What's the best cleaning method for a HORRIBLY dirty aluminum grill grate?
April 2, 2009 8:56 PM   Subscribe

What's the best cleaning method for a HORRIBLY dirty aluminum grill grate?

I have an aluminum grate that is in really bad shape. It's coated in carbon/grease that seems to be fused on. Also the same thing with a little catch pan and grate for my toaster oven. I've tried using those oven cleaner sprays and they might have helped a tiny bit but just barely. After much scraping I can see teeny slivers of actual metal beneath...

Anyone got any good ideas on getting rid of all this residue? Thanks fo the help!
posted by covert7 to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Steam cleaner! Or Bon Ami. Or possibly ammonia, if you can stomach it.
posted by kellyblah at 9:23 PM on April 2, 2009

How gigantic is this thing? I've had luck in getting impossible-to-remove black stuff out of pots by boiling Coke in them. It's amazing. If you can submerge this thing in Coca-Cola and then bring it to a boil (just past a simmer) for several minutes, you'll probably make some serious headway.
WARNING: DO NOT LET THE COKE BOIL OFF COMPLETELY! Not only will it make the problem 10 times worse, the smoke it creates is EYE POISON. My roommate almost died! Or almost went blind or something. True story!
posted by phunniemee at 9:24 PM on April 2, 2009

Are you in the US? I always use a box of SOS pads. It feels wasteful to use so many SOS pads but it gets the job done.
posted by gt2 at 9:52 PM on April 2, 2009

I know you said you tried oven cleaner, but this might be worth a try. The newest issue of Cook's Illustrated has a tip for the oven cleaner angle: take it outside, put it in a big black plastic trash bag, spray the oven cleaner, close the bag and let it sit outside overnight. The next day, wear rubber gloves to remove it from the bag, place it on several sheets of newspaper, and wipe it down with a damp cloth.
posted by ambrosia at 9:56 PM on April 2, 2009

An elderly aluminum waffle iron I purchased had about a six inch layer of crusted carbon and grease. At the advice of users on another forum, I tried a can of Carbon-Off, which took it down to bare metal with one coat, no scrubbing. It's terrifyingly effective stuff.
posted by Phineas Rhyne at 10:36 PM on April 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've had good luck cleaning carbonized grease off of my grill with Simple Green (available at Home Depot) and a scouring pad.
posted by TungstenChef at 10:56 PM on April 2, 2009

It should be noted that in my experience, the proper tool to use to scrub a grill is a ball of aluminum foil. This paired with one of the strong chemicals these people are suggesting should work great for you.
posted by Night_owl at 11:00 PM on April 2, 2009

Soak it in a strong solution of soda crystals overnight (should be available in Uk supermarkets, not sure about us).

Make sure you wear gloves.
posted by mogcat at 12:16 AM on April 3, 2009

Do you have an oven? Scrap off all the loose debris, and put it in your oven on self clean for 2 hours.
posted by Marky at 12:54 AM on April 3, 2009

Ambrosia's got it. I do this at least once a year for my grill grates. If they're particularly nasty, I put the plastic bag in the sun for a day or so.

I've also had pretty good results at a Car Wash.
posted by Shohn at 5:27 AM on April 3, 2009

Bar Keeper's Friend does amazing things on stainless steel, and they say it will work on aluminum, too. I've never seen anything take baked-on-stuck-on crud off of pans like this stuff.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:55 AM on April 3, 2009

If it's really aluminum (which seems surprising to me), oven cleaner could be troublesome.

If it is, I would get another piece of aluminum (the hardware stores usually have pieces of stock that would make a good scraper) and scrape off most of it.
posted by gjc at 6:53 AM on April 3, 2009

Make a big hot fire on your grill and put the grill on it and get it as hot as you can. A lot of the crud should burn off. Scrub off what you can with a ball of aluminum foil held in some tongs.
posted by jefftang at 9:02 AM on April 3, 2009

Thank you to everyone for all the suggestions! I'll be sure to start trying them out and see what works best!
posted by covert7 at 6:44 AM on April 6, 2009

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