surfaces.

Product Details:

  • Type: Grill brick
  • Ingredients: Recycled materials
  • Size: 6 x 4 x 2 inches

RELATED: The 5 Best Charcoal Grills for Cooking Outdoors

Best Heavy-Duty Grill Cleaner

Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scour Pads

Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scour Pads, 8 Pads

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a heavy-duty grill cleaner they can use on other tough surfaces (like cast iron and concrete).

Who it isn't for: People who prefer less abrasive cleaners that won't scratch up their stuff.

To tackle tough messes, you need something abrasive, like Scotch-Brite's Heavy-Duty Scour Pads. These best-in-class sponges are tough on rust, burnt food, and other stubborn gunk. And since they're so rough, you don't have to scrub very hard to see results—even if you're dealing with layers of caked-on grime. Plus, the scouring pads, which are lined with recycled fibers, are more comfortable to grip than standard balls of steel wool.

Another thing we love about these grill cleaning sponges? They're strong enough to use on other surfaces. So once you're done cleaning your grill, you can take the scour pads to your cast iron cookware or even your metal garden tools. A word of warning, though: These sponges aren't safe on all surfaces, so be sure to read the label before using these sponges for your next cleaning job. They'll scratch up enamel stove tops and pull the non-stick coating off your go-to pan.

Product Details:

  • Type: Scour pad
  • Ingredients: N/A (materials include recycled fibers, abrasives, resin)
  • Size: 3.8 x 6 inches

Best Fast-Acting Grill Cleaner

Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser

Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a fast-acting cleaner that handles tough messes and works on lots of different surfaces.

Who it isn't for: People who'd prefer a cleaning spray.

One cleaning product Sitrin always keeps on hand? Bar Keepers Friend's Powder Cleanser. The fast-acting cleanser removes buildup from grill grates, drip pans, and lids. Unlike our other recommendations—which are spray cleaners or cleaning tools—Bar Keepers Friend is a powder cleanser. But it's still really easy to use: Just sprinkle it onto the surface, rub it with a wet cloth or sponge, and let it work its magic. In seconds, the powder cleanser cuts through burnt food, sticky grease, and even stubborn rust. So whether you're dealing with a small mess or a really big one, this grill cleaner gets the job done.

What makes Bar Keepers Friend truly special? It's not just great on your grill. It's tough on soap scum in your bathroom, mineral deposits in your kitchen, and stains on your exterior siding. "It's a very versatile cleaner, but wear gloves while using it," says Sitrin.

Product Details:

  • Type: Powder cleanser
  • Ingredients: Oxalic acid, feldspar, linear sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate
  • Size: 12 ounces

Best Exterior Grill Cleaner

Sprayway SW148R Water-Based Stainless Steel Cleaner, 15 oz.

Sprayway stainless steel cleaner

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want to clean the stainless steel exterior on grills and other appliances.

Who it isn't for: People who'd prefer a multipurpose cleaner that can also be used on grill grates.

If the exterior of your grill needs some love, we recommend Sprayway's Stainless Steel Cleaner because it's effective and affordable. This product is also a favorite of Vanover's, who says it leaves her stainless steel grills "shiny" every time she uses it.

Like many other cleaning sprays, this stainless steel cleaner is incredibly easy to use. Just spray it on the stainless steel exterior of your grill, wipe it down with a cleaning cloth, and voila—your grill should be squeaky clean. The spray doesn't leave behind any streaks or residue, and it cuts through fingerprints, spatters, and splashes with ease—meaning you don't have to do much scrubbing. We also appreciate that you can use this cleaner on other stainless steel appliances, like ovens, microwaves, and refrigerators. It even leaves glass mirrors and windows streak-free.

Product Details:

  • Type: Stainless steel cleaning spray
  • Ingredients: Distillates (petroleum), hydrotreated light, white mineral oil, acetic acid, methyl ester
  • Size: 15 ounces

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Best Grill Cleaner Brush

Cuisinart Wood Grill Cleaning Brush

Cuisinart Wood Grill Cleaning Brush

Amazon

Who it's for: People who need an easy way to scrub debris off their grill.

Who it isn't for: People who need to tackle heavy-duty messes, like caked-on grease or rust.

A grill cleaning brush is a must-have for any grillmaster. And according to our experts, you don't need to spend a fortune on a fancy one. Sitrin recommends sticking with a basic cleaning brush that's inexpensive enough to replace whenever you need to—and Cuisinart's Wood Grill Cleaning Brush perfectly fits the bill.

The cleaning brush is designed with a dual-sided head, so it's great for cleaning up all kinds of gunk and grime. One side of the brush is lined with coarse metal bristles, which are great at sanding off burnt-on food and debris. The other side doubles as a tough metal scraper, chipping away at messes that require a bit more elbow grease. The base of the brush is equipped with a sleek wooden handle, which is remarkably durable and comfortable to hold. Lined with finger-shaped ridges, the brush is easy to grip, giving you all the control you need to scrub away messes like a pro.

Product Details:

  • Type: Grill brush
  • Ingredients: N/A (materials include steel and wood)
  • Size: 3.5 x 18 inches

Final Verdict

Fast-acting and easy to use, Weber's Grate Grill Cleaner is our favorite grill cleaner. The formula breaks down grease and grime in seconds, keeping your post-grilling cleaning sessions quick and easy. We also love that the cleaner is safe to use on other appliances (like ovens and microwaves) because you don't have to waste cabinet space for a single-use product.

How to Shop for Grill Cleaners Like a Pro

Type

The first step in finding the right grill cleaner is figuring out what type you need. If you need to sand debris off your grill, look for a textured cleaning tool—like a grill brush or a grill brick. If you need to cut through layers of rust, grease, or gunk, a cleaning spray should do the trick. And if you need to do something very specific—like break down grease or wipe down stainless steel—look for a cleaning spray that's designed for the task.

Ingredients

When shopping for a grill cleaner, you'll also want to check the ingredients list. While some products contain natural ingredients, others rely on chemicals to get the job done. "Natural products are less caustic, but sometimes require more brute strength," Sitrin says. In general, chemical cleaners tend to be great for stubborn messes: They're heavy-duty, fast-acting, and don't require much scrubbing.

Power

Some grill cleaners are incredibly abrasive. They break down caked-on gunk in seconds, making your grill cleaning process both quick and easy. The downside? You have to use these cleaners with caution: They can damage fragile surfaces, and you may have to wear gloves when applying them. Other less abrasive cleaners require a little more elbow grease—but they also demand less mental effort. You don't have to wear gloves when applying them, you can use them on different surfaces, and you don't have to watch where you spray them.

Questions You Might Ask

How do you clean a grill?

"Whether it's a charcoal grill, a gas grill, or a grill pan, I use the same process for cleaning," Sitrin says. "I leave the grill heating after I complete my grilling and allow the heat to do the hard work." Once your grill has burnt all the debris lining its grates, use a grill cleaning brush to scrub the ash away. For any remaining grime, use a store-bought cleaner—like a degreasing spray—to finish the job.

How often should you clean a grill?

It may sound excessive, but our experts agree: You should clean your grill every time you're finished using it. Why? Over time, burnt food, grease, and debris build up on the surface—making your grill tougher to clean and use. "If [your grill is] left uncleaned, the next time you cook, your food [may] stick to the grates," Rastelli says. "It [might] also pick up bits of food leftover from your last session, and this may interfere with the taste and quality of your food."

Are grill cleaners safe?

Most store-bought grill cleaners are safe as long as you follow the directions on the packaging. "Remember to always follow the specific directions for each product, and make sure that the cleaner is removed thoroughly after use," Rastelli says. Check to see whether your grill cleaner should be applied while your grill is still hot, or whether you should let the grill cool down before cleaning. And read the label carefully: Some heavy-duty cleaners put off harmful fumes, and others should only be applied with gloves.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Lindsey Lanquist, a contributing writer for Real Simple with seven years of experience writing lifestyle content. To find the best grill cleaners, Lindsey turned to three experts: Christie Vanover, competitive pitmaster and founder of Girls Can Grill; Ray Rastelli Jr., butcher and president of Rastelli Food Group; and Roger Sitrin, chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education. They offered advice on what to look for when buying grill cleaners and recommended a few of their favorite grill cleaning products. With their tips in mind, Lindsey spent hours researching and compiling grill cleaners based on factors like type, ingredients, and power.

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