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How to Use a Bristle-Free Grill Brush Correctly

Are you looking for a new grill brush as a cleaning solution?

Are you thinking about purchasing a bristle-free grill brush?

Knowing how to use a tool correctly makes for less frustration and better results.

Our inspiration for this How-To Guide is based on a discovery we made while writing our 10 Best Bristle-Free Brushes recommendations.

We found a shared frustration in the reviews written by consumers who purchased the bristle-free brushes we evaluated: poor cleaning results.

Turns out, with a little grill preparation, a few common kitchen accessories, some clean water, and patience, and the bristle-free grill brush takes the frustration out and replaces it with impressive results.

So, we put ourselves to the task to fully understand the finer points of how to get the most value and ultimate cleaning power when using a bristle-free grill brush to clean the grill.

In this How-To Guide, we’re going to share all that we learned, and show you the best uses for a bristle-free grill brush for frustration-free, maximal cleaning results, every time.

A Straightforward How-To Guide for Getting the Most out of Your Bristle Free Grill Brush.

In This Article, We’ll Explore:

Click a topic below to be taken directly to that section.

Why You Need to Clean Your Grills Grates

Grilling is more than a summer pastime. Grilling is a lifestyle. Four million people use their grill more than three times a week. You can bet that all those grills aren’t squeaky clean, so every grilling experience is the tastiest.

Whether your grill’s grates are cast iron, porcelain, or stainless steel, they have one thing in common: post-grilling, baked-on food, and grease. What gets left behind can damage the grill grates.

Charred food deposits capture moisture and create rust. Dirty grill grates accumulate toxins that transfer to food, which isn’t healthy.

Cleaning the gunk and grease from the grill grates is imperative. Consider adding a bristle-free grill brush to your grill accessories arsenal.

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Technology & Product Design

The bristle-free grill brush introduces grill enthusiasts to a unique design—a brush technology made using stainless steel metal rings, twisted into rows of interlocking spirals. This helix design forms the brush head.

The brush head is attached to a solid stainless steel twisted wire frame for added stability.

To finish off the design, an ergonomic handle between 15”-18” allows for complete grill grate cleaning, so your hands don’t get near the heat.

A notched metal scraper lets you flip the brush over and get in between the hard to reach places where the grill grates meet.

All of this adds up to a safer option than a traditional bristled grill brush.

Pro Tip: Moving in a single direction will minimize the risk of damage to grates that have a protective coating.

The Importance of Steam-Cleaning

One crucial factor rises above all the rest when using a bristle-free grill brush to clean the grill effectively: STEAM.

Bristle-free grill brush manufacturers provide easy-to-follow steam-cleaning instructions, and we highly recommend following them to preserve the life of your bristle-free grill brush and most importantly, to get the most out of its cleaning ability.

Using the heat source from your grill in combination with water and steam as a natural cleaning agent lets the bristle-free grill brush work some magic.

  • Steam provides chemical-free cleaning.
  • Steam penetrates stuck-on food particles to release them from the grill grates.
  • Steam is a disinfectant; it kills up to 99.9% of germs and bacteria.
  • Steam is rapidly microbial and sanitizes within 3-10 minutes.

HOT SAFETY TIP: Steam is as hot as boiling water. Use caution.

Next up, we’ll show you how to prep the grill using steam before cleaning the grates.

Prepping the Grill

Prepping the grill grates requires a deep Pyrex dish filled with clean water, your bristle-free grill brush, and you!

Whether you choose to clean the grill immediately after the food comes off the grates or wait until after mealtime, you’ll need an adequately heated grill for a good steam cleaning with a bristle-free brush.

Next, we’ll explain how to clean the grill grates when the grill is hot to get the best results with your bristle-free grill brush.

How To Use A Bristle Free Grill Brush

Cleaning the Grill Grates

Take a look at the construction of your grill’s grates.

Most grills have smaller grates sectioned off by larger grates running in the opposite direction. These small sections are where you focus your attention when cleaning the grill.

If you think pushing down with the bristle-free brush and forcing the bristles against the grates with intense amounts of elbow-grease, to get the grill, it’s cleanest, is standard practice, think again.

Too much pressure can damage the brush’s interlocking helix rings and your grates.

HOT CLEANING TIP: NEVER clean cold grill grates with a bristle-free grill brush.

Check out the below video for a demonstration of the proper technique, then read on for a step by step written guide.

1. Close the lid on the barbecue and turn the temperature to 450°-500° F. If you have a charcoal grill, we recommend cleaning the grates while the coals are still hot.

2. Set the Pyrex and bristle-free grill brush to the side of the grill, easily accessible.

3. When the grill reaches temperature:

4. Grip the end of the handle of the bristle-free brush. NEVER hold the base of the brush, near the helix rings when cleaning the grates.

5. Heatwaves releasing up through the grates are invisible and can cause extreme burns. When in doubt, please use heat resistant grilling gloves.

6. Dip the bristle-free brush into the Pyrex dish full of water. Exercise patience as you clean the grill.

7. Place the bristle-free brush head flush to the grill grates. Working “with the grain,” scrub vertically or horizontally, in sections.

8. Dip and scrub until the stuck-on gunk and food bits are removed.

9. Use the notched scraper to clean out the gunk in between and where the grill grates intersect.

Pro Tip: Tilt the handle towards you at a 45° angle and use a single row of helix rings to remove extra tough stuck-on food.

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This two-step cleaning process keeps the bristle-free brush from getting caught on the larger cross-sections.

Long back-and-forth motions can cause the brush to snag against the cross-sections, and pull the helix rings out of shape, bending or breaking the metal in the brush head.

Find a pressure point as you scrub that is firm enough to remove the stuck-on particles and gunk. If you feel resistance, and start fighting with the brush, you’re applying too much pressure.

As you continue to clean, dip the bristle-free grill brush in the Pyrex dish with water repeatedly to create more steam when the metal helix bristles touch the grate’s hot surface.

Remember, with some patience, cleaning in sections, and using the notched scraper for the hard to reach spaces, will leave you satisfied, and the grill perfectly clean for your next barbecue.

Pro Tip: Always scrub back-and-forth in small sections.

How To Use A Bristle Free Grill Brush - The Grilling Life1

Deep Cleaning Your Grill Grates

Occasionally, you may notice extra-tough stuck-on food on the grill grates; or you might want to give the grill a good deep cleaning, once a month, or at the end of your grilling season.

Here are some steps to take to prepare your grill using a metal pan full of water, to create an internal “steam bath” inside the grill. The steam will help loosen the particles on the grates before you start scrubbing.

Never use or set a glass vessel directly on the grill grates as it could shatter.

This deep cleaning technique is very effective and will definitely help preserve the bristle-free brush head.

1. Close the lid on the barbecue and turn the temperature to 450°-500° F.

2. If you have a charcoal grill, place the pan of water on the grates immediately after the food comes off.

3. When the grill reaches temperature, place the stainless-steel pan filled with water in the grill and close the lid to let the heat and water create steam.

4. After 15-20 minutes, stand to the side of the barbeque and open the lid with caution. Remove the stainless-steel pan.

5. Dip the bristle-free brush in the clean water in the Pyrex dish. Scrub a test section. If the stuck-on food is stubborn, close the lid and steam for an additional 15 minutes.

6. After the second steam, open the lid carefully.

7. Scrub away using the bristle-free brush, the Pyrex dish, and water!

HOT SAFETY TIP: Remember, steam is as hot as boiling water. Use caution.

For other tips on the best ways to clean and care for your grill grates, check out my article How To Clean Grill Grates – The Ultimate Guide On Grill Grate Cleaning And Care

Tips to Extend the Life of Your Bristle-Free Grill Brush

Clean the bristle-free brush head using a grease-fighting dishwashing liquid.

Refill the Pyrex dish with clean water and two drops of dishwashing liquid. Agitate the brush head back and forth in the water to create bubbles to release stuck-on food and grease. Rinse the brush head thoroughly.

Air-dry the bristle-free brush by placing it on a clean, soft towel or hang it to dry.

Treat Yourself to the Very Best Grilling Experiences

Priming the grill for a perfect barbecue experience means more than just pushing the ignite button or lighting a match to start the flame.

Respect your grill grates to keep the rust and corrosives away. A clean grill brings out all those fantastic flavors of your grilled meats and vegetables.

Much like seasoning a cast-iron skillet, a grill needs a gentle but thorough cleaning. Pre-steaming the grill for 15 minutes loosens stuck-on food and prepares the grates for cleaning.

Only clean the hot grill grates with a stainless-steel bristle-free grill brush.

NOTE TO GRILLERS: Some bristle-free brushes are nylon. These brushes can only clean a cold grill. Check the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations before using a nylon brush on your grill.

Never apply too much pressure when scrubbing the grill grates.

Clean the bristle-free brush with a drop of grease-fighting soap and clean water, and thoroughly towel- or air-dry your bristle-free grill brush to preserve the brush head.

Final Thoughts on Our How to Use a Bristle-Free Grill Brush Correctly Guide

We’ve shown you the steps for prepping your grill and educated you about the construction and uses, and essential cleaning and care techniques to keep your bristle-free grill brush at its peak.

Take good care of your bristle-free grill brush, and it will take good care of your grill.

Thanks for reading our Bristle-Free Grill Brush How-To Guide.

Now you may want to check out my 10 Best Bristle-Free Grill Brushes recommendations by clicking here: 10 Best Bristle-Free Grill Brushes

Happy grilling!

Now It’s Your Turn

I want to hear from you:

Which methods to clean your grill grates have you used before?

Do you have any grill or grate cleaning tips to share?

Are you going to be purchasing a smoker in the future?  Or do you plan on looking at a pellet grill, built-in or standalone gas grill, or charcoal model?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

If you still have questions, please feel free to send me a message.




At The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs.  If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission.  This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue.  Your support is truly appreciated.

Patrick Ginise

A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!

I have a passion for cooking with live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I’m a real person just like you, who loves outdoor cooking and BBQ. Food, fun, and time spent with family and friends are what it’s all about! It is my mission to take my passion and knowledge for outdoor cooking and all things BBQ and share this expertise in techniques and grilling equipment with you. In other words, Living The Grilling Life!

I have personally tested over 150+ Grills and Smokers and hundreds of grilling thermometers, temperature controllers, grill brushes, grilling tools, fire starters, and other BBQ products.