How To Clean Your Grill Without A Grill Brush

Grillers beware: While the coming summer season may conjure up thoughts of warm nights, crisp cold beers, and gatherings around the barbecue, there are potential dangers that you may want to take into consideration before firing up the grill.

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In May of 2012, a New Jersey man checked into a hospital to learn that the pain he suffered from what he thought was appendicitis was actually the result of a 1½-inch-long metallic bristle piercing his large intestine. The life-threatening object is believed to have come from the family's grill brush — it is likely that it came loose when the grill was being cleaned and later became made its way into the man's steak dinner. Several other cases have also been reported.

Though instances of this particular medical emergency are relatively rare (and they may not throw everyone up in arms over grill brushes), they are still serious. Loose bristles from a grill brush cause severe abdominal pain when ingested, can perforate the intestines, and may require surgery to remove.

If you're cleaning your grill with a bristled brush, make sure you always inspect the grill grates carefully before cooking on them. Or try one of these brush-free methods for cleaning your grill:

Acidic Approachall-natural cleanAluminum Foilaluminum foil

For an , try using an acidic ingredient like coffee or onions on your grill grates. You can either soak your grill grates in coffee for about an hour before giving them a scrub and a rinse or you can rub the hot grill grates with a halved onion, cut-side down, to help loosen debris and grease before cleaning.

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Balling up is another easy way to clean your grill grates, brush-free. Use a pair of long-handled tongs to grip the ball of foil and then scrub away at the hot grill until the messy aftermath of your cooking is gone. You can even use the same aluminum foil that you used to do the cooking: it's a great way to repurpose foil before tossing it.