While most Austin culinary arts students will be focused on cooking, cleaning is also a big part of working in a kitchen. One important kitchen appliance that can get gross is the grill. Grills inside restaurants are cleaned when the restaurant closes down every night, but the grill at your house is probably lucky to be cleaned a few times a year, depending on how much it is used. Either way, you don’t have to use chemicals to get your grill clean. Natural cleaning supplies work well for both commercial and recreational grills.
Tools and cleaners
The tools won’t really change depending on the type of grill or type of cleaner you decide to use. In general, you’ll need a stiff wire brush, a good sturdy spatula or spackle knife, and some abrasive pads or steel wool. There are two natural cleaners that work extremely well: baking soda and vinegar. However, don’t mix them together. Once the two are mixed, the qualities that make the vinegar a good cleaning agent cease to exist, and you might as well be using baking soda and water. Stick to using them separately. Before you begin cleaning, make sure to get all of the ash and charcoal out of your grill if you have a charcoal grill. If you have a gas grill, disconnect the propane tank from the grill and set it aside.
- Using vinegar to clean your grill
Vinegar has been used for cleaning everything from kitchen counters to the inside of gas tanks. It is a form of acetic acid, and that acidic property is what makes it such a good cleaner. According to Real Simple, vinegar can be used to clean coffee makers, dishwashers, drains, floors, shower heads and more. Also, it is edible and nontoxic. Cleaning a grill – something you cook food on – with a nontoxic cleaner just makes sense. A lot of chemical grill cleaners eat away the grime that collects on grill parts. While this is efficient, those chemicals can be harmful. Vinegar can work in the same way, it just isn’t as powerful. Some grill parts, depending on how much grime is on them, might need to soak in vinegar for a few hours. If you don’t want to do that, Spraying vinegar on your grill and then scraping it with a spatula, spackle knife, wire brush or steel wool also works well. If you do decide to soak certain grill parts, take a wire brush to them after a good soaking to knock off what’s left.
- Using baking soda to clean your grill
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, works great to clean almost anything. With a brush or durable sponge and some baking soda, you can get grime and dirt off most things. Baking soda works because it is a mild alkali. This means it combines well with water and works to scrum away grime and dirt from surfaces. According to a paper published by the University of Wisconsin, baking soda can be used as a cleaner, deodorizer, fire extinguisher, a cooking ingredient and more. To use baking soda to clean your grill, wet your wire brush or steel wool and dip it in a dish of baking soda. Together, the baking-soda-and-water mix and your tool will scrub away all the grime and charred food attached to your grill.
What you should clean
While it is optimal to clean the whole grill, you don’t have to every time. Clean things like the outside of the grill and the interior of the lid about every other or every third time you clean your grill. However, if something looks like it needs cleaning, clean it. Parts that should be cleaned every time are any vents in the lid and in the bottom of the grill, the grill grates, handles and hinges, and all of your cooking tools. At least once a year, deep clean your grill where you really make sure to get every surface of the grill clean. When you do a deep clean, consider taking parts of your grill off and soaking them in vinegar for a few hours. This will eat away most of the grime and make it easier for you to scrape off what’s left.