You may remember hearing the uproar over the safety of barbecue brushes this summer. If you heard about it, here’s a gentle reminder of what you should do before you put your barbecue away for the season (or as you continue to use it, if you live down south).
The risks that come with barbecues, such as punctured propane tanks or the unsafe use of matches and lighters, are well known. However, it wasn’t until just this year that we realized that the most seemingly harmless of all the barbecuing utensils actually carried a hefty risk of death.
The wire cleaning brushes you use to scrape off the grill when you finish cooking can be a serious health hazard. If the brushes are aged and overused, then the wire bristles can come off and can even stick to the grill. Then, when food is cooked on the grill with the bristles the metal sticks in and can get lodged in your throat.
This may sound far-fetched, but there were several cases this summer of children who had their throats cut open from the inside by these bristles. Luckily, none of the cases were fatal, but it just goes to show what a serious threat this is.
So, before putting your grilling machine away, check the brush and grill. If the brush is dirty or the bristles are bent or old — or if you know you’ve had the brush for more than one season — toss it out. Make sure you wash your grill with water and scrub it with a plastic wool pad. You should do this every time you scrape it with a wire brush, but also make sure this is part of your end-of-season cleaning routine.
Next year, remember to check your brush after every time you use it in order to see if any bristles appear to be damaged or missing. This could save you a lot of pain in the long run, so it’s definitely worth the effort.