By Julia Furukawa

Summer is the best time of the year to break out the barbeque and host a family cookout. Ribs, kebabs, burgers — whatever it is, it always tastes better with a little char. But let’s face it, even after just a few uses, your barbeque needs a clean. So, here are a few easy ways to clean your grill with everyday household items.

1.Vinegar Spray

Vinegar is a great household cleaner that can be used in lieu of harsh chemicals, and it works just as well for your grill. Get an empty spray bottle and fill it with a one-to-one ratio of water and white vinegar (avoid vinegards like balsamic or apple cider which have high sugar contents) and spray it on your grill grate and lid. Leave spray on for ten minutes and then use a grill brush to scrape off the build-up. The acid in the vinegar will eat through the grease and grime and leave you with a barbeque that looks like new. Repeat the process if necessary.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great natural exfoliant. The small grains gently scrub away build-up on any household item. Sprinkle with a generous amount of baking soda on your grill grate, dip your grill brush in water, and scrub away. The baking soda will lift baked-on residue and leave your grill sparkling like new.

3. Dishwasher

Unless your grill is very large, most grates will fit in a standard dishwasher. Place the grates upright in your dishwasher and run it on a regular cycle. Your detergent will wash away grease just like it does on your pots and pans. The best part? No scrubbing required.

4. Coffee

Ever wondered what to do with that leftover pot of coffee from breakfast? Instead of pouring it down the drain, you can use it to remove hard-to-get remnants from your grill grate. Lay your grill grates flat in a large pan or plastic bin and fill it with enough coffee to submerge the grates entirely. Then go for a walk or prep dinner while you let the acid in the coffee do the heavy lifting. After half an hour, remove the grates and see how easy it is to scrub off the grime from your last cookout.

5. An Onion

You normally wouldn’t think of using an onion to clean, but trust us on this one: It’s a cheap, easy way to loosen up the crust on your grill grates. While your grill is still hot, stab an onion with a fork and rub it vigorously up and down the bars on your grill. The moisture from the onion will loosen up stuck-on food. All you need to do is brush down the grate afterward and your barbeque will be good as new.