The smoky flavor of grilled meats and vegetables is so delicious, but cleaning up the stuck-on mess left at the end of your cooking session can be an ordeal. While bristle brushes have traditionally been the go-to for tackling residue, they can also pose a safety hazard because they can shed over time, leaving bristles stuck on your grates and then potentially in your food. To give you peace of mind when you're cooking out, you'll want to consider one of the best bristle-free grill brushes instead.
Instead of brush heads constructed with nylon, metal, or plastic bristles, these alternatives range from multiple layers of coiled wires, wooden scrapers with moldable ridges, and blocks made out of naturally abrasive pumice stone.
While these can eliminate the risks that come with using bristles, you'll still want to be mindful when using them. Some are more effective at cleaning when your grill surface is still hot, so in that case, brushes with a longer handle will ensure that you are able to remain at a safe enough distance away. Cleaning stones and scrubbing pads that you hold in the palm of your hand are safer to use on a grill that's had adequate time to cool.
To make your grill cleaning experience safer and more manageable, I've compiled the best bristle-free grill brushes below.
1. The Overall Best Bristle-Free Grill Brush
This Kona bristle-free brush is a safe and effective tool for cleaning all types of grills — including porcelain, cast iron, steel, and even ceramic ones (like a Kamado grill or a Big Green Egg). The entire instrument is 18-inches long, which is an ideal length for you to be able to clean and scrub a hot surface from a safe distance. The head is constructed with multiple layers of rigid stainless steel coiled wires, which are designed to scrape in between your grates as you go.
For optimal residue removal, you'll want a heated grill and have a small container of water nearby. Then, once your barbecue is hot, dip the Kona brush into the water and start scraping the grates section by section. The water creates powerful steam which helps break up stuck-on food and grease even faster. With over 1,500 five-star reviews on Amazon, fans report that not only is it safe, it's much more durable than many others in the category. One user noted, "This thing is very [tough] and has remained like new for two years so far."
Fan review: “We had issues with bristles in our food in the past and so I thought I would buy this for my husband to try. I am glad I did. It has been 2 weeks - not a day gone by that he hasn't made a comment about it. He says his Traeger has never been so clean, it is super easy to scrub the grill, he loves this scrubber etc., etc. I am happy he is happy with it.”
2. A Pack Of All-Natural Cleaning Stones
These cleaning blocks are made entirely from pumice stone, which is an odorless, light, and nontoxic material that easily removes tough, stuck-on gunk from grills, barbecue racks, pots, pans, and enameled surfaces. (And yes, in case you're wondering, this is the same kind of stone that works wonders as a skin exfoliator for feet as well.)
There's no handle, so unlike the pick above, you'll want to use it when your grill has already cooled (or put on heat-resistant gloves for protection). It's worth noting that this natural material disintegrates into a powder as you use it, which means that you'll need to consider replacing it more than you would a brush. The good news is, the powder itself is easy to wipe off with a wet rag. Amazon users report that one block is usually enough to thoroughly clean a grill twice.
Fan review: “I absolutely LOVED these Pumice Stone Bricks! I first used it on our stove which has cast iron grates. I was amazed at how well it cleaned the grates, and the short amount of time it took.”
3. The Best Wooden Scraper With A Clever Customizable Feature
This wooden tool has a unique element that gives it an edge over your typical one-size-fits-all bristled brushes— the grooves on the end will actually conform to the shape of your grates after you scrape along them for the very first time. For the best results, apply firm pressure and make sure your grill is on and the temperature is turned to high heat. Following that initial use, your grill doesn't need to be quite as hot to use it effectively to clean, but the more you use it, the more your customized grooves will develop. The sturdy handle will keep your hand at a safe distance, and the scraper can also be turned on its side to get vertically in between the grates.
It's made of scratch-free pine wood that can be used on any kind of grilling surface, whether it's cast iron, ceramic, infrared, etc. It won't rust like some metal tools can, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Fan review: “Works great. The fact that its wood means it won’t scratch my grill and I was able to feel very comfortable applying a lot of pressure. And it’s nice how it is designed to conform to the shape of your grates.”
4. The Best Grill Scrub Pad Set
This grill-cleaning scrub set comes with 10 reusable pads and a sturdy handle to attach them to. Like the cleaning stones, these are meant to be used after your grill has already cooled. Use them exactly in the same way you would when you're scrubbing burnt grease and crumbs off your pots and pans (in fact, this pick is safe for nearly every surface so you can use it in your kitchen, too). To clean those tight spaces around and under the edges of your grates, simply remove the handle and bend the sponge as needed.
Fan review: “Work as described. Cleaned the surface really good and with a minimal amount of pressure on the pads.”
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