5 On Your Side

Check grill brush before grilling season begins

Posted May 20, 2015
Updated May 21, 2015

A word of warning before you fire up the grill for Memorial Day weekend: Beware the shedding grill brush.

Metal bristles from worn brushes can stick to the grill surface, lodge in food and be swallowed, causing major damage.

Rodney Wright got a bristle stuck in his tongue last summer.

"I felt it. It just wedged. I knew something was wrong," Wright said.

"It doesn't look that big, but I'll tell you what, when it's in your throat, it feels like a truck."

Wright was lucky in a way. Some people don't realize they've swallowed one until its in their digestive system. Removal means emergency surgery.

To avoid ending your cookout in the ER:

  • Replace brushes before the bristles start to fall out.
  • After cleaning your grill with a brush, wipe it with a wad of balled up aluminum foil or a wet towel to remove bristles left behind.
  • An alternative is to wipe the grate with the cut side of an onion. Sulfuric acid from the onion creates a layer on the grill that helps keep bacteria from growing.

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