The Surprising Vegetable You Can Use To Clean A Grill

Grilling makes everything taste better. It just adds the right amount of smokey flavor, coupled with that perfect sear, to pretty much any food. Unfortunately, it's also an unpleasant process to clean this outdoor appliance. Weeks-old char on your grates should never be the secret ingredient to your future grilling recipes, but sometimes, that's easier said than done. No one voluntarily raises their hand or starts fighting for the grill brush when it comes time to divvy up clean-up tasks. Maybe you know families who play rock, paper, scissors – best 3 out of 5 – to determine who gets this less-than-coveted job. But maintaining your gas or charcoal grill, which includes cleaning after each time you use it, will help prolong its life (via Grill Docs). In fact, Premier Outdoor Living and Design says you should do a deep clean every 6 months.

But let's focus on the more frequent cleanings. There are lots of schools of thought in the online universe when it comes to the best way to clean your grill, but we noticed one unexpected method that doesn't involve a bristly grill brush or chemical cleaners. It also might surprise you to learn that this method only requires a vegetable you may already have in your kitchen pantry. What is it?

Use an onion to clean your grill

Instead of putting on your latex gloves and using your steel wool or scrubbing brush to scour the grates in an attempt to get rid of the gristly buildup on your grill, try using an onion (via Wide Open Eats). You read that correctly. Onions apparently have some antibacterial properties that – when coupled with a warm grill – take care of this dirty job. So turn on the grill to heat it up, and once it's warm, turn it off to start the actual cleaning process. Because vinegar and lemon juice are acidic, spraying either liquid on the grates can dissolve or loosen up some of the burnt, stuck-on, grimy food and sauces from meals.

Next, cut an onion in half and harpoon the vegetable on the side with the skin using your grilling fork (via Family Handyman). Rub it cut-side down on your warm grill grates. If you plan to use your grill right after you clean it with the onion, you can take a paper towel, fold it up, and dunk it in some vegetable oil. Using a pair of tongs, rub the oily paper towel all over the grates to keep food from getting stuck.