There have been many concerns lately about safe ways to clean grill grates. After many reports of people being injured after using the standard wire bristle grill brushes to clean their grills, it's probably a good idea to toss your old metal bristle brushes and try a safer alternative. The wire bristles in the standard grill brushes can break off and stick to your grill grates, then end up in your food without your knowledge. There have been several cases of intestinal damage and more caused by the metal bristles being ingested, as reported by this article from CBS News.
The good news is that there are several safe alternatives for cleaning grill grates. We tested four ways to safely clean grill grates so that we could see which ones worked the best. Let's check them out!
Before You Begin
It's best to heat your grill before you begin cleaning your grill grate. Heat will help burn off some of the debris left from your previous cook and will also help loosen any burned on foods.
Be sure the flames are distinguished before cleaning. Your grill grates should be hot, but an open flame could cause burns to your skin.
Method 1 - Metal Helix Grill Brush
The metal helix grill brush did a wonderful job cleaning the grates. The metal coils seemed to wrap around the grates, getting in between them and removing any burned on food. It was easy to handle and glided over the grates quickly and easily.
Method 2 - Wood Grill Brush
The wood grill brush showed so much promise, but came up short in the cleaning department. The wood is supposed to form grooves when moved back and forth over the grill grates, but after a long time moving it back and forth over the hot grates, no grooves formed during this trial.
The wood grill brush did remove food from the top of the grill grates, but didn't clean in between them.
Method 3 - Nylon Bristle Grill Brush
The nylon bristle grill brush was easy to use and removed some of the burned on food from the grill grates, but also left quite a bit behind. It took quite a bit of effort to clean in between the grates using this brush. All in all, it just didn't seem to have the same cleaning power that the metal brush did. If your grill grates are minimally dirty, this brush may work fine.
Method 4 - Stone Grill Cleaner
The stone grill cleaner worked really well! The stone formed around the grill grates and removed any burned on food and debris from the top of the grill grate and in between the grates. It was really easy to use and move to different areas for cleaning. The only downside to stone grill cleaner that I noticed is that it left a bit of dust on the grill grates. It cleaned the grates better than any of the other brushes, so a quick wipe down using a basting brush could easily remove any of the dust left behind.
The stone part of the stone grill cleaner does wear down quickly, so you would need to replace the stone after a few cleanings. The good thing is that the replacements are inexpensive and easy to swap out. The downside may be that the stone never gets all the way used, so there is a little waste involved.
After testing these four grill grate cleaning methods, I thought that the metal helix grill brush and stone grill cleaner worked the best. For normal grate cleaning in between uses, I would use the metal helix grill brush and most likely keep a stone grill cleaner on hand for cleaning really burned on foods and for when I wanted to deep clean my grill's grates.