People who think vinegar is only useful as a salad dressing ingredient have never tried cleaning BBQ grill with vinegar. Vinegar works great for cleaning the grill and you don't have to worry about leaving any harmful residue behind that can get on your food and make you sick.
How Cleaning BBQ Grill with Vinegar Works
It only takes a few simple steps to clean your barbecue grill with vinegar. All you need is a spray bottle, lukewarm water, white table vinegar and a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Pour two cups of vinegar into the spray bottle.
- Add two cups of water on top of it.
- Put the lid on the bottle and shake it vigorously to mix the water and vinegar together.
- Fold the aluminum foil until you have a small square of approximately two inches across in each direction.
- Spray the water/vinegar solution on the racks of the grill and the area above and underneath them to saturation.
- Let the solution dry for 10 minutes.
- While the grill dries, pour out any extra water/vinegar solution and refill the bottle with vinegar only.
- Spray the vinegar on the foil and use it to scrub the grill's interior. No rinsing is required.
You can also use vinegar to clean the exterior of your grill. If you don't want it to smell like vinegar for days on end, it's best to go with the diluted solution. Instead of using aluminum foil to scrub, just use a standard cotton cloth. Spray the solution on the cloth instead of directly on the grill so it's easier to make sure you hit every area. Use a cotton swab to take care of any tight spots.
Deep Cleaning with Vinegar
If you find that the steps above don't get your grill grates spotless, there's another process you can try which may get you a deeper clean. This one again uses vinegar but also combines it with baking soda.
- Place the grates in a large plastic bag, such as a garbage bag.
- In a plastic of metal dish stir together one cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda.
- Pour this solution on the racks.
- Close the bag and leave it overnight.
- Rinse the gunk, which should now be loosened, off in the kitchen sink or with the garden hose.
Note that the vinegar and baking soda solution will bubble up, just like it did in those science fair volcanoes. So make sure you use a dish that is much larger than what you think you need.
If there is any residue remaining on the grill after these steps a once over with the grill brush should take care of it.
Grilling with Vinegar
Vinegar is not just for cleaning the grill. You can add it to your barbecue sauce to get an extra tangy kick. Just don't get too generous or it will get thin and runny. You can also use it to keep charcoal fires under control. If the flames start to get a little too high, you can spray the coals with the vinegar/water solution to get them back under control.
It's best not to use your grill after cleaning it with vinegar until that vinegar is completely dry. Cleaning BBQ grill with vinegar is not a fire hazard, especially if you're not using distilled vinegar, but you still don't want to risk it just in case. On the other end of the spectrum, grilling with wet coals or wet grates could make it harder to start a fire. So make sure to get your cleaning out of the way at least a couple hours before you want to cook those hamburgers or pineapples for dinner.
Additional Cleaning with Vinegar Tips
Want to find out more ways to use vinegar for household cleaning?