3 Things To Consider Before Cleaning Your Grill With A Wire Brush

Image courtesy of Renate Dodell

For all those folks getting ready to fire up the grill for the holiday weekend, there’s one thing you might do before you break out the hamburgers, hot dogs, and donuts — clean your grill. But before you set to scrubbing, consider this: an estimated 1,700 Americans went to an emergency room between 2002 and 2014 after having ingested wire bristles hidden in grilled food.

That’s according to a recent study published in the medical journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, which said that one in four of those with grill brush injuries had to be admitted to the hospital. That is one way to ruin a perfectly good Independence Day weekend.


To help protect yourself from such an unfortunate situation, our colleagues at Consumer Reports have a few suggestions of things you should consider before prepping your cooking surface.

1. Examine steel or brass wire brushes carefully before use

Check out your tools before cooking — are the brush’s bristles tightly anchored to the brush, or coming loose in some spots? If a brush has fewer bristles in some areas, or the brush is worn or warped, it’s time for a new one, Consumer Reports says. Electric grill brushes should be replaced either every grilling season, or after 100 uses.

2. Use liquid grill cleaner when needed

Grill grates can get so gunked up that a more thorough scrubbing can be needed. Using liquid grill cleaners can help loosen up that gunk, with the help of abrasive pads. You can also use a wet fine-steel-wool pad, CR says.

3. Consider alternatives to wire brushes

A traditional stainless steel or brass wire grill brush might not be necessary; depending on what kind of grill you have, you can clean grill grates with a warm — not hot — pumice stone or a wire-mesh cleaning tool that looks like a scouring pad. Check your owner’s manual before using any alternatives.

Grill Brushes Can Pose a Surprising Risk [Consumer Reports]

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