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Meet my friend Dottie. She’s the one on the right in the photo above. We took this photo after a training run a couple of years back.

More recently, Dottie has a crazy story about something that happened to her that I wanted to share with you guys.

This is scary and something I had never heard of or even knew as something that could happen.

Dottie was at a barbecue at her parents house over Father’s Day last year. She was eating a hamburger and said she right away knew she had swallowed something she shouldn’t have. She felt a piercing pain in her throat with the one swallow.

She ended up at Urgent Care that night and had an x-ray, only to be told that there was nothing there and to go home.

Two days later and still in pain, she got a call from Urgent Care. The radiologist had taken a closer look at her x-ray and whoa – there was a wire bristle from a grill brush lodged in her throat. (OMG! Can you imagine.)

She spent the ENTIRE summer (!) seeing doctors, having testing and endoscopic procedures done, you guys. You would THINK this would be an easy fix – go in, remove the bristle, right?

But Dottie explained, it’s a little like finding a stray piece of hair in a big lump of playdoh. The playdoh’s soft and moving and as you push at it and try and remove the hair, the hair moves around & it’s hard to find. (Especially somewhere on the inside of your throat where a doctor can’t exactly see all that well.) Not so simple after all.

By August she had seen many doctors and ended up having another procedure done with a doctor at the University of Pennsylvania. By then, the bristle had broken into 2 pieces and she was also no longer in pain.

Since August and that last procedure, Dottie says she’s “fine.” But they STILL DON’T KNOW IF THEY GOT THE BRISTLE OUT! She’s had so many x-rays that they want to wait before exposing her to any more radiation. Also, it’s so thin and hard to see on an x-ray so they are giving it some time. It’s possible that it’s still there.

Google “wire brush/grill dangers” or any combination of words related and you guys will be amazed at the amount of stories similar to Dottie’s. These wire bristles are dangerous and NOT WORTH IT.

And check this out. Up until yesterday, this was the brush my husband used to clean OUR grill! It’s now in the trash.

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If you have anything that remotely resembles the above, by the love of God, please go put it in your trash can now and get something new. It is NOT worth the risk.

Dottie hopes that her story reaches others who will throw their wire grill brushes out and hopefully spare other people from dealing with what she has been dealing with.

I ended up ordering this product from Amazon: the Woody Paddle. Dottie posted it on Facebook as a good alternate option.

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By the way, if you live in Philly, a little plug for Dottie – she’s an awesome photographer in Chester County if you are looking for someone!


  1. That is scary! I hope Dottie is okay.

    Thanks for sharing – I’ll definitely check out that wooden brush.

  2. That is so scary. I had NO idea. We grill all the time. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Would never have thought it a concern. So good to know. Thanks for the warning!

  4. Whoa this is crazy scary! Thanks for sharing we grill all the time too. That brush is going in the trash pronto!

  5. Oh my gosh!!!

    That is so awful. I’ve never thought of that before. I think so many people probably clean their grills with brushes like that.

  6. Tell Dottie the next time she has an x-ray (radiograph) to find a facility that uses the PerkinElmer XPad 4343 F digital detector. It’s new and has 100 micrometer resolution. It may be able to detect the wire bristle. Also, I’m tossing my wire grill brush!

  7. jayme Irving says

    I had it happen but I found it. Edits it was swallowed

  8. Thanks for the article. I’ve never had a problem with my grill brush but maybe I’ve just been lucky? I’ll be giving the wood paddle a try. I hope you don’t mind a little bit of constructive feedback on your site but the light gray text on white background makes it very difficult to read. I know that this is the current fad in web design but the lack of contrast can cause a big problem, especially for older readers. Maybe try #7A7572 instead?

    • Dee – I don’t mind it at all, I appreciate it! I’m in the process of a redesign so hopefully that will help. Thanks so much for the comment.

  9. This never even occurred to me! I will be using rolled up aluminum foil from now on.

  10. Ugh!

    Im going on a week of trying to get the same problem diagnosed. Its a very thin wire bristle so Im worried it will be similarly difficult to get out!

    • Good luck Whitney – I hope they find an easy solution for you!!!

    • Good luck Whitney. I had three procedures to try to have it removed. The Dr used floro (basically X-ray during the second and third one to see it during the procedure). Maybe suggest that if you have any procedures done. Also they did a swallow test to see how it moved prior to the procedures. Mine ended up breaking into two smaller pieces and moved to a spot where it doesn’t bother me and bc it’s been a few years they don’t worry about it for infection or anything. Hope you have a successful procedure to have it removed or at least it stops bothering you!


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