Guide to choosing the best brush for the job

There's a special brush out there for just about anything you'd ever want to give the brushoff — everything from dirt to mildew, barbecue grime to countertop crumbs. They can be used dry (to remove surface dirt from irregularly shaped objects) or wet (to work in conjunction with cleaners). Make sure the brush you're using won't damage the object you're attempting to clean. Brush bristles can be made of soft hair, synthetics, natural fibres or metal (most commonly stainless steel or brass).

Guide to choosing the best brush for the job

1. Kitchen brushes

  • Oven brushes for cleaning the racks and the sides of the oven. Best on stainless steel ovens; painted enamel and chrome will scratch.
  • Scouring brushes for use on pots and pans.
  • Scrubbing brushes for use on floors and grout.
  • Countertop brushes, which originally were used in stores to sweep crumbs from the counter. Now they're typically sold as a set with a dustpan.
  • Bottlebrushes, for scrubbing inside tight spaces

2. Floor brushes

  • Handheld brushes that have stiff bristles.
  • Deck brushes (similar to the hand held brushes, but with poles in them).
  • Carpet-spotting brushes (pole mounted brushes for removing spots on carpets).

3. Specialty brushes

  • Automotive brushes.
  • Tile brushes, which are small-headed brushes with fine bristles for cleaning tile and grout.
  • Window brushes.
  • Wire brushes for tough jobs, such as cleaning barbecue grills.
  • Cobweb brushes, with extension handles for reaching the ceiling.
  • Vacuum cleaner brush attachments, for a gentle touch when you're suctioning up dirt from upholstery or air conditioning vents and the front grilles of appliances that readily trap dust.
  • Paintbrushes, which can be adapted to cleaning purposes. For instance, they're great for dusting between the pleats of fabric-covered lampshades.
  • Personal hygiene and grooming brushes
  • Old, used toothbrushes and nailbrushes that you've recruited for other purposes — cleaning around faucets, for instance.
  • Whisk brushes used for removing lint, dirt and dust from clothing.

Where to buy brushes

Brushes can be bought from supermarkets, hardware stores and home improvement stores.

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