How to Remove Grime From Grilling Utensils

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

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.

Cleaning dirty 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.

Cleaning dirty 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.

Cleaning dirty 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.

Cleaning dirty 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.

Cleaning dirty 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.

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