Not all scrubbing brushes are created equal. Use the wrong one for a particular cleaning job and you risk either ruining what you’re scrubbing or else not shifting the dirt properly. One of the stereotyped images of domestic cleaning involves a charlady on her knees scrubbing the floor, and there’s some truth in that. After all, an experienced professional house cleaner like a charlady can’t be wrong!
Hard brushes (large): These have bristles made of thick plastic and are usually quite sizeable (about the size of a smallish brick). If you try dragging it across your bare skin, you will give yourself a set of little scratches. This one is best used for cleaning hard floor surfaces such as tiles, vinyl, marble, flagstones and lino.
Hard brushes (small): These are your typical dishwashing brush. Use them for…. washing dishes.
Medium brushes (large): These can be made of plastic or natural bristle, and feel like a typical nail brush. These are a good all-round cleaning tool, and can be used for spot-cleaning stains on carpets, handwashing or removing stains from clothes that are made from non-delicate fabrics (i.e. you can use a brush like this on denim or cotton jersey, but don’t use them on frilly knickers). Can also be used for scrubbing floors. No home should be without one. They are less likely to scratch plastic surfaces or wood, so you can use them for scrubbing things like dog kennels. But probably be careful with painted surfaces.
Medium brushes (small): These are nail brushes. They are good for cleaning dirt from underneath nails (obviously) and also for removing small stains on clothing – they’re perfect for the typical bloodstain (but make sure you use cold or lukewarm water).
Long handled medium brushes: This is your typical loo brush. Some people hate them and consider them unhygienic. Others swear by them. To stop a loo brush getting unhygienic, store it in a container filled with dilute disinfectant – and don’t forget to change the disinfectant periodically.
Medium-soft brushes: Not as common as they used to be, but perfect for cleaning and polishing leather boots and shoes. You can also use them as lint brushes to remove fluff from clothing after a tissue has gone through the wash.
Soft bristled brushes (large): These tickle when you rub them over your skin. These are often used for washing cars, and can be used for really filthy exterior windows, with the help of a little warm soapy water.
Soft bristled brushes (small): These are commonly known as toothbrushes. Do not throw out your old toothbrushes, as they are ideal for all sorts of cleaning jobs. They are soft and they get into small, tricky places, so they are great for cleaning jewellery. Tricky places an old toothbrush can get into like no other cleaning tool include the hinges of the toilet seat, carved woodwork, bits of knick-knacks, etc.
Wire brushes: Not your usual cleaning tool. Keep these for removing paint and do not put it in your cleaning toolkit or you will scratch everything.
Brooms: Usually soft-bristled, if used indoors for sweeping hard floors and for removing cobwebs. Hard bristled brooms are for outdoor use, e.g. sweeping driveways down.