Grill brushes can be great tools for cleaning a grill but there’s a lesser known fact that loose metal bristles could inadvertently end up in your food and cause some serious internal health problems. That’s why it’s important to learn how to clean a grill grate without the use of a brush that could loose its bristles. In this article we’ll cover all the best ways to clean grill grates so you can be certain you won’t be serving food that could potentially contain harmful bristles to family and friends. Some of these methods will be more effective than others. Ultimately you’ll need to perfect one or two of these techniques since the main reason a grill brush has been the primary way to clean grill grates is because it is so effective at the job.
Probably the most popular alternative to using a grill brush is aluminum foil. The reason aluminum foil works so well is because it forms itself around the grill slats or rods to better clean between them. Also, when you ball up aluminum foil it creates a lot of jagged little edges that are excellent for scouring away burnt on buildup. For the best results, be sure that the grill is still quite warm. Buildup will come off much more easily if it is hot. Since the grill will be hot when you’re cleaning it you’ll want to hold the aluminum foil with tongs or a good quality grill glove or oven mitt. Once you’re satisfied that the grill is reasonably clean you’ll want to spray it with an oil or non stick cooking spray. Alternatively you can apply some oil to a paper towel and rub it over the grill slats. You should do this whether you’re a diligent griller who is doing this after cooking, or a lazy griller like myself that is doing this before grilling. The oil will help prevent future buildup on the grill grate.
A nylon grill brush is a safe alternative to a metal grill brush but you’ll need to make sure that your grill is cool before trying to use it. This is a little less than ideal since it’s easier to clean off burnt on buildup when it’s hot. One way of helping make the task of cleaning your grill with a nylon brush easier is to blast it with high heat for a period of time after cooking to burn off and break down a lot of the built up gunk. When you come back to your grill with your nylon brush when it’s cooled down, the buildup should come off much easier. You’ll want to apply a good coating of oil or non stick spray to the grill grate when you’re done.
This method should be used in combination with another method as it isn’t effective enough on it’s own. Cut an onion in half and rub it across the grill while it is hot. The onion should help break down the buildup on the grates. Remember to let it cool down before you try to use a nylon brush.
While your grill is hot, spray some vinegar on the grill grate with a spray bottle. Like an onion, vinegar should be used with something abrasive after applying to the grill grate. The vinegar is a mild acid and should help break down the buildup with the help of the heat. Use a brush or aluminum foil afterward to remove the buildup more easily.
Combine 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water to make a paste like liquid. Remove your grill grates from your grill and scrub them thoroughly with a rag or sponge and the baking soda and water solution. This will do a great job of breaking down the burnt on buildup and make it fairly easy to wipe away. Once you’re done, rinse the grill grate thoroughly to remove any of the left over baking soda and water solution. Return your grate back to the grill and enjoy your clean grill.
A grill brick is a good alternative to a metal grill brush. It is a soft and abrasive block that will wear down and allow you to get in-between the grill grate slats or rods. You’ll want to use an additional method for best results. Something like an onion, vinegar, or baking soda to help break down the buildup.
Grill cleaner can typically be sprayed directly onto your grill grates while still in your grill. Once sprayed on you’ll need to let it sit for a period of time so that it can begin to break down the buildup. After it has had time to work you’ll need to use aluminum foil, a grill brush or a grill brick to scrub off the buildup which should now come off very easily. Be sure and follow the instructions that come with the grill cleaner that you purchase as they may be different or have unique steps for best results and your safety.
There are many new designs of metal grill brushes that don’t have metal individual bristles than can. come loose and potentially end up in your food. These brushes are a great alternative to metal bristle brushes and will work as well as aluminum foil and better than a nylon brush. The designs vary but typically they use a tightly wound metal spring to allow the metal wire to get down in-between the grill grate slats so you can scrub those areas vigorously.
While a metal grill brush isn’t required to get your grill clean, if you really prefer your old metal bristle brush but understand you shouldn’t use it anymore, this is probably the best alternative you have.
The days of the metal bristle grill brush are numbered and for good reason. You and your loved ones need to be protected from swallowing those dangerous metal bristles. While the risk is somewhat small, it is by no means nonexistent and even the most vigilant of grill masters can miss a rogue brush bristle hiding in a small corner of the grill somewhere. There’s no need to run the risk when there are so many effective alternatives out to for cleaning grill grates without a brush. Good luck and happy grilling.
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