How to clean a grill with an onion

dirty grill grate

While grilling is a fun and delicious pastime, cleaning a grill can be an annoying chore. And since the messiest parts of the grill are where food is directly placed, not everyone is a fan of using chemical-based cleaners.

However, there is an all-natural item you can use to clean your grill and it’s something you probably already have in your pantry: an onion! All you have to do is cut an onion in half, and while the grill is still warm, use tongs or a fork to rub the cut side of the onion across the grill’s grates with force, obviously being careful not to touch the grill with your hand.

Using this onion scrub should remove any stuck-on grime or charred food, thanks to the enzymes in the onion and the friction that comes from dragging the vegetable around. As a bonus, it will also season your grill with a hint of grilled onion flavor that should go with anything you’re cooking.


Here is an example of how it looks, though we recommend shutting the flame off when you clean — unless you are trying to simultaneously roast an onion and clean a grill at the same time.

Onions aren’t the only non-toxic way to clean a grill. Here are a few more ideas you can try:


Like the onion hack, cut a lemon in half and then sprinkle with salt before using it like a sponge to clean a cooled-off grill. The lemon’s acidity helps to break down grit and grease.


Water-Soaked Newspapers

For cleaning a warm — but not hot — grill, you can try “steam cleaning” it by placing wet newspapers inside the grill for 30 minutes with the lid closed.

wet newspaper New York Times
Clint Davis/Simplemost

Vinegar And Aluminum Foil

For this grill hack, pour some white vinegar into a spray bottle and then coat your grill with it. Then, crumple up a ball of aluminum foil and use it like a scouring pad to scrub away caked-on dirt. Your grill will be looking clean in no time!


When our own writer, Brittany Anas, tried a few of these grill-cleaning hacks for herself, she found the onion was by far the best natural method. Do you have a favorite way to clean the grill?

Cleaning & Organization, Home, Tips & Advice

About the Author
Margeaux Baulch Klein
Margeaux Baulch Klein is a freelance writer and digital strategist based in Los Angeles. She has written for publications like the Huffington Post, New York Daily News, Bustle, and HelloGiggles, among others.

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