Is there anything better than spending a beautiful day in the great outdoors? At the end of a long afternoon, no one wants to move inside to slave over a hot oven. Most people prefer the activity and taste of cooking on a charcoal grill in their backyard or at the local park. It can be quite a satisfying experience, but there is one thing that prevents more people from grilling this way. They don’t know how to clean charcoal grill grates.

Fortunately, learning how to clean charcoal grill grates is not rocket science. All you need are the right materials and a little bit of experience. If you are ready to get started with your own grilling experience, you need these products!

How to Clean Charcoal Grill Grates: The Basics

Spring and summer are coming, and that means that you will have more opportunities to play grill master for your family and friends. A charcoal grill gives you a unique flavor to your food that provides the perfect backdrop for good times. Whether you own your grill or borrow one from the local parks department, you should know how to clean charcoal grill grates.

If you own your grill, you should make it a priority to clean it at least once or twice a season depending on how often you use it. For those who are using a public grill, you will want to clean it every time. You never know who used it before you or how long it has been since it was last used. 

Cleaning your charcoal grill is important, and you need the right tools to do it. This is particularly important if you need to know to clean rusty charcoal grill grates. Here is a breakdown of what you will need to assemble:

Spray Cleaner

To clean your charcoal grill grates effectively, you need a spray cleaner that can target built-up food particles. It should be strong enough to loosen these particles without creating toxic fumes that can be harmful to your family members. There are plenty of options on the market that cost less than twenty dollars. Keep in mind that a bottle of cleaner can go a long way. The right cleaner should be effective at helping you figure out how to remove rusty charcoal grill grates as well.

Grill Brush

A good grill brush (on Amazon) is one of the most essential tools. Without something with these stiff bristles to scrub away the baked-on food particles, your spray cleaner will be worthless. If you do not have a grill brush, you can also use aluminum foil. Simply ball it up and then scrub the grates with the foil instead. You will want to brush the grates both before and after grilling to prevent food from building up in the future.

You might also want to consider using bricks specially designed for getting rid of caked-on food and grease.

How to Clean Charcoal Grill Grates: The Products

Dirty Charcoal Grill Grates

Once you are ready to clean your charcoal grill, you need to know what type of products to use. There are all sorts of options on the market, vying for your attention. Here are five of the top products that you might want to consider.

1. Weber Grate Grill Cleaner

Grill Cleaner Spray - Professional Strength Degreaser - Non Toxic Cleanser By Weber

For those who need to know how to clean charcoal grill grates, you might want to turn to one of the industry leaders. Weber not only makes fantastic grills, but they have also created a line of products designed to maintain them in all their glory. This Weber Grate Grill Cleaner is an excellent option for getting your grates to sparkle once again.

This product is designed for use in place of the more popular method of burning off charred food. They estimate that more than 325 million gallons of gas are wasted on this each year. Charcoal grills are not immune to this sort of waste either. Instead of waiting for the grill to heat up and burn away food remnants, you can use this non-toxic cleaner to scrub away grime.

Weber’s cleaner surpasses all international standards for biodegradability. It is even USDA-approved. You can even use it without gloves. However, it is advised that you may want to consider wearing gloves if your skin is particularly sensitive to cleaners.

The cleaner is relatively inexpensive for a single bottle. Given how much you might save by not having to burn off the old food particles, this cleaner is a worthwhile investment.

2. Simple Green Heavy Duty BBQ and Grill Cleaner

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If you want to purchase a multi-purpose cleaner that can handle more than just your charcoal grill, you should consider this option from Simple Green. The No products found. is designed to clean several greasy surfaces where you might have built-up food particles. These can include:

  • BBQs
  • Grills
  • Stovetops and ovens
  • Camp stoves
  • Slow cookers
  • Microwaves
  • Food dehydrators
  • Utensils

The gentle formula is tough on grease but still safe enough for use on all metals and plastics. Use it on interior surfaces or exterior surfaces with the same wonderful results.

The formula is what makes this cleaner so powerful and effective. The spray itself clings to the area where you apply it instead of running down over the surface. As it sticks to the problem area, it is fast-acting and penetrates deep into the stain. Simple Green removes grease, food, and carbon deposits without issue. It is highly effective for people who need to know how to clean rust off charcoal grill grates as well.

No need to worry about exposing your children or pets to this cleaner. It is completely non-toxic. It also rinses clean so that it does not leave any residue behind on your charcoal grill after you finish applying it.

When it comes to price, this cleaner is a little more expensive than some others. However, you might find that it is worth the price since it has no caustic fumes and rinses clean. It packs a powerful punch against burnt-on food particles. Do not underestimate its power.

3. Citrusafe Grill Cleaning Spray

Citrusafe Grill Cleaning Spray - BBQ Grid and Grill Grate Cleanser

Learning how to clean charcoal grill grates is easy and effective with natural products like the Citrusafe Grill Cleaning Spray. Unlike many of the other leading cleaners on the market, Citrusafe harnesses the power of more natural ingredients. It is used to clean your charcoal grill cold so that you do not have to waste precious charcoal just to heat your grates.

The active ingredient in this cleaner is d-limonene, a product that naturally occurs in citrus. Because it has natural origins, it is perfectly safe to be used around your family and your food. In addition to being safe for your entire family, it is also:

  • Non-flammable
  • Non-corrosive
  • Non-toxic
  • Biodegradable
  • Phosphate-free

Much like the Simple Green cleaner, you are safe to use the Citrusafe without the use of cleaning gloves. However, those with sensitive skin may still want to take this extra precaution to avoid irritating their skin.

You can get the most bang for your buck with this cleaner because it is also multi-purpose. In addition to using it on your charcoal grill, it works on other types of cookers, smokers, ovens, and microwaves. If you have a space in your home that is covered in grease or burnt-on food particles, you can rest easy knowing that Citrusafe can help you get it clean.

The best thing about this bottle of cleaner is the price. While it is not the cheapest bottle on this list, it is very reasonably priced.

4. Goo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner

Goo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner Spray Cleans and Degreases BBQ Cooking Grates and Rack

Chances are that you have heard of the Goo Gone name brand before. You can use it to eliminate all sorts of messes from sticker residue to leftover gum. Now, they have an entire line of cleaners dedicated to cleaning your cooking grates and charcoal grills. With the Goo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner, you get a powerful cleaner from a name brand you are already familiar with.

Much like the Simple Green formula, Goo Gone uses a gel-based cleaner to stick to the areas where you apply it. From here, it quickly cleans and removes grease from your grates. Within minutes, you can simply wipe away the grime that has been building up for months without the need to heat the grates and wait for the cleaner to do its work. It works on caked-on food, baked-on deposits, carbon, and grease.

Please note that it is not for use on aluminum or fake stainless steel.

Are you concerned about the environment and how the Goo Gone compares to other green versions? Goo Gone has made it a priority to design this cleaner to be biodegradable. This makes it safe to use on almost all metals from cooking grates or racks to drip pans to grill interiors and exteriors as a whole.

This option is easily the most affordable out of all the products listed. It comes in a two-pack so you get far more cleaner for the same dollars you would spend on the other products.

5. Kelfuoya Elaziy Grill Griddle Cleaning Brick Block

Elaziy Grill Griddle Cleaning Brick Block Ecological Grill Cleaning Brick De-Scaling

If you don’t love the idea of using a spray cleaner, you might want to try this alternative. The Kelfuoya Elaziy Grill Griddle Cleaning Brick Block is just what it sounds like: a brick that is designed to help you clean your charcoal grill grates. Each brick is made of all ecological material so that it is safe for people, plants, animals, and even any nearby water sources.

This cleaning option is also odorless and non-toxic. If the scents of certain cleaners bother you, such as the citrus scent of the Citrusafe, then you might want to consider these blocks. They work hard to absorb grease and gunk from your grill grates. They are highly effective at removing grease, stains, residue, and dirt all at once.

They can even be used if you are trying to figure out how to clean rust off charcoal grill grates.

The block itself is easy to hold in your hand and has an anti-slip grip. You might imagine that it would be heavy, but it is fairly lightweight. However, this does not mean that it is not powerful!

Once you finish scrubbing your grill grates clean, you might notice some dust leftover. Fortunately, this is also very simple to remove. All you need to do is blow them away or wipe down the cooled grates with a wet paper towel and water. You never have to worry about bristles or spikes breaking off into your grates or your food.

How to Clean Charcoal Grill Grates: A Cheaper Alternative

Nice Clean Barbecue

It might seem like purchasing a cleaner to learn how to clean charcoal grill grates is the most cost-effective solution. However, that might not always be the case. For some grills, you may be able to replace the charcoal grill grates for less money than a bottle of cleaner. While this will not always be the case, it is something to look into and consider before investing in any kind of cleaner, especially if the grates are very old and dirty.

Weber 7441 Replacement Charcoal Grates

Some of the most inexpensive grill grates are those from Weber. You can purchase them for less than twenty dollars, depending on what type of grill you have and the size you need. Take a look at the Weber 7441 for an example. Some grill grates are even less, coming in at under ten dollars apiece.

If you are in the market for a new charcoal grill, you might want to investigate the cost of replacement grill grates before you make a purchase. Simply replacing the grate once a season can spare you the time and effort of having to clean it regularly. Just remember to recycle the old one!

Scrubbing Your Charcoal Grill Grates

When it comes to cleaning your charcoal grill grates, there are a lot of options you could potentially use. Don’t be afraid to try a couple of different products or to investigate purchasing a new grill grate altogether. With a little bit of help from these cleaners and a little bit of elbow grease, you can have a charcoal grill that sparkles and shines, ready for BBQ season this spring and summer!


What can I use to clean my charcoal grill grates?

You can use any number of commercial cleaners such as Goo Gone Grill and Grate Cleaner or the Weber Grill Grate Cleaner. You will also need a grill brush or some aluminum foil.

Is it cheaper to clean my grates or replace them?

It may be cheaper to replace your grill grates than to purchase a bottle of cleaner. It will depend on the specific model of your charcoal grill.

Do I have to wear gloves when cleaning my charcoal grill grates?

Many cleaners do not require you to wear gloves while cleaning your charcoal grill grates. However, you may want to consider wearing them anyway, particularly if you have sensitive skin.

Last update on 2024-07-15 at 04:55 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API