This Is the Quickest (and Easiest) Way to Clean a Super-Gunky Grill Brush

published Mar 31, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Smiling woman grilling chicken on barbecue
Credit: Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

I’m pretty religious about scrubbing my grill grates before and after cooking. The last thing I want is last week’s (or, worse, last month’s) food sticking to tonight’s dinner. The funny thing is, I never really gave much thought to cleaning the grill brush. But after a particularly sticky cleanup job recently, I realized that leaving the old goo on the brush is no better than leaving it on the grates. Gross! 

Credit: Danielle Centoni

Luckily, de-gunking my grill brushes couldn’t be easier, and when they’re clean I can do a better job inspecting them to see if they need to be replaced. To clean them, I take a two-pronged approach. First, I keep a relatively unused grill brush handy for brushing against the used one. After scrubbing the grates, I brush the new one against the used one to dislodge any bits of food or char. This could also work with a crumpled-up ball of aluminum foil, a nylon brush, or even a clean toothbrush.

If there’s a lot of gooey sauce or sticky fats, or a few grill sessions’ worth of crud has built up, I fill up a tub with hot water, add a generous squirt of Dawn dish soap, and pop the used brush in the hot, soapy water head-first. I let it soak for a few minutes — you can see the grease melting right off! 

Credit: Danielle Centoni

Then I use the clean brush to scrub it well before rinsing it in hot water. Some grill pros also swear by boiling their brushes for 15 minutes or so before soaking them in soapy water.

Credit: Danielle Centoni

It’s amazing how much grease and grime comes off with very little effort! And I feel a lot better using an actually clean brush to scrub my grates before cooking. My food tastes better, and I’m not worried about what nasty chunks of old food and grease my family is ingesting.