How to Remove Grime From Grilling Utensils

Cut the grease, grime, and germs with these grilling tool cleaning tips.

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Great grilling starts with the cleanest-of-the-clean utensils. Combat the spread of germs and bacteria by taking care to diligently clean the tools of your summertime trade. Make cleaning the tongs, forks, pokers, prodders, skewers, spatulas, and basting accessories your priority, and then sit back and enjoy the party.

Tips for Cleaning Your Grilling Utensils

Tips for Cleaning Your Grilling Utensils

Get your greasy grilling utensils clean (and keep them clean).

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

The common answer to “How do you get your grilling tools clean at the end of the picnic?” Might be “Why, just throw them in the dishwasher!” It sounds like an easy enough solution, but trust me, your hands will work harder to clean grease-covered grilling tools than any machine. Plus, a dishwasher isn’t always the best way to clean utensils with wooden handles, which demand more respect and care.

To take the best care of grilling utensils, you can give them a scrub-down by hand in the sink, or work diligently to clean them on-the-go.

Below are 4 easy homemade grease-cutting solutions guaranteed to leave your grilling utensils shiny:

Method 1: Simply Soap Approach

Soak your utensils in a bowl of hot water and bubbly, grease-cutting dish soap (if it can clean the oils off birds, it’ll clean your kitchen tools). Once the grease begins to lift, you can cut through with a rough sponge or sponge brush, and it’ll wipe clean fast. Use an old toothbrush to get into strange little nooks and grooves.

Tips for Cleaning Your Grilling Utensils

Tips for Cleaning Your Grilling Utensils

Get your greasy grilling utensils clean (and keep them clean).

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Method 2: An All-Natural Solution

Mix the following ingredients in a bowl, and allow the utensils to soak.

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • juice of half a lemon

Lemon juice is a natural grease-cutting solution and disinfectant, and baking soda provides the perfect amount of abrasion to loosen the really stuck-on stuff. Allow the utensils to marinate, and wash them clean. Sprinkling a little dry baking soda on a sponge during the final wipe-down is helpful.

Tips for Cleaning Your Grilling Utensils

Tips for Cleaning Your Grilling Utensils

Get your greasy grilling utensils clean (and keep them clean).

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Method 3: The Swift Wipe-Down Approach

Keep a cloth dampened with white distilled vinegar at your grilling station. Use it intermittently to clean juices, marinades, and bacteria from your grilling utensils during use. This is especially convenient for thermometer probes, which are often removed from the food and forgotten. Both this and Method #4 (below) are great to get in the habit of doing if you’re alternating between meats, or debating if the bacteria from the raw chicken you flipped earlier is still present when you’re ready to pull the meat off the grill.

Tips for Cleaning Your Grilling Utensils

Tips for Cleaning Your Grilling Utensils

Get your greasy grilling utensils clean (and keep them clean).

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Method 4: The Boil-As-You-Cook Solution

If your gas grill has a side burner, fill a pot with water and a dash of vinegar, heat on low while you grill, and dip the utensils into the hot water to sanitize as you go. Not only does it cut down on after-dinner clean-up and grease build-up, but it keeps bacteria at bay. Both this and Method 3 are great if you’re alternating between meats or debating if the bacteria from the raw chicken you flipped earlier is still present when you’re ready to pull the meat off the grill.

Tips for Cleaning Your Grilling Utensils

Tips for Cleaning Your Grilling Utensils

Get your greasy grilling utensils clean (and keep them clean).

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Bonus Tip for Utensils with Wooden Handles:

Apply food-safe mineral oil to the dry wooden handle between washes. The oil works to seal the wood and prevent absorption, but also keeps the wood detailing in better condition despite frequent soakings and scrubbings. Take care of your grilling utensils, and they’ll last you a long time.

How to Clean Your Grill

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Reviving your grill

Breathe new life into your grill with a few tools and specialized spray paint.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Gather the Materials

You will need: gloves / stiff wire brush / sandpaper / steel wool / painter's tape / craft knife / screwdriver / high heat spray paint and primer. Begin by cleaning the outside of the grill thoroughly.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Removing the Grates

Remove all grates and charcoal racks (if applicable).

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Cleaning out the Basin

Remove any debris from the charcoal basin and sand lightly to remove any rust.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Removing the Pieces

Using a screwdriver, remove any wooden pieces. Place all of the hardware in a container for safekeeping until you are ready to reassemble.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Sanding the Grill

Lightly sand the exterior of the grill to remove any rust spots.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Masking the Grill for Painting

Using painter's tape, mask off any parts that cannot be easily removed, but that you do not wish to paint. Cut away excess tape with a craft knife. Prime and paint the grill with high heat spray paint (available at auto part stores and some hardware stores). Use a product with heat tolerance up to 1200˚. Allow to dry completely according to manufacturer's instructions.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Cleaning the Grates

With a stiff wire brush and steel wool, remove any rust and build up from the grates. Wash in warm soapy water and dry completely. Coat the grates with a thin layer of cooking oil.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Preparing the Wooden Pieces

Sand all wooden pieces, dust, and wipe with a slightly damp cloth. Paint or stain/seal the wooden pieces as desired. Allow to dry completely.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Putting it Back Together

Reattach the wooden pieces with the hardware.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Adding the grates

Replace the cooking grates.

Removing the masking

Using a craft knife, carefully remove any masking.

The Finishing Touches

Lightly rub painted areas with steel wool and wipe with a damp cloth.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Reviving your Grill

Your old grill can come back to life with just a few materials and a couple of hours.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

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