Thursday, May 24, 2012

Product Review: CLR Grease Magnet

This weekend a lot of people will be dragging out their grills for the first time this year.   Those stowed grills are going to need some cleaning before jumping back into action, ESPECIALLY if you didn't clean them good the last time you used them.  

I grill all year and my Big Green Eggs stay clean through routine maintenance and high temp cooks.  But my Smoke Hollow combo grill/smoker has been a little neglected over the winter and was looking a bit like a Nick Nolte mug shot.

I was offered a sample of CLR Grease Magnet and I thought about my poor Smoke Hollow grill, all dusty and greasy under the tarp, hidden away like a dirty secret.   I gladly took them up on their offer.  After all, we have used CLR for years for calcium, lime and rust stains around the house.  [I honestly didn't know CLR was a brand, I thought all they made was that little silver bottle that we all have tucked away in our garage or under the kitchen sink.  They make CLR, Grease Magnet and a whole host of products at Jelmar. Who knew?]

The intended use per Jelmar's website is: Grease Magnet is a fast-acting powerful cleaner formulated to make short work of cleaning stubborn oil, grease and tar from a wide variety of surfaces, including grills and smokers.

We put it to work in a few applications and this is what I thought.  

FIRST - there is no magic bullet for cleaning a nasty, greasy grill.   Cleaning grills is a dirty job and requires elbow grease, there's no getting around that.  A "spray on and wipe off with a paper towel" grill cleaner is like a unicorn or chupacabra.  I know because Bigfoot told me so.    

Yeah, "Gross!"

Another's easier to KEEP a grill clean than to GET it clean. 

Grill Cleaning
  • Exterior:  CLR Grease Magnet did very well on removing surface grease and grime on the three grills.  The surface was clean and ready for their annual reseasoning after an application.
  • Interior:  CLR did a good job of cleaning the grease on the inside areas where grease hides, like the rails that hold the grill grates.  You still have to physically remove accumulated grease first per their instructions, they don't claim to be magic.  
  • Grill Grates:  Okay for stainless.  Not recommended for cast iron (will ruin the seasoning of the metal).  I think you're better off doing a high temp burn and scraping when it comes to grill grates.

Before and after grill top.

This is the stain in the previous picture.  Notice how the grease turned bluish as it emulsifies.

Before and after grate rail.  Probably the greasiest part of my grill.

Before and after tray handle.

Side by side comparison of gas grill drip covers, one done by my normal cleaner and one by CLR Grease Magnet.  Similar results.

Finished and ready to re-season. 

I also cleaned my Bodum Fyrkat and Weber Smokey Joe, little grills need love too.

Garage Floor
  • Sometime last year, I walked out to go to work and had an oil leak under my car in the garage.  Not a drip but a river.  I said a few **** and @@@@ and assumed it was a major engine failure.  Turned out to be something relatively inexpensive ($300) but I never got rid of the stain on the floor.  Year old oil stain - perfect challenge for the CLR Grease Magnet.
  • First I did a test strip per their directions.  5 minutes on, scrub with brush, wipe off.  Wow. 
  • Then I did the whole thing.  The before and after pictures speak for themselves.
Test strip just to see how it did.

If I speak for myself, why did he add this stupid caption?  Pfft. 

Overall thoughts
  • Most pit cleaners I have seen use up to 30% sodium hydroxide, a noxious little bugger.  It is rather reactive and can damage skin and eyes easily at that concentration, nasty stuff.   I liked that CLR uses no sodium hydroxide per their MSDS.  
  • For metal grills, it does a good job.  But it is still a dirty job and they don't claim otherwise.  Take care of your grills.  
  • For concrete floors and vinyl siding (Alexis used it on some grease stains that I may or may not have gotten on the siding, I plead the 5th), the skeptic in me was impressed.

Okay, I'll be back tomorrow with a food post I promise.  Now go clean your grill if you put it away dirty last year....