What better way to say goodbye to summer than with one last cookout? To get your grill fully burger-ready, you'll need to give it a good scrub — but not with a wire brush. Every year, unsuspecting eaters chomp down on wire bristles that have hitched a ride in chunks of charred meat, earning themselves a one-way ticket to the ER. One such unfortunate woman posted on social media about her near-fatal incident with a wire brush three years ago, sharing a terrifying photo of her grill that was covered in dozens of thin wires. But staying safe doesn't have to mean giving up your grill. Here's how to clean your grill grate sans metal wire brush, aka the all-natural way.
How to Clean Porcelain Grill Grates
For occasional grillers, the benefits of porcelain grill grates are obvious: They don't require as much care as cast-iron grill grates, but they can still handle high heat and don't rust. That said, porcelain grill grates do require a little TLC every now and then. Here's how to clean porcelain grill grates in four easy steps.
- Warm up your grill on low to burn off any leftover food bits.
- Let the grill cool before going in with a nylon scrubbing brush. The soft bristles are stiff enough to really attack any food specks without scraping off the coating.
- Scrub diagonally in long, fluid strokes. This will make it easier to remove food and grease.
- Turn the grill grates over and scrub the underside. Make sure to wear heat-resistant gloves, or wait until the grill grates have cooled before flipping them.
How to Clean Cast-Iron Grill Grates
If you're an avid griller, you'll know all about the pros of having cast-iron grill grates: They provide a durable grilling surface that can withstand very high temperatures, and they ensure that your food cooks evenly. The only issue with cast-iron grill grates is that they're prone to rusting, so be careful not to leave them soaking wet. When it comes to cleaning cast-iron grill grates, follow the same protocol for cleaning porcelain grill grates, but with one added step. Here's how to clean cast-iron grill grates in four easy steps.
- Heat your grill on low to cook off any lingering food.
- Let the grill cool down before wiping diagonally with a nylon scrubbing brush.
- Flip the grill grates and scrub the underside. Wear heat-resistant gloves, or let the grill cool before flipping to protect your hands.
- Rub the grates with vegetable oil to create a protective layer that will prevent rust.
How to Clean a Grill With Vinegar and Aluminum Foil
Vinegar is the holy grail of natural cleaning products. Use vinegar to disinfect laundry, descale a Keurig, or remove scratches from a stainless steel fridge. You can even use it as an alternative to a wire grill brush. The acidity of vinegar will cut through caked-on foods and grease, while the aluminum will exfoliate the grill rack without damaging the metal. Here's how to clean stainless steel grill grates with vinegar and aluminum foil in four easy steps.
- Pour white vinegar into an empty spray bottle. Make sure the container is clean before using it.
- Spray your grill rack with vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Crumple the aluminum foil before rubbing the grill racks with it.
- Throw away the used foil and marvel at your clean grill.
How to Clean a Grill With Vinegar and Baking Soda
If you'd rather let your grill grates soak overnight so all you have to do the next morning is rinse them off, meet baking soda and vinegar — your new best friends. Here's how to clean stainless steel grill grates with vinegar and baking soda in five easy steps.
- Combine two cups of vinegar and one cup of baking soda in a garbage bag.
- Place the grates in the bag and seal it.
- Let the mixture soak overnight.
- Remove the grates and rinse with cool water. Wipe off any remaining food bits from the racks.
- Pat the racks dry and put them back in your grill.
With your grill clean and bristle-free, you can enjoy your hot dogs and burgers knowing one bite won't send you straight to the hospital. Now that's peace of mind.
The Best Grill Brushes to Keep You Safe
Now that you know not to use a wire brush, you may need to replace your tools. Scroll down to see five great alternatives to help keep your grill sparkling all summer long. Happy grilling, everybody!
1. Unicook Nylon BBQ Brush
Love the ease of a brush, but don’t want to risk biting down on one of those wire bristles gone rogue? Then the Unicook grill brush is your perfect alternative to a wire bristle brush. Made with thick and difficult-to-break nylon bristles, this brush not only makes stray bristles easier to spot, it also gives you a better clean thanks to its angled design. Complete with a scraper attachment for added cleaning capability, this brush is the multifunctional cleaning tool you'll need every grilling season.
Where to Buy: $9.99, Amazon
2. KP Solutions Stone Grill Cleaner
If you’re looking for a more natural way to clean your grill, you’ll love these cleaning stones from KP Solutions. Non-toxic and odorless, the pumice stones are made from chemical-free descaling material that will break down the remnants on your grill much like vinegar does. And unlike other stone cleaners, these come with a no-slip grip, making cleaning your grill won’t take a toll on your wrists.
Where to Buy: $14.99, Amazon
3. CharGon Grill Cleaner
For the most thorough clean this grilling season, you'll want to invest in a CharGon. Made with a patented stainless-steel tip and rosewood handle, this scraper gets deep into the contours of grill grates, cleaning the top, bottom, and sides of your grates without having to remove them first. Safe to use on both hot and cold grills, keeping your grill spic and span all summer long has never been easier.
Where to Buy: $19.99, Amazon
4. Velesco Wooden Scraper Paddle
For those worried about the abrasiveness of metal scrapers, go with a wooden one like the Scraper Paddle from Velesco. Where metal scrapers can damage certain grate materials (like ceramic), this oak paddle will keep the integrity of your grill intact, molding itself to the shape of your grill with each use. Coated in a food-grade mineral oil for preservation and made from sustainably harvested red oak, this grill cleaner is one you can (and will) feel good about using for years to come.
Where to Buy: $19.95, Amazon
5. Kona Bristle-Free Barbecue Grill Brush
If you’re someone who prefers the clean of stainless steel to other materials, don’t settle for a brush that can leave bristles behind. Instead, pick up this coiled grill brush from Kona. With no sharp edges or short bristles, you’ll never have to worry about finding dangerous materials on your plate. Safe to use on most grills (including ceramic and porcelain) and guaranteed to last longer than other brushes thanks to its tension-wrapped, stainless-steel construction, this brush also comes with a 10-year warranty, so you can rest assured that it'll be a worthwhile investment.
Where to Buy: $19.95, Amazon
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