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We all love grilling; it’s a great way to cook food, and produces delicious results for everything from meat, to vegetables, to more surprising dishes (like grilled pizza).
But there’s one u fortunate thing about grilling that it shares with all cooking: grilling is messy. And even more than regular cooking, you can end up with burnt on, nasty messes even if you do everything right. It just happens when your heat source is pretty much also your direct cooking surface.
So you need a few things to keep a grill clean. One is a grill brush (which every grill owner should always have lying around somewhere), but that will only take you so far. When just water won’t cut it, you need a grill cleaner.
But what kind? There are as many types and brands on the market as there are grills (more, even) and all are used for different purposes.
So let’s take a quick look at what makes all different kinds of cleaners unique, and some examples of each type, shall we?
Here are the best grill cleaners you can buy:
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
Top 9 Best BBQ Grill Cleaners For 2020
This is a great cleaner. For the fairly low price you get a good sized 16 oz bottle, enough to last you a few months at least. The spray bottle top is great, giving you the option for a wide or narrow spray as the situation calls for.
The formula easily cuts through most grease, though as with most cleaners it will struggle with any especially caked on residue, so should be used regularly and consistently to clean your grill.
It’s an entirely plant based formula as well, making it safe to use on cooking surfaces; obviously you still don’t want to ingest this, but it’s easier to rinse off than more astringent ammonia or bleach based cleaners which can cling unpleasantly to surfaces and contaminate them.
It is an impressively effective cleaner for smooth steel surfaces as well, polishing and shining them nicely without leaving streaks. As mentioned it cuts through grease quite easily, so fingerprints and the like are erased without a trace.
The microfiber cloth it comes with is enormous and quite high quality as well, making it the perfect cloth for cleaning a grill’s smoother surfaces, though you may want to get a sponge or something for the grates if anything needs to be scrubbed.
Plant based formula.
Efficiently cleans grease.
Could use some extra penetrating power for tough burnt on grease.
Unlike the cleaner above, this is not a light all purpose cleaner. While the Therapy cleaner is safe to use on all surfaces and can make a great general purpose replacement for other all purpose cleaners, this cleaner has one purpose: to blast grease off the surface of your grill grates.
Which, to be fair, it is excellent at. You spray it on and it goes to work, foaming under the grease and loosening it in just over a minute. From there it’s just a matter of getting your grill brush and going to town, scraping up the grease and leaving your grates sparkling clean.
This is a great cleaner for cleaning up after a mishap or flareup, or just a particularly messy meal.
As mentioned though, the main issue with this cleaner is it isn’t great as an all purpose cleaner. It’s usable, but is liable to leave streaks on the exterior of your grill or other stainless steel appliances if used.
This restricts its usage somewhat, which is thankfully backed up by its very low price point for a cleaner of this quality. You get a good 16 oz nozzle with a solid spray head, and it should last you a very long time given this isn’t as much of an everyday cleaner.
Cuts through grease easily.
Good sized bottle.
Decent spray head.
Not a good all purpose cleaner.
Goo Gone has always been one of my go to grill cleaners. It’s an excellent product with the advantage that you can buy it cheap from pretty much anywhere near you, so you can get something fast that works well.
This 2 pack of Goo Gone is a good deal, as its performance is exceptional for the price. It foams even more intensely than the Weber Degreaser above, and aggressively cuts through any caked on grease you might have left on through negligence or simply a long smoking period you couldn’t clean during.
The cleaner is biodegradable and leaves surfaces safe to eat on after its job is done. It also leaves a very nice orange smell in the air when used, which is more than can be said for most cleaners, which are thoroughly unpleasant; the only bad thing you can say about Goo Gone in this regard is that it may smell a little TOO sweet.
The main drawback of this cleaner is that it is entirely unsuitable as an all purpose cleaner. While something like the Weber Degreaser above can be used in a pinch, rinsing Goo Gone off of a flat surface is a frustrating pain to deal with, as it clings exceptionally well, and when there’s no caked on grease for it to come off with…well, it sticks around, and can leave nasty, sticky residues on your stainless steel exteriors even with repeated rinses.
Still, for the price (a pair of huge 24 oz bottles for half the price of a single 16 oz bottle of the Therapy all purpose cleaner) it can’t be beat.
Cuts through caked on grease with ease.
Easy to find and purchase at nearly any store.
Great value; two huge bottles for one low price.
Entirely unsuitable as an all purpose or exterior grill cleaner.
I’m not a huge fan of Easy Off. Not because it’s necessarily bad, but because it’s usually never the best choice for what I need to use it for.
As a grill cleaner, Easy Off is mediocre. The way the foam comes out of the nozzle so thick looks impressive at first, but its clinging power is weak. If you can get it to stick, it’s great, don’t get me wrong, but that’s the issue: if you’re trying to use it on grill grates to get caked on grime and grease off the metal, you’re going to be disappointed.
Now on the other hand, it’s quite good at getting stuff off flat surfaces; griddles, grill interiors (like the ceiling of the lid), things of that nature it’s perfect for.
That’s a bit niche, but the other saving grace of Easy Off is that it’s cheap. You’re looking at a quarter the price of our winner for a can 8 oz larger (though this being a concentrated foam, that capacity can be a bit misleading).
If you use a griddle top for your grill on the regular (or just in general use a griddle) this cleaner is perfect for you, and well worth buying. If you have a traditional grated grill, however, there are better options.
Excels on flat surfaces.
Great at dissolving grease and grime.
Sticking power on bars and grates leaves much to be desired.
This degreaser has pretty solid performance, but does a few things that annoy me.
The degreaser itself is great. It foams well and can blast off caked on grease on grates quite good. Being a more liquid, bubbly foam it has an easy time dripping and coating the entire grate, while sticking well enough to do its job on all sides of the grate.
The bottle itself is quite large, giving you a pretty good value; a bit less than the price of our winner, with a slightly larger total capacity (18 oz vs 16 oz). The bottle is also, unfortunately, quite annoying. TriNova says “our bottle is bigger, and looks cooler!”, and while I’ll give them bigger…whether it looks cooler or not doesn’t really factor in.
What DOES matter is ease of use, and this bottle falls flat. The “cool” design makes it a pain to hold, particularly when you need to tilt it to spray. This is a relatively minor annoyance in the grand scheme, -but does make this spray (which is otherwise largely identical to the Weber degreaser above) not really worth the tiny bit of added extra hassle over any of its competitors.
Cuts through grime.
Sticks well to grill grates.
Bottle shape is annoying and unwieldy.
This is a great all purpose cleaner from CitruSafe with a bent toward cleaning grills. Still, it works good for almost anything, and especially excels at cleaning the exterior of stainless steel appliances, including grills, but also things like ovens and microwaves.
It is a degreaser as well, but overall a mediocre one; it’s enough to bust caked on grease that may accumulate on the lid or exterior of your grill, but if you’re looking for a powerful degreaser to bust that tough, burnt on gunk your grill can accumulate, look elsewhere.
This is overall as basic as it gets, with staunchly middle of the road performance for a similarly middle of the road price. It’s a great 23 oz bottle with a decent nozzle and comfortable design, but the only thing unique it has going for it is a nice citrus-y smell. If you’re worried about the price, this is a great budget pick over the Therapy cleaner, but if you’re looking for the best performing all purpose surface cleaner, look elsewhere.
Good surface cleaner.
Nice citrus scent.
Overall middle of the road performance.
This is an excellent budget cleaner. For the price of a single 16 oz bottle of Weber’s degreaser, you get a total of three 32 oz bottles of this.
This makes it an excellent purchase for restaurants and other high volume demands (if you entertain a lot and use an especially large grill this is also a good purchase).
While the cleaning fluid itself isn’t as good as Weber’s degreaser, Goo Gone, or even Easy Off it has one huge advantage over them: it’s designed to be safe to use on hot surfaces.
The others are not; it’s not recommended at all to use them that way, as they can be sticky and leave burnt residues on your cooking surface, and produce unhealthy choking fumes in the most extreme cases.
With Member’s Mark you can spray some on, quickly scrape off grease and other grime, give it a quick rinse and go right back to cooking.
It doesn’t work nearly as well once grease is allowed to cake on, but then again it’s not designed to. For a specific kind of job this works perfectly.
Extraordinarily cost efficient.
Can be used to quickly clean hot surfaces and get back to work.
Perfect for commercial or other high volume settings.
Less good on caked on grime.
This is an excellent exterior cleaner from Weiman.
The main draw of this one is that it’s a pH neutral cleaner. Many common household cleaners are either acidic (the commonly used DIY vinegar solution is a good example) or alkaline (like bleach).
For most purposes this is honestly fine. Except in very extreme cases the pH balance of your cleaner isn’t going to impact most surfaces like wood other common surfaces.
Even stainless steel isn’t going to be too bothered by the average cleaner, but what can be impacted is paint (and also stone). That makes this an excellent cleaner to use if you have a painted steel grill, something ceramic (like a Big Green Egg or other kamado style grill), or actual stone (like a stone pizza oven and grill).
The bottle’s size (22 oz) and shape are pretty good as well, making this a great value if you happen to need a cleaner that fills that niche for you.
Other than that though, this cleaner is passable. It’s streak free, which is nice, but so is the Therapy cleaner, which is only a little bit more expensive and has a lot better grease cutting ability than this cleaner.
pH neutral; perfect for delicate surfaces prone to etching (like stone).
Good sized bottle.
Included microfiber cloth for cleaning.
Not an especially powerful cleaner.
This cleaner is okay, but ultimately leaves me cold.
The main problem here is that there’s nothing special about this for the most part. It takes up a space somewhere in between a degreaser and an exterior cleaner and tries to be good for all purpose use, but kind of fails to excel at both.
It’s kind of a thick, not quite gel spray that works well for exterior cleaning and stain removal, but doesn’t impress as a degreaser or serious grime remover. That leaves it as usable, but a little too expensive for what it offers, coming in at a premium price for a severely underperforming product.
It’s not bad, but there are far better options on the market for either thing this cleaner tries to do. I’d rather buy two dedicated cleaners for different purposes than a cleaner which does both jobs but half as well.
Plus I must admit the awkward bottle design still thoroughly annoys me.
All purpose cleaner.
Good sized bottle.
Ultimately unimpressive at all jobs it tries to perform at.
Awkward and uncomfortable bottle shape.
There is a wide range of very good cleaners here. The only one I’d say steer clear of is the last entry (the Trinova Premium cleaner).
The rest serve well for whatever purpose they try to perform. Some are multi-purpose cleaners, of which the Therapy cleaner at the top is the best. Some are specialized, like Goo Gone, which I’d say is the best dedicated grime buster. Some even serve a very niche and narrow purpose (like the Weiman stainless steel cleaner) and are excellent…if you need whatever niche they serve.
Ultimately which cleaner you need is going to be up to your very specific needs, whether you’re a negligent griller like me (who cleans his grill right before I want to use it the next time) or a diligent one (who cleans immediately after use) or somewhere in between, there’s an effective cleaner for everyone.
How Do I Choose The Grill Cleaner?
The first thing you want to make note of is what kind of work you want to get out of your cleaner.
There are three basic kinds of cleaner: all purpose, exterior cleaner, and interior cleaners.
All purpose cleaners are exactly what they sound like. They’re designed to be as multi functional as possible and can, in a pinch, be used for anything. Most of these are exactly the same kinds of cleaners you’ll find at any department store that are made to be general use kitchen cleaners. They’re fine, in general, but lack the oomph needed for some of the more unique grill messes.
Enter the interior cleaner. These are the heavy duty cleaners, built primarily around a powerful degreasing agent. Most of these foam, and attack grease while sitting on it for a while, loosening it up enough for your grill brush to scrape everything up. Then you can just rinse everything off, and your grill is as good as new! These cleaners come in two basic types as well: foaming and gel cleaners.
Foaming cleaners are generally aerosolized cans or bottles which eject a fluid that quickly bubbles up on contact with air. These bubbles eat into the grease and loosen them up. This makes it easy to apply (especially to flat surfaces), but they can be annoying to use fi you need to clean the ceiling of your grill’s lid or want something that can get the underside of your grill’s grate in a single pass. If you need something for those, you want the next kind.
Gel cleaners are thick and heavy gels that cling very well to any surface they’re sprayed on. They make poor exterior cleaners as they can be very difficult to rinse off of flat featureless surfaces and can leave very sticky residues if you’re not careful. But for heavy duty cleaning they can’t be beat. They stick right onto pretty much anything, and will lather well while you’re scrubbing, continuing to work even as you scrub (unlike foams, which tend to just come right off). They’re great for extreme grime.
Finally, exterior cleaners are there to make your grill look nice. They clean stains off the outside and buff the steel to a mirror shine. These make decent all purpose cleaners as well, but are typically specialized for metal surfaces; you won’t get as good results on tile or wood.
No matter what cleaner you think you need, having at least two of the above is likely to be for the best.
If you typically clean right after using your grill, you can get away with just an exterior cleaner and one of the all purpose kinds, which can be used for spot cleaning and minor messes.
If you tend to grill and then wait to clean until the next day or whenever you use your grill again though, you’ll want one of the heavier duty interior cleaners with powerful degreasing action. This goes if you do a lot of smoking as well, as any drippings on the grate are likely to be completely solidified by the time the food is even done, making the degreasing component especially important.
Find out more about the must-have cooking tools and grill accessories.