Should You Use A Bottle Of Beer To Clean Your Grill?

Grilling is the ultimate fusion of fiery cooking and cherished company. But when the embers have died down and the delicious aroma has dissipated, you're left with a grimy, greasy grill. Over time, many grill cleaning hacks have surfaced that promise an easier cleaning experience — like the claim that a bottle of beer is all you need for a sparkling grill. But is this method effective, or just a waste of a perfectly good beverage?

"Beer can be used to clean a BBQ because the alcohol breaks down grease and burnt-on food. Soak a coarse brush or pad in the beer and scrub the grill after use," Baqir Khan, the owner of Proactive Cleaners, told Gardeningetc. Another way to do this is to pour the beer directly over a warm grill and scrub it with a bristle brush. On the face of it, the logic appears sound. Alcohol is a known degreaser, and beer is usually readily available at any BBQ gathering, making it a convenient cleaning option.

Although the idea sounds tantalizing and fun, there are a few considerations. While beer might help break down some of the oil due to its alcohol content, the efficiency and economics of this hack may not match up to standard cleaning agents. Grease-cutting soap, like Dawn, is specifically formulated to tackle the stubborn grime that accumulates on grills. A beer bottle might also cost more than a little squeeze of some soap. Over time, this can add up. 

To beer or not to beer: cleaning solutions

Beer contains sugars, yeasts, and other compounds that leave behind a sticky residue. According to 2011 research by the University of California, the glycerol in beer is very attractive to uninvited booze-loving insects, such as flies. Unfortunately, this may lead to even further build-up of dirt and grime in your grill zone.

If you're leaning towards using beer due to its natural components and wish to avoid chemical cleaners, there are other household items to consider. One of the best methods for cleaning a rusty grill is a humble mix of white vinegar and salt — effective and economical. Given that white vinegar is a popular cleaning agent in many households for chores, this method is also worthwhile for the grill. Nonetheless, whether you use beer, vinegar, or a store-bought solution, scrubbing will be involved. Polishing your grill is not nearly as enjoyable as the BBQ itself, and while the cleaning solution you use can help the process, elbow grease remains a primary ingredient.

Indeed, using beer to clean a grill is quite nifty and may offer a makeshift solution when you're out of regular cleaners. However, sticking to tried-and-true methods might be best for consistent, effective, and hassle-free results. Next time you're faced with a dirty grill and a bottle of beer in hand, perhaps it's best to pour it into a glass, toast to the joys of BBQ, and reach for a cleaning solution better suited to the task.