Cleaning BBQ Grill with Vinegar & Aluminum Foil

Updated January 31, 2022
Man Cleaning Barbecue Grill

People who think vinegar is only helpful as a salad dressing ingredient have never tried cleaning the BBQ grill with vinegar. Vinegar works great for cleaning many items, including 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 to Clean BBQ Grill With Vinegar

It only takes a few simple steps to clean your barbecue grill with vinegar. But first, you need to grab a few materials from your pantry.

White vinegar in spray bottle to remove stains and smells
  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cloth
  • Cotton swab

Steps for Cleaning a Grill With Vinegar and Aluminum Foil

Finding those materials wasn't hard, was it? Since you've got everything you need, dive right into these steps for getting your grill spotless.

  1. Pour two cups of vinegar into the spray bottle.
  2. Add two cups of water on top of it.
  3. Put the lid on the bottle and shake it vigorously to mix the water and vinegar together.
  4. Spray the water/vinegar solution on the grill racks and the area above and underneath them to saturation.
  5. Let the solution dry for 10 minutes.
  6. While the grill dries, pour out any extra water/vinegar solution and refill the bottle with vinegar only.
  7. Fold the aluminum foil until you have a small square of approximately two inches across in each direction.
  8. Spray the vinegar on the foil and use it to scrub the grill's interior. No rinsing is required.

Clean the Outside of the Grill With Vinegar

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.

  1. Instead of using aluminum foil to scrub, just use a standard cotton cloth.
  2. Spray the solution on the cloth instead of directly on the grill, so it's easier to make sure you hit every area.
  3. Use a cotton swab to take care of any tight spots.

Deep Cleaning Your Grill 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. For this method, grab:

Cleaning outdoor gas grill
  • Baking soda
  • Large dish
  • Large plastic bag
  • Garden hose
  • Grill brush (This can also be used to clean a rusty grill.)

Steps to Deep Clean Your Grill Grates

Deeping cleaning uses the power of vinegar but mixes it with a bit of baking soda for a 1:2 knockout on that grime.

  1. Place the grates in a large plastic bag, such as a garbage bag.
  2. In a plastic or metal dish, stir together one cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda.
  3. Pour this solution on the racks.
  4. Close the bag and leave it overnight.
  5. 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 much larger dish than what you think you need.

If any residue remains on the grill after these steps, a once-over with the grill brush should take care of it.

Cleaning Grill Grates Made Easy With Vinegar

When it comes to cleaning your grill grates, all you need is a bit of aluminum foil, white vinegar, and baking soda to get them sparkling. Pull up your sleeves, grab your materials, and get to cleaning. Your grill grates will look better than ever in no time flat. And if your grill's housing is made from cast aluminum, you'll need to know how to clean the aluminum too.

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Cleaning BBQ Grill with Vinegar & Aluminum Foil