• Conventional grill cleaners are among some of the most toxic cleaners in (or around) the home. 

  • You can DIY an easy, effective, and natural grill cleaner that actually works with baking soda and a few other household ingredients.

  • I’ve scoured the internet for the 4 best non-toxic and natural grill cleaners you can purchase to have on hand:
    • Branch Basics (my favorite hardworking all-purpose cleaner)
    • Simple Green (best non-toxic alternative to ‘conventional’ grill cleaning sprays)
    • AFM (best for chemically-sensitive folks)
    • Non-toxic dish soap (cuts through grease & you already have it at home!)

This guide contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

First: What Chemicals Are Typically Used In Grill Cleaners?

Conventional grill cleaning products are often packed with strong chemicals. A few of the common ones include:

  • Sodium hydroxide is used to make tons of things from soaps to paper to products that explode, and comes with a variety of problems.
    • It’s corrosive
    • It can cause chemical burns
    • It can cause tissue damage
    • It can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, or respiratory system. 
    • It also goes by names like “lye”, “caustic soda”, “soda lye”, and “sodium hydrate”

  • Ammonia is commonly used in household and industrial cleaning products, along with things like refrigeration systems and fertilizers yet is not something you want to use regularly.
    • It can also cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritation
    • It can induce coughing, wheezing, and even difficulty breathing
    • Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of ammonia can lead to severe lung damage, bronchitis, and pneumonia (although this is more of a risk for industrial workers).

  • Petroleum distillates can also cause acute health effects such as:
    • Skin, eye, and respiratory irritation
    • Headaches
    • Dizziness
    • and nausea

  • Ethanolamines are used as emulsifiers and fragrances (not only in grill cleaners but also in personal care products like shampoo), but the IARC and NTP list them as probable carcinogens. Some of them have also been found to cause damage to reproductive health and certain other organs.

  • Of course, mystery ingredients are not uncommon, either. This can include undisclosed fragrance ingredients (which may or may not contain endocrine disruptors or carcinogens) and unspecific “cleaning agents.”

So, How Do You Clean Grill Grates Naturally Without Toxic Chemicals?

The good news is you can either DIY your own grill cleaning solution or purchase a natural grill cleaner without toxic chemicals. 

If you prefer to make your own homemade grill it can be done with simple, natural ingredients. (I’ve included 4 easy recipes below.) 

But, not everyone is a DIY enthusiast, so I’ve also got you covered for pre-made non-toxic cleaners you can just buy and use. 

4 Non-Toxic Homemade Grill Cleaner Recipes Using Baking Soda:

Below are four different homemade grill cleaner recipes you can make using baking soda and a couple other simple ingredients (which you probably already have in your home).

The steps are very similar for each recipe. You’ll want to grab a mixing bowl or storage container, a few rags or paper towels, and a grill cleaning brush if you have one (rolled up aluminum foil also works well).

Recipe #1: Baking soda and water paste

Recipe #2: Baking soda and vinegar solution

Recipe #3: Baking soda and lemon juice solution

Recipe #4: Baking soda and olive oil paste

The 4 Best Non-Toxic BBQ And Grill Cleaners 

Honestly, the homemade grill cleaner solutions listed above are probably the easiest and safest bet for cleaning your grill the all-natural (and cheap!) way.

That being said, I know DIY-ing your cleaning solutions just might not be your thing, and you might want to buy a pre-made non-toxic grill cleaner from a trusted brand. 

So, here are some good brands to check out:

1. Branch Basics (Best Multi-Purpose, Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solution)

Branch Basics Review on TheFiltery.com

Price: From $67 (for the Cleaning Essentials Kit)
Note: To clean your grill, I recommend combining either the all-purpose formula or the bathroom formula with the Oxygen Boost powder 
Discount code: Use the code THEFILTERY for 15% off your Starter Kit

Branch Basics is on a mission to help you “toss the toxins” and swap your chemical-laden formulas with safer cleaning products that actually work.

Granted, it’s not a grill cleaner per se, but rather a multi-purpose, eco-friendly cleaning solution that can be used for just about any cleaning job—including the grill! 

Abbie uses Branch Basics for all kinds of things around the house, from the countertops to the laundry, the bathroom, and more. So you know there’s already a Branch Basics Unfiltered Review you can check out. 

The Branch Basics Starter Kits come with a bottle of the Concentrate and several different bottles (you can choose between plastic or glass). Each bottle has a fill line on the side to help you make cleaning sprays of different solutions (one for the bathroom, an all-purpose one, a streak-free one, etc.).

All you have to do is pick a bottle and fill it to the “water” line on the label, add the concentrate to the “soap” line, shake gently, and start cleaning!

Branch Basics Review on TheFiltery.com

I would recommend using either the All-Purpose or the Bathroom formulation for your grill, but if you want or need something even stronger, you can technically make your own formulation! The more Concentrate and the less water you use, the stronger it will be.

And if you need even extra help, you can sprinkle some of the Oxygen Boost powder on your grill grates along with the cleaning spray. Letting them both sit for a few minutes and then scrubbing it with a brush should clean your grill pretty easily.

2. Simple Green (Best Heavy-Duty BBQ Cleaning Spray)

non toxic grill cleaner from simple green

Price: $8-14

This option is probably the most similar to the more “conventional” grill cleaners that you might be used to.

According to dozens of natural-living aficionados, the Simple Green formula is the best non-toxic grill cleaner for removing grease build-up and baked-on foods… especially when other solutions might not be working for you.

This heavy-duty BBQ & grill cleaner is ideal for tacking carbon deposits on grates, stainless steel parts, smokers, BBQ covers, and more. It’s an easy-to-rinse solution that doesn’t leave harsh chemicals behind on cooking surfaces, and it’s safe to use on steel, aluminum, plastic, and other surfaces.

Just spray it on the surface, allow a few minutes for the cleaner to penetrate, and then scrub your grill with a non-abrasive sponge, scrubber, or brush. Let it dry completely before the next use.  

Go for the non-aerosol spray if you can, as aerosol spray products tend to be contaminated with benzene, a carcinogen.

Buy at:

3. AFM (Best Heavy-Duty All-Purpose Surfactant)

afm non toxic degreaser for grill

Price: from $15.02

Note: Best for those with sensitive skin, chemical sensitivities or MCS

The AFM Super Clean All-Purpose Surfactant is a heavy-duty non-toxic degreaser for grills that require some tough love.

This formula is

  • Safe
  • Odor-free
  • Dye-free
  • Biodegradable

And this formula does not contain

  • Phosphates
  • Alkalines
  • Acids
  • Ammonia
  • Butyl ethers
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Or chemical scents 

This means that it’s ideal for anyone with sensitive skin or multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). Yet, it’s able to tackle even industrial-strength cleaning chores with ease.

It’s not just for the grill, either. You can use it to treat everything from stainless steel and fiberglass to porcelain, ceramic tile, chrome, and painted surfaces. But note that it’s not recommended for aluminum. because it can cause a brushed reaction.

It comes in three different sizes: quart, gallon, and 5-gallon pail.

4. AspenClean (Best Non-Toxic Liquid Dish Soap)

Price: $11.99

The last option for a non-toxic grill cleaner is just your favorite dish soap! AspenClean is one of my personal favorites, but other non-toxic dish soaps will work just as well at degreasing.  

AspenClean’s home cleaning products work to deliver the same results as conventional formulas but without any of the harsh chemicals. This liquid dish soap in particular can double as one of the best non-toxic grill cleaners that stands strong against food, dirt, and grease.

They have an unscented formula as well as Lavender & Lemongrass or Eucalyptus & Rosemary (both of which are scented using essential oils). 

Their formulas are:

  • Baby-safe
  • Pet-friendly
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Vegan
  • EWG certified
  • Ecocert certified 
  • And Leaping Bunny certified

Now that you have a pretty good idea of how to clean your grill the non-toxic way, it’s time to start sending out those BBQ invitations! I hope this article gave you all the inspiration you needed to DIY your own natural grill cleaner recipes, but in case you want to leave it to the pros, there are plenty of the best non-toxic grill cleaner solutions available at your disposal.

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About Konstantina

Konstantina Antoniadou is a sustainability writer with an ongoing curiosity to explore new innovative technologies and report on trends in โ€œgreenโ€ industries. With almost ten years of expertise in media and publishing and undying love for upbeat and energetic storytelling, Konstantina is at the forefront of the creatively charged fashion, beauty, and non-toxic home verticals. When sheโ€™s not crafting ethical shopping guides, sheโ€™s either trying to perfect her roller skate dance moves, thrifting, or binging series for the hundredth time.

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