Your No-Mess Grill Guide

Easy ways to cut clean-up time…

At the grill

  • Don’t’ use nonstick spray on the grill grate – it’ll burn onto the grate, making it tacky and difficult to clean. If you’re concerned about sticking, brush oil on the outside of food before placing it on the grill.
  • Do line the cooker’s grease tray with foil to catch drips and fallen pieces of food and save yourself scrubbing later (but check the grill’s manual first to make sure this is safe).
  • Put a mat under your grill to protect your patio or deck form food stains and sparks. You can use The Original Grill Pad from Diversitech (30-inch-round pad, $30,; just host it clean.

Around the yard

  • Cover tables with brown butcher paper (available at office-supply stores). A bonus at the buffet: You can easily ID foods (say, vegetarian options) by writing directly on the butcher paper. Or, place a shower-curtain liner on your tables, underneath fabric or paper tablecloths, to keep spills from soaking through.
  • Strategically stash a few damp and dry cloths near the grill and by the tables so you can sop up spills when they happen. And remember: This is the sort of meal where it’s OK to plop a roll of paper towels on a table for messy hands.
  • Try Flings Bins ($4, Amazon) – pop-up disposable trash and recycling bins – to make quick work of garbage (and to avoid having to hose out gross barrels). Pick from more than a dozen prints.

Smart Grill Tips

When the grill is still warm, grab a ball of aluminum foil with your long-handled tongs and give the grates a good rubdown to de-gunk. Used foil is fine, as long as the food-stained part is on the inside.

Fix Food Stains

No need to run inside for a stain stick. Use what you’ve got on hand to keep these splotches from setting

Oily Stains

Scrape off excess and sprinkle o salt or sugar. Pat it in to help absorb the grease; dust off what remains.


Scrape off the excess with the dull side of the knife; flush with cold water.

Cola or Tea

Rub the stain with an ice cube. Blot moisture with a paper towel or a napkin.

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