Best Corn Brooms

Updated September 2021
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Buying guide for best corn brooms

Although history credits Benjamin Franklin with introducing broomcorn to the U.S., it wasn’t until 1787 that a Massachusetts’s farmer, Levi Dickenson, crafted a stout broom from a bundle of sorghum (broomcorn) that the popularity of cornstalk brooms grew. Today, these household cleaning tools are known simply as corn brooms.

Why might you want a corn broom? Many people find them to be more effective at cleaning than synthetic brooms. However, it’s important to know where in your home it is (and isn’t) appropriate to use a corn broom. Because the bristles are strong and absorbent, many corn brooms can be used both indoors and out. If you have a wet or lumpy mess to clean up, a corn broom may be the right solution. Many people use them on their sidewalks and garage flooring. If you have a cement basement floor or a barn to clean, a corn broom is the ideal solution.

There are certain places in the home where a corn broom isn’t the right cleaning solution. For example, on a hardwood floor that is susceptible to scuffs and scratches, a dry mop is a better choice. That’s not to say you don’t need a corn boom. To the contrary, these iconic brooms can serve as both a stylish and practical addition to the home. Read on to learn more about the iconic corn broom.

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The use of the broom dates back to prehistoric man, who first used leafy branches to clear dirt, ash, and debris from cave dwellings.

Key considerations

Why buy a corn broom?

Long-lasting, sturdy, and extremely durable, corn brooms are capable of dealing with heavier soils that lighter nylon brooms may leave behind. Although they are made for actual household use, many customers choose to display them as home decor.

Broom construction

When shopping, pay attention to how the broom is constructed. Generally speaking, you will want a broom with a minimum of three seams of stitching holding the broom together. Corn brooms of the highest quality often have five rows of stitching. Solid, tight seams are needed to hold the broom straw in place. Brooms with only one or two seams will likely lose straw and fall apart quickly with daily use.

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Did you know?
Broomcorn (sorghum bicolor) is an upright variety of sorghum, a member of the plant family Poaceae. When harvested and dried, it is processed and bound to form brushes and broom heads.


The quality of the broomcorn

Broomcorn is a natural fiber that is cultivated exclusively for the purpose of making brooms. When shopping for a corn broom, if you want something that is truly authentic, look for one made of 100% broomcorn.

It is possible to purchase a corn broom that is not completely “pure.” In other words, the broom may contain fibers other than broomcorn. For example, there are brooms that use broomcorn in combination with yucca (sotol) fibers. These brooms may be sewn with synthetic fibers and cloaked with a wire band. Although sturdy and attractive, they are not “real” corn brooms.

Broomcorn color

Broomcorn is graded to manufacturing standards and sorted by length and color. You can appraise the quality of a corn broom by examining its color.  Bristles of green to golden yellow are the best. Brown broom corn is considered to be of inferior quality.

Handle material and length

In keeping with the all-natural theme, many corn brooms come with solid wood handles. If you want something sturdy and durable, look for a corn broom with a solid wood handle. Because corn brooms are often used to clean up heavier messes (and therefore meet with some resistance), you will undoubtedly want a handle whose quality matches that of the broom head.

The length of the handle could stretch up to about 100 inches, or it could be so short that it resembles the type of handheld brush often paired with a dustpan. Look for something that suits your needs. If you need a small handheld broom to clean up wood shavings in your shop, something very short would probably be more appropriate. If you’re looking to quickly sweep up a barn floor, a longer handle would help make shorter work of the task.

Corn broom prices

Inexpensive: Mass-manufactured corn brooms in the budget price range of $5 to $8 are often of inferior quality. Some act more as props than cleaning tools; you may see more corn brooms than usual for sale in stores around Halloween time.

Mid-range: Corn brooms in the middle price range, purchased as traditional home cleaning tools, tend to cost anywhere from $10 to $90. Generally speaking, the higher the price, the better the broom — but you needn’t spend more than around $50 for something that gets the job done.

Expensive: An artisan corn broom, crafted by an experienced broom maker and sold as a decorative item or as an antique, may sell for anywhere from $50 to $200. If you are in the market for this type of broom and decide to pay this much, make sure you find a “one of a kind” that’s worth your money. Many corn brooms in this high price range are of heirloom quality.


  • Proper care of your corn broom may help lengthen the life of the broom.

  • When the straw on your corn broom becomes soiled, swirl the broom head in a pail of warm, soapy water. Rinse it thoroughly and hang it to dry.

  • If you leave your corn broom outdoors in a damp climate, a mild solution of household bleach and water, scrubbed into the fiber, can help remove and inhibit the growth of black mold.

  • Hang your corn broom when not in use, or store it with the bottom upright. Standing it in the corner with the weight of the broom bending the bristles will permanently deform the shape of the broom head.

  • Avoid leaving your broom outside exposed in the sunlight for extended periods. This can bleach corn straw fibers. What’s more, prolonged exposure to sun or water could rot the bristles.

  • For the ultimate in strength and durability, look for brooms crafted from high-quality, raw, unprocessed broomcorn with the stem left intact.

  • A quality broom doesn’t just push dirt and dust around. It actually picks up dust, dander, and pet hair, which cling to broom bristles while heavier soils scoot along the floor. To keep your corn broom cleaning efficiently, give it a regular “comb out” with a stiff brush, or remove hair and clingy debris with a regular vacuuming.

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High-quality broomcorn exhibits a rich, bright green stalk with tassels free from discoloration. The fibers should be pliable, smooth, and straight.


Q. When were broomcorn brooms first commercially manufactured?

A. Invented by the Shakers during the early 19th century, the broom vise was a significant invention that enabled commercial production of corn brooms and short-handled dusters. As early as 1830, American manufacturers had honed their craft and produced enough quality corn brooms to begin exporting to other countries.

Q. When it comes to cleaning ability, is a broomcorn broom better than a plastic fiber broom?

A. When shopping for a broom, you will find brooms made of plastic or other synthetic fibers that merely move dust and dirt around. Broomcorn actually absorbs dirt and grime. Broomcorn brooms are moisture-resistant and wear exceptionally well. Durable with superior cleaning ability, broomcorn brooms are some of the priciest brooms, but many feel they are worth it.

Q. Is there any type of flooring where the use of a corn broom is not appropriate?

A. Yes. Because corn brooms have stiff bristles, you should not use them on expensive hardwood floors. The bristles could scratch or dull delicate surfaces. Istead, choose a soft synthetic fiber or cotton-loop dust mop for this type of cleaning job.

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