Best Cleaning Brush of 2021
The OXO Good Grips Brush Storage Set is the workhorse dish brush of our dreams. OXO has taken into account every design feature to create an excellent product from a functional standpoint. The removable and replaceable bristle head reduces waste by allowing the user to continue re-using the handle long after the first set of bristles have worn out. Not only are they replaceable, but the heads can be swapped depending on your specific user needs. The supplied head has great coverage, and enough front splay to reach tight corners but is overall wide enough to cover large dishes quickly. The supplied storage container acts as a holster for the brush allowing the bristles to air dry effectively. Soap dispensing is convenient, and we found no leaking during our tests.
Love it or hate it, OXO products visually celebrate their utilitarian function. The Good Grips Brush is not the most elegant item, but its aesthetic is heavily reflective of its use. The large handle is comfortable to hold, and the rubberized grip is friendly to hold. Although we view the storage container as an asset worth the extra set cost, we weren't pleased with the way dirty water drained onto the handle when it was placed in its resting location. We didn't experience the soap button cracking, but it may be worth not getting too aggressive on the soap button considering this design's weak point.
The OXO Good Grips Dish Brush is an affordable, light, and effective dish brush. It is nothing more or less than what you would expect from a dish wand. The bristle pattern was excellent for tight spaces, and this would make a nice glassware brush for everything from jars to wine glasses. The lightweight and narrow handle is comfortable and relaxing and facilitates use in narrow openings. On non-stick pots, we found this brush to be everything we needed for quick dishwashing. Excellent bristle density was efficient for quick sudsing and rinsing; stuck on food can be cleared in a pinch with the back-of-brush flat scraper. A single hole in the handle could be utilized easily for hanging on a hook.
The no-frills approach of this brush means sacrificing features like soap dispensing and replaceable heads. As a result, the entire brush will have to be replaced when the bristles have worn out. We recommend treating the brush a little more gently and avoiding using it on roasting pans or other hard to clean items to extend its lifespan. If this were to be your primary kitchen dishwashing appliance, we would consider supplementing it with some stiffer bristle brushes as well. Treated with a bit of restraint, this brush should clean plenty of nonstick pots and pans, glassware, and dishware in its lifetime.
The Full Circle Tenacious C is a straightforward stiff bristle scrub brush that excels on hard-to-clean surfaces and cast iron cookware. The brush is made with simple and elegant materials, including a bamboo handle and recycled plastic head. The handle is comfortable and pleasant to hold. This had some of the stiffest bristles, and that, combined with the rather flat design, meant it was best suited for big dirty jobs like baking sheets and roasting pans. On cast iron, the brush had enough force to lift caked-on food without needing soap — thereby protecting our hard-earned seasoning.
While the Tenacious C did better on tough surfaces, it lacked effectiveness on daily dishes. The hard bristles tended to move food and water around rather than push it off dishes like some of the softer, more densely packed bristle patterns. Sudsing was also a bit lacking for the same reason. On the glass, the stiff bristles were most lacking and left streaks. Although the Tenacious C had a small hole in its handle for storage, it was small enough that you would likely have to tie a piece of string through for hook hanging. For its intended purpose on cast iron and baking dishes, the Tenacious was excellent. For everyday dishes, it would need to be paired with a soft-bristled brush for the most enjoyable dishwashing experience.
The OXO Good Grips Palm Brush is a comfortable palm brush with all the features of its larger dish wand siblings. Palm brushes are the bridge between a sponge and dish wand. They provide a tactile washing experience with just enough of a handle to keep your hands out of most dishwater. The OXO Palm Brush packs some of the best features of the larger handled brushes into the palm brush compact package. A soap dispensing reservoir is integrated into the bulb handle, and the bristle head can be removed and replaced when the bristles wear out. Refilling the soap is easy on the palm brush, with a huge opening once you unscrew the rubber top. The provided storage tray is simply designed and does the trick for air drying and tidy housekeeping.
Our testers that preferred keeping their hands dry at dish duty were less enamored by the palm brush design. With running water, it's almost impossible to not submerge your hand while scrubbing. In deep vessels, it was sometimes hard to get to the bottom of the dish. And often, our knuckles would get a little dirty on tight pots or jars. The OXO is nice and wide for surface area scrubbing, but the extra width can get tight, reaching into the bottoms of glasses. The palm brush bristles don't last as long as some of the dish wand options. The radiating bristle design encourages the bristles to spread out into a flat pancake over time. Removing worn out bristles is easy, and keeping a few replacement heads around takes up almost no space.
The Joseph Joseph BladeBrush is a one-of-a-kind design that fully satisfies the niche task of cleaning blades. It extends its versatility slightly in its ability to clean the lips of glassware, but really its focus is on knives. The clamshell design protected our hands with its plastic frame enclosing a bristle sandwich. Placing the knife in the center of the brush allows both sides of the blade to be cleaned simultaneously. In our testing, we found there was an adequate bristle density to suds and rinse quickly. The rectangular shape is easy to set down without creating a mess, and because the bristles are somewhat protected inside the plastic handle, bristle splay from overzealous scrubbing shouldn't be an issue. With its limited and specific use, we saw no durability issues in our testing.
The biggest drawback to the BladeBrush is its narrow scope of use. Besides knives, we were able to clean the lips of glasses, but that was it for alternate uses. We would rather use a standard brush for silverware. Although it makes cleaning knifes a breeze, we would have preferred the ergonomics to be a touch more refined. A rubberized coating where we grip the brush would have been nice, and the width of the clamshell was just a hair narrow to comfortably fit four fingers. If you have the space for a range of dishwashing brushes, the BladeBrush is a unique addition to the cleaning arsenal.
The Lodge Care Scrub Brush is designed specifically for cast iron but can stand in as an everyday dish brush without hesitation. We found the bristle density and stiffness to provide one of the most satisfying scrubbing experiences of any model we tested. The wooden handle is smooth and comfortable to hold, and the round brush head covered ground easily. The spring-back in the bristles was satisfying, and we didn't feel like we were overworking to get the job done. The design is visually pleasing and matched the aesthetic of the Lodge cast iron pans that we used for testing. We were a little nervous that the bristles were too soft for hard to clean messes but found them to be just right for cast iron. Over the testing period, the seasoning on our cast iron was in excellent condition, which we attributed to the bristles being effective enough to remove food but gentle enough to leave our seasoning intact. If you've used steel wool in the past on your cast iron, we anticipate a much more satisfying seasoning will develop using this brush instead.
There was one significant concern with the Lodge brush. The attachment point between the head and handle is a clear weak point, and our first brush arrived broken at this location. The replacement brush arrived intact, but we could see the brush flexing at this same point. The soft wood of the handle is pleasant to grab but does not have enough density for the head/handle connection as it is currently designed. We didn't stress the second brush to failure in our testing, as we could see this was a flaw in the first brush, but we would anticipate some users might snap their brushes under heavy use.
The Greenth Pro Palm Pot Brush commits to an eco-friendly design from the packaging to construction. Arriving in a cardboard box, we received three brushes as a tidy set. Two brushes have a coarser mixed fiber blend, while one is a softer uniform fiber. While every other contender we tested used plastic for the bristles, Greenth uses natural fibers for its cleaning element. The brushes are very stiff but soften nicely once wet. The variable stiffness of the box set is also appreciated. The bamboo handle is smooth and pleasant to touch, and they will blend into natural kitchens in a way that the larger plastic dish wands wouldn't. The brushes didn't hold up as well as its plastic comparable, but the pack of three outlasted any individual brush easily.
Our biggest concern with the Greenth is also its defining positive feature. The natural bristles were surprisingly effective cleaners, but over time they attracted mold more quickly than plastic brushes. Bristle density is exceptional but perhaps contributes to trapping moisture at the junction between the bristles and handle. The palm design has its pros and cons, but we felt that among its class, the Greenth was a balanced size for effective scrubbing, but was not so big as to impede access to tight spaces. If an eco impact is a major concern, the Greenth is an excellent option. Make sure to keep them in a location that will allow them to dry out completely between use.
The Joseph Joseph Edge is a bare-bones cleaning brush that was as comfortable in the kitchen as the shop. The defining characteristic is the "edge" design that provides a method to hang the brush on the edge of your sink when not in use. After testing many handled brushes, we feel that this small feature is not to be underestimated. By incorporating the edge hook into the brush handle, the Joseph Joseph minimizes extra storage containers and brush holsters. If space is a concern, this a very helpful design choice. The bristle pattern was adequate and held up satisfactorily during our testing.
While we appreciated the simple design, we felt the Joseph Joseph could have been constructed at a higher quality. The hard plastic handle wasn't the most comfortable and felt slippery in hand. The exaggerated handle angle was perhaps important for the hanging design to function but was distractingly curved for dishwashing. The scraper on the back of the bristle head is appreciated for its added utility, but it was oversized to the point of interfering with bristle access to tight corners and interiors of glassware. Overall, this was a versatile and simple brush that had the advantage of a hanging design but wasn't as enjoyable to actually use as some of the other handled brushes we tested.
An alternative to our favorite model, the Scotch-Brite Advanced Soap Control Dish Wand is a satisfactory handled cleaning brush with all the features of its competition at a slightly lower price tag. A stable handle with a dual-textured, rubber and plastic, construction should last countless bristle head replacements. Soap dispensing is excellent in the Scotch-Brite. The large button is easy to access, and if anything, sprays soap a little too forcefully. We could not detect any leaks in the handle soap reservoir, and refill was quick and painless by unscrewing the end of the handle.
The few dollars saved on the Scotch-Brite due seem to affect the overall quality of the brush. In testing the design of the handle angle and head position, we struggled to effectively access the bottom of deep pots; a little more uplift on the head position would make scrubbing easier on our wrists. As a result of the handle angle, the front bristles take the brunt of the scrub action, while the back bristles — closest to the handle — see almost no use. This affects the lifespan of the bristles and increases the frequency of replacement.
The Full Circle Bubble Up Ceramic is a combination set including a palm brush, a ceramic storage container, and a spring-loaded "sudsing" platform. When the palm brush wears out, it is possible to purchase replacement brushes and continue using the ceramic dish and sudsing mechanism. The ceramic dish on its own is a quite nice object, and our testers appreciated the durable and pleasing material choice. The palm brush is one of the smaller brushes we tested and may be a bit small for folks with bigger hands. The finish on the bamboo was durable and of higher quality than some of the other wooden brushes in this list.
Although we appreciated the ceramic dish and the motivation to create a sudsing mechanism with the spring-loaded platform, we didn't find it to be fully realized from a design perspective. Soap and water are placed in the bottom of the ceramic dish, and using the brush, you are supposed to push down on the spring-loaded platform until soap suds are generated. We found the spring to be far too stiff for the purpose and contributed to bristle splay.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead tester Eric Bissell took over dish duty every opportunity he could during the testing period. With a background in sculpture and design, Eric thoroughly examined the form and function of each brush in everyday use. From silverware to dishware, to wine glasses, roasting pans, and cast iron, we scrubbed and rinsed countless meals to determine the best brush.
We researched dozens of the most popular cleaning brushes available. From there, we narrowed our selection to 10 of the best contenders and purchased each model. We then put them through side-by-side testing in our test kitchen and determined which ones were up to the task of making their way through a large stack of dishes.
Analysis and Test Results
Selection began by researching hundreds of the possible cleaning brushes available. Some brushes have tailored functions, while others are all-around workhorses. Some have a laundry list of features, while some are stripped down to their most simple form. We chose to provide you with side by side results on a variety of brush styles so that you can find the perfect brush from your kitchen. Our testing focused on bristle construction, ergonomics, features, and durability. Using these four metrics, we found the best cleaning brushes available now.
A cleaning brush can only be as good as its bristles. We wanted to compare the bristle shape, density, and material quality for all the brushes we tested. Bristle construction was the catch-all metric to compare these traits. Ideal bristle shape provides access to tight spaces (corners of pots, bottoms of glasses) while distributing wear evenly. The OXO Good Grips Dish Brush demonstrates an excellent bristle shape that enabled access to various dirty dishes and still distributed wear evenly. The Lodge Care Scrub Brush had exemplary bristle density and stiffness. Some bristle construction was unique to the brushes intended use. The Joseph Joseph BladeBrush enveloped knives in a bristle sandwich that worked surprisingly well.
Long term use demonstrated that bristles placed in line with the direction of scrubbing force wore out more quickly than those with some oppositional alignment. The OXO Good Grips Palm Brush is an otherwise excellent brush, but the bristles are all already a bit splayed. Over time the bristles fan out more into a rather flat brush. The Scotch-Brite Advanced Soap Control Dishwand looked to have great bristles on a removable head, but testing revealed that bristle shape wasn't effective for cleaning the bottoms of pots. The steep angle between the bristles and the handle meant only the front bristles were engaged in scrubbing and wore out quickly.
Ergonomics was an important test metric in differentiating more or less comfortable dishwashing experiences. Overall, we were impressed with the entire OXO line of brushes for their friendly ergonomics. The OXO Good Grips Brush Storage Set had the most comfortable handle of any tested, and the bristle head angle was easy on the wrist as well. The Lodge Care Scrub Brush had a nice natural handle that was also quite ergonomic; combined with an ideal bristle stiffness, this brush was pleasant to use.
The Joseph Joseph Edge was one of our least favorite brushes for ergonomics due to its shape and material composition. The hard cast plastic had some sharp edges that were uncomfortable to hold. While it could be seen as gimmicky to have a rubberized coating on the dish wands, it did ultimately improve grip in wet conditions. Another brush that struggled with ergonomics was the Full Circle Bubble Up Ceramic. We found the handle to be just too small for everyday use and made washing bigger dishes unnecessarily tiring.
Features that were important in our testing were soap dispensing, replaceable bristle heads, and storage capability. The brush that excelled across the board was the OXO Good Grips Brush Storage Set. The OXO Good Grips Palm Brush also did quite well in this metric; it offered all the same features of the full-size brush but in a more compact package. Our only gripe with the full-size Good Grips brush was that water drains onto the handle when placed upright in its storage holster.
Other brushes lacked features entirely or missed the mark on their intended feature. The Full Circle Bubble Up Ceramic was a brush that missed the mark with its sudsing platform. The spring mechanism was far too stiff for the purpose, and testers were left scratching their heads at the conundrum of the ceramic dish that was supposed to be both soap dispenser and drain catch. Water in the dish would get dirty, and the dish would require cleaning after every use. The Joseph Joseph BladeBrush accomplished its design intention but had an extremely narrow scope of use. We considered it to have the least features of any brush, even though it fulfilled its niche use well.
All brushes showed wear after our test period concluded. Brushes like the OXO Good Grips Palm Brush wore out their bristles, but their lifespan could be easily extended through replacement heads. The storage container included with the Good Grips Palm Brush certainly extended the life of the brush by allowing it to air dry out of the sink. We appreciated the reusable heads as it overall meant less waste to the landfill after the bristles wear out. One of the hardier brushes was the Full Circle Tenacious C. It had some of the sturdiest brushes we tested, and besides some discoloration in the bristles, showed little wear.
Although the Lodge Care Scrub Brush excelled in some test metrics, we had to dock it points for the obvious weak point connection between the plastic head and wooden handle. We would like to see Lodge improve upon this connection to offer a more durable brush. Another brush that lacked durability was the Greenth Pro Palm Pot Brush which is a set of three brushes. We excuse some of the Greenth durability issues as they intended to create a plastic-free product that would be compostable. Plastic is more durable than the natural fibers in preventing mold and breakdown, but in the end, the three brushes of the Greenth kit competed easily with the durability of its plastic counterparts.
We soaped, scrubbed, rinsed, and dried enough cleaning brushes to run a commercial kitchen. We pushed them to the limit via a baked-on roasting pan residue, and analyzed their impact on cast iron seasoning and non-stick Teflon. We considered wrist position on wide flat surfaces and access to the bottom of tight glasses and jars. In the end, we hope you'll find the brush you need, whether you're looking for a do-it-all single purchase or you're happy to line up a collection of brushes that will each go above and beyond to achieve their unique purpose.
— Eric Bissell