Are BBQ Grill Brushes Dangerous?


Are wire grill brushes dangerous? The
grill top experience decided to investigate. My video, how to clean a gas
grill, has gotten a lot of views and comments lately and there are two main
things that people say. The first one is that grill brushes are super dangerous
and I shouldn’t be using them and the second one is you shouldn’t be cleaning
your gas grill at all. So just how dangerous are these grill brushes? A 2016
study reviewed 12 years of emergency room data in the United States and they
found that on average each year a hundred and thirty people go to the
emergency room because of injuries caused by these brushes. In the United
States 80 million people will grill at least once during the year. If we
make an assumption that 30% of those ate off a grill that was cleaned with
wire brush that brings the odds of being injured to one in 185 thousand people. To
put that in perspective let’s look at some of the other common summertime
injuries around the home. The National Fire Protection Association says that
every year in the United States grill fires caused a hundred and sixty
injuries and ten deaths.That also doesn’t include the 4500
structure fires causing over $120 million dollars in damages.
You’ll notice that in my videos I always keep my girls clean and I keep them far
away from anything that’s combustible. I hope that each of you do the same.
Every year 6400 people will end up in the emergency room
because of injuries caused by lawn mowers. The biggest injuries are cuts,
fractures, and amputations. I found several sources that estimated that
trampolines caused 100,000 injuries per year and that’s one big
reason why a lot of insurance companies will have exceptions on your homeowners
policy for injuries caused by trampolines. In 2018, Canada looked at
developing standards for wire brushes and even considered banning them all
together but here it is a year later and I wasn’t able to find anything about any
of those policies being implemented. Does that mean that you shouldn’t use
grill brushes altogether? Well maybe and maybe not. When you compare it with a
relative risk of other summertime activities the risk of eating a grill
brush bristle is quite a bit lower. I’m going to show you a couple of ways that
you can reduce your risk or if you don’t want to use a wire grill brush how to
eliminate it altogether by using some alternatives. I decided to do an
experiment where I cut off five bristles and I hid them on the grill grates.
Can you see where they are? Let me bring it in just a little bit closer.
They’re hard to find even when you get up close and that is a big reason why
they’re so dangerous. Whenever I grill I always wipe it down with an oil paper
towel and I thought it would clean out the bristles, but I found 2 out of the 5
when I was done. Wiping off the grill isn’t enough!
Another good test is the same one that I used with pineapples. If a leaf pulls out
easily it’s old and you don’t want that one so try the same thing with your
grill brush and some pliers try to pull out some of the bristles in a few
different places and throw it away if you can pull any of them out. I tried the
same test with a cheap $1 grill brush. That has plastic heads and looks
like a hair transplant gone wrong, yet I see them used all the time. The bristles
pulled out easier than any hair on my own head. Never use a cheap grill brush
because it wouldn’t take much to get one of these bristles on your grill and it’s
not worth the risk! My favorite wire grill brush has the
bristles wound into a thick metal wire that won’t melt at grilling temperatures.
It’s more likely to hold on tight and I put a link to one in the description
below so you can check it out. If grill brushes aren’t worth the risk for
you here are a few alternatives. This brush is heavy duty and has coiled wire
instead of bristles and we got the best reviews on Amazon. It had more people
saying that a clean as good as their old bristle brush I tested it out on flat
cast iron bars as well as thin grates and some caked on grease. It cleaned
pretty well but it couldn’t get into the tight corners and creases like my other
brush, and that’s one reason why wire brushes are used so much. They work and
get into the corners. Pumice stones are another great alternative. One drawback
though is that you need to wear heat-resistant gloves when you use them
but they get your grill clean and I mean really clean, better than a wire brush
clean! You’ll need a different stone if your grills have different grates
because they wear the grooves and that’s another one of the drawbacks. They also
leave a ton of powder in your grill that you have to clean up when you’re done.
I use them for a good deep clean to get with a wire brush left behind. Balled
up aluminum foil is another popular choice and you almost always will have
some around. Half an onion a hot grate is another one that
people love. So what am I going to do different? Those grill bristles are
really hard to find and so I’m going to throw away my grill brush every single
year and replace it with a brand new one. If I’m out on vacation I’m going to
use aluminum foil or an onion long before I use one of these cheap grill
brushes.

21 Comments

  1. Great video Grill top experience

  2. Awesome video. Thanks for sharing

  3. Very informative, thank you. That had not even occurred to me as a potential hazard of grilling.

  4. Good video. I have had a few comments about using brushes as well. I will send them to this video next time 🙂

  5. Great info!! I use the Weber brush, but now I'm going to be a lot more diligent checking it before I use it.
    I'm going to make a video on how I made a grill grate soaking tub out of a hot water tank overflow. I'll shoot you the link when I make it.

  6. I no longer use wire brushes. I use one of those wooden scrapers. Years ago I cleaned my grate with the wire brush and thankfully checked the grate before putting on the food. There were lose wire bristles on it. Could’ve been very bad. Never again.

  7. A clean grill is a Happy Grill! Nicely done!

  8. I. Just use foil crumpled.

  9. Great info bro. I have one of good ones you used. But I'm thinking of going with the onion deal now !
    Thank you.

  10. Very good information Nd in-depth research. I think it is the dollar store grill brushes that are the culprit.
    I also believe that the reports of how dangerous they are are great exaggerated. I don’t have a gas grill I usually scrub my grates while they are off of the grill, then rinse them off with s garden hose before placing them back on the grill. Therefore even if a bristle was to come loose and stick to the grate, the rinsing process removes it before grilling.
    This video, like all your videos, is “top” notch.

  11. I think you are overstating the statistical risk from bristle bbq brushes. Can you show me your math on your calculations? I think you assumed 80mm ppl grilled per year… but did you account for multiple cookouts per year by those 80mm people?

  12. Excellent information and very well presented.

  13. Great info bro. I use the coil brushes and a wood scraper.
    Woody Nub Grill Scraper – Wood BBQ Cleaner Grilling Accessory https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077V76FQP/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_or9fDbP7KQ2BA

  14. Nicely done video! I have completely gone away from the bristle brushes to clean my grates a few years back. I use what I call my charcoal canoe paddle ( wooden scraper ) or the coiled brushes only. I use a bristle brush to clean the inside of the pit only. I felt that it was a simple fix to just use a different style then to add another statistic to the list of possible dangers. I talk about this in a few of my videos also and glad you are bringing this up to your viewers!! I roll the dice enough in just normal every day activities so it was easy to just toss the bristle brushes in the trash. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Good Video I am using a wooden grill cleaner Do you think these are okay?

  16. You can still get splinters from the wooden grate cleaners.

  17. Very important information 👍 Thanks Ryan

  18. That was so cool the way he threw the cheap grill brush behind him, wow, baller status!

  19. Statistics and odds are great to have but you have to think about the trade off. Even if the odds are one in a billion, would you like to be the one?

  20. Thanks for the tip.

  21. Thank you for your time. I love your use of statistics to prove your points. I work in the ER as a DNP and thus have seen people who burned themselves with their grills. I never understood how people could burn themselves on a grill. That until My grill actually caught on fire because I didn’t clean it and that’s what led me to your videos. I almost burned my house. It was a big scary thing. I wish I would have watched your videos sooner. Thank you again

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