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Our cleaning expert picked scrub brushes for everything from small cracks to your whole bathroom

Cleaning isn’t just a task or a chore — it is a way of life. There are many behaviors you can adopt that will make cleaning easier, such as wiping down the sink after use or squeegeeing the walls after a shower.

Another way to be efficient with cleaning is to use the right tool. This is particularly true when it comes to cleaning brushes. Check out the many features of bathroom cleaning brushes and what our cleaning expert Ketia Daniel has to say about her top brush picks. 

How does a brush clean?

Before looking at the features a scrub brush has, it’s important to remember how a cleaning brush works. The bristles of a scrub brush travel across a surface to dislodge dirt and grime so it can be rinsed away. It is the tips of the bristles that are responsible for the dislodging, not the sides. If you press too hard, the bristles will bend and the brush will become less effective. The best brush for any cleaning need is one where the tips of the bristles come in contact with the surface that needs to be cleaned so they can dislodge the dirt without damaging the surface.

How does a household cleaner work?

A household cleaner increases the effectiveness of your scrub brush in one or two ways. First, a cleaning agent is formulated with a chemical compound called a surfactant that breaks down water, not grease, dirt or grime. If you’ve ever had a leaky sink, you may have noticed that water sticks together and accumulates until it becomes too heavy and falls as a droplet. To keep things simple, a surfactant makes water “wetter,” so it doesn’t cling to itself. Instead, the water is now able to penetrate that grease, dirt or grime to lift it away.

Second, a cleaning agent can be abrasive. This means it has a physical component that helps remove dirt by wearing it away, much like the tiny abrasives on sandpaper wear away wood when the paper is moved back and forth.

Features to consider on a scrub brush

Size of brush

The size of a scrub brush determines what you can do with it. While a large surface area may be great for cleaning tiled walls, it may be too large to fit into corners and other nooks and crannies. Conversely, a tiny brush will not be efficient when cleaning a large surface area.

Shape of brush

The overall shape of a scrub brush can be an asset or a handicap. If you want to clean a toilet, for instance, you need a curved brush to hit those hard-to-reach areas under the rim and deep in the bowl.

Firmness of bristles

Firm bristles are more aggressive. They stay stiff and unyielding to add more abrasive power when you clean. On the downside, bristles that aren’t pliable may scratch some surfaces. Make sure you use a brush that is safe for the surface you are cleaning.

Length of bristles

Short bristles are stiffer and offer more aggressive cleaning. However, longer bristles allow you to better clean an uneven surface. If you are trying to clean an area with deep gaps, shorter bristles might not be long enough to get the job done.

Comfortable grip

When cleaning, you may be holding your scrub brush for long periods of time. If you do not have an ergonomic handle, your hand will fatigue more rapidly and you might not finish the task. Even if you finish the task, a tired hand makes it hard to perform at your peak. Additionally, the handle of the brush must be sized to comfortably fit in your hand. If it is too large, the scrub brush may be hard to hold and control. If it is too small, your hand will be clenched too tightly.

Antimicrobial protection

Even if you are diligent about cleaning your scrub brush, it is possible for bacteria to grow on the bristles. Purchasing a model that has antimicrobial protection means the bristles are treated to fight odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew. 


Q. Are brushes cleaner than sponges?

A. In general, yes. Brushes harbor much less bacteria than sponges. While sponges are convenient, easy to use and affordable, everything you scrub away remains deep inside the sponge. And even after a deep cleaning, a sponge will still contain germs that can thrive because of the perpetually moist environment. Microwaving or running a sponge through a wash and dry cycle can definitely help. But you’d have to do this every time you use a sponge to keep it clean. Which is simply not practical. Brushes, on the other hand, dry out much more quickly, creating a less desirable environment for bacteria to breed. 

Q. How do you clean a brush?

A. Not every brush is used for the same type of cleaning task, so not every brush will require the same type of cleaning. However, there are four general steps you can follow to clean any brush. 

  1. Remove any large debris, such as hair — a large comb is excellent for this. 
  2. Wash the brush in warm, sudsy water. 
  3. Disinfect the brush — a vinegar solution is a great option. 
  4. Let it dry.

Q. How long do scrub brushes last?

A. Scrub brushes get dirty quickly. Luckily, when you clean them off, they are as good as new. However, over time, the bristles will bend and splay, which means you won’t be cleaning with the tip of the bristle anymore, so the brush will be much less effective. Additionally, the individual bristles may split and fray. When this happens, it is time to buy a new brush. While the overall life of a scrub brush depends on how often and how vigorously you use it, you may get three or four prime months out of a properly cared-for scrub brush.

What you need to buy to clean your bathroom according to our expert

Ketia Daniel is the founder of BHM Cleaning Co. and our cleaning expert at BestReviews. Here are her picks for the best scrub brushes to use in your bathroom and why. 

HDX Scrub Brush with Iron Handle

This is a sturdy brush with an ergonomic handle for ease of use. It features a rugged build to tackle those hard-to-clean jobs and a hole for easy hanging. “This brush has stiff fibers. The Microban antimicrobial protection helps keep the brush cleaner,” Daniel said.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Unger 2-in-1 Corner and Grout Scrubber

The unique V-shaped bristles get deep into grout and corners for a thorough cleaning. It has an integrated scraper for stubborn grime. “This scrub brush is designed for cleaning corners and grout. It is tough on mildew,” Daniel said. 

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot and Amazon

HDX Tile and Grout Brush

This brush is specially designed for cleaning hard-to-reach areas on tubs, countertops and backsplashes. The brush finders have a curved tip to clean corners and crevices without scratching. “This is an excellent option for cleaning tile grout,” Daniel said. 

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Quickie Scrub Brush with Microban

The Quickie Scrub Brush has extra-long fibers that are great for reaching deep into crevices and cleaning irregular surfaces. It also has a pointed tip to help clean corners. “This scrub brush has strong bristles that are great for scrubbing away stubborn dirt,” Daniel said.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Scotch-Brite All Purpose Brush (Six Pack)

This all-purpose brush is safe on tile, shower doors, tubs, fixtures and more. It features long-lasting bristles that clean without scratching. “It has a great grip and is small enough for all hands,” Daniel said.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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