This article is part of our Cocktail Chatter series, where we dive into the wild, weird, and wondrous corners of history to share over a cocktail and impress your friends.

There are countless publications and social media posts that tout onions as a safe, all-natural way to clean a grill. The steps generally go as follows: Turn your grill up to a ripping hot temperature. Cut an onion in half. Skewer the rounded side with a grill fork, and rub the onion back and forth along the grates cut side down to remove any gunk and buildup. The thinking is that the onion’s juices will break down debris, leaving your grill spick and span, all while imparting oniony flavors on whatever you’re about to grill up next. It sounds simple, and way easier than working up a sweat with a grill brush. But does this supposed hack actually work?

Some swear by it, and to their credit, onions do contain antimicrobial compounds that can kill bacteria. But the reality is, heat can do the same thing and there are more effective, tried-and-true ways to get the job done.

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Here, we’re breaking down two ways to clean a grill that’ll put the onion method on the back burner.

The Grill Brush

There’s a good reason handy-dandy grill brushes are in any grill master’s arsenal. But before you go to town on the grates, we suggest making sure your grill is as piping hot as possible. Most bacteria will die after they’ve been exposed to temperatures exceeding 150 degrees Fahrenheit, but you’ll want to let your grill get much hotter than that to carbonize any solids clinging to the grates.

Once all debris is adequately roasted, whip out the grill brush and go to town. Now, grill brush bristles — especially older ones — tend to fall off into the grill. And no one wants to find one of those sticking to their chicken wings. To prevent that, we recommend wrapping up a cloth, soaking it in oil, and rubbing it along the grates while the grill is still hot after you finish brushing. Not only will this help to remove any loose bristles lurking in the nooks and crannies of the grates, but it’ll also ensure that the grates are properly seasoned before your next round of grilling. Plus, this step will leave the inside of the grill looking nice and shiny.

If you’re still wary of rogue bristles, try soaking the grates in water with a bit of dish soap and then rinsing them off. Admittedly, doing so will take a bit of time, and it probably isn’t the best thing to do mid-grill, but it’s a surefire way to clean off any bristles that may be stuck to the grates. Just make sure not to leave them submerged in water for too long, or you run the risk of rusting the grill. That said, if rust is an issue, try soaking the grates in white vinegar for a few hours.

The Aluminum Foil Ball

If there’s no grill brush around, an aluminum foil ball can work wonders for removing any pesky grime left on the grates. Simply repeat the steps mentioned above with some crumpled-up aluminum foil skewered on a grill fork in place of a brush. Unlike an onion, the ball will mold to the shape of the grates and get in all those hard-to-reach places. It’s cheap, easy, and doesn’t involve sacrificing any produce in the process.

We’re not saying that using an onion to clean a grill is a completely futile endeavor. It can function as a quick clean mid-grilling between prepping different dishes, but it just won’t get the grates completely clean. It may smell great, but heat and a little elbow grease are the best bet at the end of the day.