So, lets get down to it! I want to see what these Essential Oils and other chemical free options can really do in my world – A Man’s World. So here we go on our first Mansperiment: Cleaning the barbecue with essential oils (or smoker, or grill, or camp oven – basically whatever we can cook meat in, we will see if we can clean it). All that in a Man Versus Oils spirit of a chemical free living.
Why using essential oils for cleaning the barbecue?
Well… I guess because I created this website to test this stuff … But in reality, I have always been a little uncomfortable in the chemicals that I have used in the past to get the job done. I have usually gone to two options:
1. Specialised BBQ cleaning spray
Risks (according to MSDS*) – Irritation to eyes and skin – risks to aquatic environments.
Cost – $6 to $7 AUD
2. Engine degreaser
Risks (according to MSDS*) – Irritation to eyes, skin and respiratory systems. Extremely corrosive and should not be released into any drainage system.
Cost – $2 to $4 AUD.
If I am being honest, I am not even sure why I thought using Engine degreaser to clean a BBQ was ever a good idea but at the time, it was there and I could use it. So, I thought… hmmmm, let’s see if it works.
In both cases, I would spray the BBQ and leave for a little while then hose off in the yard.
What am I trying to achieve?
Well to start with, I want a clean BBQ… But without the risks to myself, my family and our pets. We also live on the coast so anything that goes into the soil or drains here goes directly into the ocean… and we LOVE the ocean.
So, my acceptance criteria is simple – the BBQ is clean from grease!
What am I going to use?
So, I did some research (remembering my own info from a previous blog on choosing oils) and came up with the following:
Step 1 – Essential oils – Is there an Oil that am I going to use? (we are after all, Man versus Oils). As I look through my wife’s inventory, I see Lemon. Lemons are in everything that cleans aren’t they? Let’s start with that.
Step 2 – What carrier will I use. Most of the carriers I have talked about to date are oils. Oils will not, to my knowledge clean grease… when my Dad retired he drove Mum nuts by throwing out all of her cleaning products and replacing it all with vinegar. Let’s go with that.
Step 3 – Google it! – A lot of variations… Lemon essential oils… check… Vinegar… check… and a lot of call for baking soda… Baking soda (or Sodium bicarbonate) is a naturally occurring product with slight acidic qualities. It is also a proven odor remover which, if your BBQ has had a while between cleans, can be really necessary.
So… after further research, I am going to go with:
- 15 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
- 1 cup of Vinegar
- 1 cup of water
I have decided to leave the baking soda out for the moment but if your BBQ is particularly smelly or greasy, I would suggest sprinkling some onto the plate or grill first then adding the spray later on. If however you are going to clean the outside or shelving first, I would suggest choosing a small area to test first (to test for paint or stainless steel discoloration).
Here we go… We need:
- Mix ingredients into a spray bottle
- Locate dirty BBQ
- Spray ingredients onto BBQ
- Leave for 10 minutes
- Wash off with hose (use clean hot water for particularly dirty BBQs)
So…. the results are really not too bad… It is not as spotless as the chemical options. Which is not surprising as their chemicals are pretty strong. However, it is much better than it was. Something I did notice immediately was the smell, or lack of it. There was no stale grease smell and the BBQ is clean-ish. I gave it a second round of spray and left for another 10 minutes.
So, I have written this on the fly in ‘real time’ meaning that the steps outlined above are the only steps I took. I did it twice and took some photos which are below. I did not use any baking soda on the BBQ which may have improved speed of cleaning and there is certainly room to tweak the recipe. However, all in all, I would have to call this mansperiment a success. Here is why:
- The BBQ is clean
- No chemicals were used
- The lemon essential oil cuts down the smell of the stale grease and also the strong acidic smell of the vinegar
- It takes a little longer to clean than the chemical cleaners
- Some wipe down or scrub of the BBQ would be required to fully remove ALL grease and charring form corners and burners etc.
And there you go! Our first mansperiment is done and a success. Oh, and I reckon if you keep the spray bottle on hand you could give the old grill plate a quick spray and wipe down with a paper towel to maintain a clean, fresh smelling BBQ!
Now to find something to cook!
Read more: 5 Reasons to take Essential Oils Camping
* A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that provides health and safety information about products, substances or chemicals that are classified as hazardous substances or dangerous goods. MSDS’s can usually be found on the website of the manufacturer.
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My name is Paul and I live on the east coast of Australia with my wife and six year old son. I also have 19 and 23 year old daughters. I am an ex government and bank worker who took a bit of a sea change and opened my own business by the beach with my amazing wife. If you can do it, try it. You will never look back. You want to know more about me, read my About Me page