Cleaning your barbecue: Safer alternatives to wire-bristle brushes
Sandra Hermiston and Ross McLaughlin , CTV Vancouver
Published Friday, July 28, 2017 6:00AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, July 28, 2017 6:55PM PDT
After several reports of injuries and safety warnings, Health Canada has announced it will investigate the safety of wire-bristle brushes used to clean barbecues. But if you don’t want to wait for the results of that risk assessment, there are some alternatives on the market to help clean your grill.
Robert Russo knows just how painful it is to swallow a wire BBQ brush bristle.
“It felt like somebody shot me in the gut,” said Russo, “I’ve never experienced pain like that, I digested the wire, and it got to my lower intestine and pierced it.”
Two years ago, Kim Schellenberg also ate a wire bristle attached to her burger.
“The pain was enough to drop me to my knees,” she said.
For years, doctors have warned about the risks of using these metal wire brushes. Now Health Canada is investigating their safety and whether they should be sold. It's a move that may have you re-thinking your grilling routine and looking into other options.
From wooden paddles to stainless steel scrubbers to high temperature silicone brushes, Kerrisdale Lumber sells a lot BBQ gear.
"We've been definitely selling a lot of non-bristle brushes lately," said Lyle Perry, VP of operations.
But you don't necessarily have to get rid of your bristle brush either. Perry suggests just staying away from discount store products.
"I would definitely choose a reputable brand like Napolean or Weber if you're going to go with a bristle brush," he explained.
And replace your brush every couple of years or once you notice your brush is looking worn.
Another option is self-cleaning your barbeque using tinfoil. You can do that by covering your grill with foil, shiny side down. Turn your barbeque on high for 20-30 minutes to cook off any debris. You then turn off your grill, let it cool, and brush away any ash with a dry rag.
But Consumer Reports says using this method to clean can cause flare ups and manufacturers don’t necessarily recommend it, so be extra cautious.
Health Canada’s risk assessment is expected to wrap up in August.