Barbecue season is our favorite season! This year, we are really excited because we got a beautiful new gas bbq for our back deck, and we found a ton of new recipes that we cannot wait to try out! This means of course, that it is also barbecue CLEANING season – and we have found some great, eco-friendly and NON-TOXIC ways to keep our grill clean and super-functional all summer.

Cleaning your barbecue while it is still warm is the best time, since any stuck on food is more easily removed before it cools and dries on. This can be done with a grill brush and spray bottle filled with water with a gas grill once the flame is turned off. Simply spritz the grate and scrub with the brush until clean. Wipe down with a cotton cloth and spray with non stick coating before the next use.

When cleaning the grate that the food is cooked on once the grill has cooled, chemical free cleaners are the best route to take. While some people may use harsh oven cleaners, when cleaning your barbecue, you have to keep in mind these chemicals can leach into your food if not removed completely. So what do you use?

Baking soda to the rescue. Using several layers of dampened newspaper, or thick towels you no longer use for anything else, put the grate on top, and wet the entire surface, soaking the paper also. Sprinkle with a generous amount of baking soda, really cover it well, and put more paper or towels on top. Now wet these down thoroughly with hot water. Allow to soak like this for two to four hours, checking to make sure the paper doesn’t dry out.

Once the grates have set for a time, remove the top layer of papers, and discard, or put the towels in the wash. Using a grill brush, and a spray bottle filled with water, wet and scrub the grates. The baking soda will cut grease and act as a gentle abrasive. Rinse the grate and replace it in the grill.

Using a non stick spray on the cooking surfaces can help make cleaning your grill easier, and keep food from sticking during your cook out.