Wire grill brushes have always been the gold standard for cleaning grill grates (porcelain grates are the exception), but Consumer Reports has recently issued a warning against using these brushes, because the bristles can break off and wind up in your food.
What’s the risk of using a wire grill brush?
As you might expect, wire grill brush bristles are sharp. In fact, a study has revealed that between 2002 and 2014, around 1,700 Americans had to go to the emergency room after accidentally ingesting wire bristles. And those were just the reported cases.
But this is a problem with an easy solution: Consider cleaning your grill grates another way. There are other methods that work just as well, if not better.
Find a wire grill brush alternative
- Check the grill manual: The owner’s manual will likely recommend grill grate cleaning solutions. If it recommends a wire brush, then you should be able to call customer support to ask for an alternative.
- Use a grillstone: According to Consumer Reports, the highest-rated wire brush alternative is the Earthstone Grillstone, which outperformed most of the traditional brushes in the testing phase. While the grillstone wears out quickly, replacements are available.
- Grab your oven cleaner: Yep, you can treat your grill grate like an oven grate. These cleaning methods will do the trick.
- Get a non-wire scraper: I’ve found that a non-wire scraper does the trick, and I’ve actually been using one with great results since long before I even read Consumer Reports‘ warning. The Sanfee Grill Grate Scraper is similar to the one that I use (which came with my grill, or else I would be happy to recommend it!). It gets right between the grates!
- Crumple up aluminum foil: You can also brush loose food particles off a warm grate with a wad of aluminum foil. Just make sure to let the grill grates cool down first to avoid injury.
If you must use a wire grill brush
If you have to clean your grill right away and don’t have time to look into an alternative, taking these extra precautions:
- Inspect your grill brush before each use. If it seems worn, warped or missing bristles, it’s much more likely to shed more bristles, so toss it and look for some aluminum foil.
- Check your grill grate for stray bristles before cooking.
Now that you know how to avoid the hazards of a wire grill brush, let’s get to some great grilling. Here are dozens of grilling ideas you’ll want to try tonight!