Alert: Don’t let a wire grill bristle injure your family

Blob courtesy of West Bend Insurance

Is it just me, or is it hard to believe Labor Day is almost here? For many, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. Many families celebrate with parties, picnics, or trips to their favorite campground or getaway destination one last time. While I cook on my grill all year round, it’s holiday cooking that I enjoy most.

Whatever your grill preference may be (gas, charcoal, or smoker) cleaning your grill grates is important. By cleaning your grates before or after each use, you’ll reduce rust buildup and guarantee better tasting food.

Before putting food on my gas grill, I usually preheat it for about 10 minutes and then scrape off the residual food with a wire brush. What I didn’t know, until recently, is that using a wire brush can be dangerous.

Depending on how old your stainless steel/brass wire brush is, or how vigorously you use it, the metal bristles can fall off and stick to your grill grate. If these tiny bristles are cooked into your food and ingested, severe injuries can occur to your digestive system. They can cause punctures to your esophagus, intestines, or stomach. These punctures can lead to severe pain or even death. Unfortunately, one mom learned about these dangers the hard way. Jenna Kuchik’s son Ollie was rushed to the hospital after a metal bristle was lodged in his throat. Thankfully, today he is doing fine.

If you use a wire brush to clean your grill, here are some safety tips.

1. Inspect your brush before each use. Look for loose bristles. If you notice that they are sticking to your grill, throw it away.

2. Use the blade only. If your wire brush includes a metal blade attached to it, use that for cleaning depending on your type of grate. Some grates such as porcelain should not be scraped with a metal or wire brush.

3. Look for a safe alternative. Many alternative things can be used to clean your grates. Such alternatives include:

  • Aluminum foil;
  • Newspaper;
  • Nylon brush;
  • An onion; and
  • Cleaning spray.

4. Examine your grill after cleaning. If you continue to use a wire brush, carefully examine your grill grates before putting on your food.

It’s recommended that at least once per year, you give your grates a thorough cleaning by soaking them in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda.

For additional grilling safety tips, check out the link below.

Grilling tips to keep you and your family safe

Wishing you a safe and enjoyable Labor Day!

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.


How to Clean Grill Grates

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