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Bottle Brushes

Bottle Brushes

If you don’t own them, I would like to gently suggest you go out and buy some bottle brushes RIGHT   N O W.  I got mine at Lee Valley and use them all the time.  Really.  I do!

You are going to find that hard to believe after I explain this next little bit, but it’s nonetheless true.

So … I sat down, all ready to give you a comprehensive list of what you will use your bottle brushes for and came up … pretty much empty.

Mason jars.  That’s a given.  The reason I got them was to clean the bottom of my mason jars.  You know.  Where the dried up centipedes linger.  And the tomato sauce, and the leftover soup.

I know I use them for a million other things but …  what are they?  Couldn’t tell ya.  I’m at a loss.  I know I use them at least once a week.  I just can’t remember what for.

So, as it turns out I *can’t* give you a huge list of what you’ll use bottle brushes for.  But not because bottle brushes aren’t handy in a hundred different ways.  It’s because I’m brain dead for the moment.  Better this moment than whilst taking an exam I suppose.  Not that I take many exams lately.  Or perhaps I do and just can’t remember taking them.

This is turning into quite a nightmare this bottle brush post.

Suffice it to say, in terms of the tools you  have around the house I highly recommend bottle brushes.

You’ll use them to clean a million different things.

And once you do … if it isn’t too much trouble,  could you shoot me an email letting me know exactly what they are?





  1. Laura says:

    I use a big cheap bottle brush to scrub out the canister of my Shark canister vac.

  2. Liz says:

    The Art of Doing Stuff you say? And you can only come up with 1 use for bottle brushes, which you say we Must Have? Think you might want to update this one.

  3. Vanessa says:

    I inherited a bunch of vintage (let’s face it they’re just old but “vintage” sounds so much nicer) bottles and have been trying to figure out how to clean them. I can’t believe I didn’t think of a bottle brush! It’s the little things that drive you crazy…

    • Karen says:

      LOL! Yup. Just used my bottle brushes today to clean out … bottles. :) Apparently denture cleaner thrown in them will help with bad stains, etc. ~ karen!

  4. akasusanjane says:

    I was cracking up when I read this! I was looking for the perfect picture of a skinny bottle brush to send to my BFF who is domestically challenged and alas! Google brought me to you! I told her she could use this to clean the inside of her kitchen drain to clean the gook out of it so there ya’ go! One more use for the bottle brush.

  5. Pam says:

    6 bazillion posts and I need to add one more. I USED to use a bottle scrubber to get the edges of my carpet and stairs, and vacuum filter to add some life to it. But I found a “rubba scrubba” and I use that now. It is a rubber scrubber (bet you couldn’t guess) and it is also good for getting the hair up, and lots of other things but I suffer the same brain deadness you suffer. Just Google “rubba scrubba” and you’ll find the site. If ya want. No pressure.

  6. Tiffany says:

    I am a poor college student who doesn’t have a lot of stuff, but these little guys are definitely going on my list. The past two days after reading this blog, I have been wondering why I don’t have any because I keep finding things that they would be so helpful for! Does anyone know where I can find some for cheap?

  7. kathryn says:

    absolutely the BEST thing for bottle/vase/jar-type items are magic balls (snigger) – they are MAGIC.

    and as for buying special small brushes for cleaning in small spaces – well durrrrr, what do you think ready-to-chuck-out toothbrushes are for???

    you crazy bunch. (teapot spout though – i’ll give you that one.)

    • Pam'a says:

      Good ole’ Lee Valley has these too. From what I can see, they’re just ball bearings, and the percussive movement of shaking them around the bottle is the “magic.” Which reminds me of an old waitress trick for getting glass coffee pots clean: Dump salt in and add ice. Then just swish and swish. Same principle. It works great for vases too, if you have small enough ice cubes. :)

  8. Valerie says:

    Teapot spout (but no detergent please!). Most people aren’t freaks like I am and don’t have separate teapots for black and green teas, so the stains could interfere with the flavours of different types of tea. Or if you have a glass teapot where you could actually see the stains from the outside.

    Personally, for non-see-through teapots, if you are only making one type of tea I don’t think stains on the inside matter. Just rinse it with boiling water.

  9. Erin says:

    besides the previously mentioned bottles, I use mine for vases, glasses/mugs (if I hand wash them for some odd reason) decorative objects d’art. I have a great seat of baby bottle bushes that the handles spins on it so they whirl around real fast and easy. my mom also has the same set and uses them on her fancy wine glasses because they are easy to use and grip. She loves them.

  10. Nancy says:

    If you use a Neti Pot or similar sinus irrigation system, the bottle brushes are good for cleaning those. Nobody wants to shoot mold up their sinuses. Well, I guess I should just speak for myself…I don’t want to shoot mold up my sinuses.

    • Karen says:

      Nancy – I bought my boyfriend a Neti Pot. He used it once, almost choked to death, threw it out of the bathroom and I haven’t seen it since. But maybe he could use the bottle brush to clean his sinuses. ~ karen

  11. Denise says:

    I don’t have one and feel out of the loop. So I must get one for what I don’t know. If I could find one for my heavy plastic straw that would be cool.

  12. Shauna says:

    I own bottle brushes because we have a child – thus cleaning…wait for it…bottles. As he’s gotten older, they are invaluable for sippy cups. For adult sippy cups too – you know getting in between those little crevice areas of your coffee mug lid that has trapped all sorts of coffee mess?

    There are many other things I use ours for, but alas, I too am coming up blank. Wait, is this disease of yours contagious? Perhaps I should take a break from reading your blog and go back to work!

  13. Kim says:

    Very amusing post! They also clean mud out of the treads of my daughter’s indoor shoes when she forgets they are “indoor” shoes and wears them outside for recess.

  14. Pam'a says:

    I’ve looked at those brushes dozens of times and haven’t bought them, because I’ve always wondered if they work that well. I.e., it seems like the tough-scrubbing bristles ought to be on the tip, right where they put the soft ones.

    Oddly, I ran across a post recently about making your OWN that I might try. You just cut off a piece of sponge to the size you want (Ooo–a SCRUBBY sponge!), and proceed to twist it in a loop of coat hanger. It has potential.

  15. Kate says:

    I can always count on you, Karen. My mother had bottle brushes like this when I was growing up and I have been looking for some for years. The only ones I could find were big and plastic and yucky. They didn’t clean well either.

    Lee Valley will be my very next port of call, internet-wise. Thanks to you, I am also the proud owner of the rasp/grater from Lee Valley, and no longer does my lemon curd contain knuckle skin gratings.

  16. Ellen says:

    Years ago I got a package of teeny tiny brushes for cleaning women’s electric razors (also Lee Valley)… they are fantastic for scrubbing small gnarly things….. Eat your heart out, Karen!

  17. Jenn says:

    Scrubbing the teapot spout.

    This is most successful if your pot does not have the built-in strainer at the join of the pot and spout.

  18. Eric says:

    Hummingbird feeders.

  19. Lynne says:

    I know I use mine for cleaning out the Turkey baster but can’t think of anything else aside from what has already been mentioned. Fabulous tool that I would be lost without!

  20. Nester says:

    had one in my hand yesterday, couldn’t think of what I would use it for so I didn’t buy it. drats.

  21. kate says:

    I remember my mom using a long skinny bottle brush like the one pictured in your blog to clean the tube of the percolator stand in the coffee pot.

    Well, I never heard of Lee Valley but used the link to their web site to see they not only have great bottle brushes, but a cool selection of gardening and woodworking books. Now, I’m in California, no where near a Lee Valley store but I do see they will be at the San Francisco Flower and Garden show in March so I will see them there. Thanks for the link to Lee Valley and for the percolator memories.

  22. Jan B says:

    Guinea pig water bottle-remind me to remind my son to clean it. Martha and Lucy are fussy. My husband’s huge Stanley thermos- at least I assume he knows he could use it for that purpose.

    • Heather says:

      That reminds me we need to clean our guinea’s water bottle too. And I have lost my bottle brush so I think a trip to is in my future.

  23. I bought one specifically to clean the plastic straw that came with the container I use for my daily smoothie. Then I bought a glass straw and now I use the tiny brush to clean that too.

  24. Darmck says:

    Hummingbird feeders.

  25. kristin says:

    I have a baby bottle brush (it was the only one I could find; I don’t have a baby), and I use it to clean the insides of jars, naturally, but I also use it to clean tight spaces, like the ridges inside screw on lids. It also fits into my meat grinder perfectly, so now I can always get all the little meat pieces out from the back. I’ve used it to scrub out my pancake pourer. I’ve even used it to scrub vegetables clean!

  26. Bethany says:

    The skinny brushes like those are also handy for scrubbing inside drains. You know, where all that slime and mildew collect. Not that I’m such a proficient housekeeper that I scrub the insides of my drains, mind you, but I imagine they would be useful for that.

  27. blake says:

    I would like to take a moment and talk about how much I adore Lee Valley…that done…I use mine ALL the time for:
    1. little bottles I use when painting
    2. baby bottles…AWWW
    3. I save everything glass to re-use in my studio for paint
    4. toys
    5. metal water jugs (you know fer drinkin)
    6. cake decorating tubes
    7. floral tubes

    so basically i use em for bottles and anything else narrow and annoying to clean.

  28. Todd says:

    I use them to clean my stainless steel water bottles and coffee thermos. The openings are too small to get clean in the dishwasher. Bottle brushes are THE only way to clean them out before they mold. Blech!

    • Karen says:

      Todd – Blech is right. People usually just rinse these things and … blech. Double blech. ~ karen

      • Karen/Todd – I was just wondering how I should clean my travel coffee mug. I was about to buy a new one and throw away the old, simply because I didn’t know how to clean them. Thanks!!!

        • Karen says:

          Hi Shirley! I always just put my travel mug in the dishwasher every time I use it. Even it if says “do not put in dishwasher”. Never had a problem. But honestly, those bottle brushes would do a really good job with hot soapy water if you don’t have a dishwasher! ~ karen

        • Rebecca says:

          Oh Karen, please don’t do that. I don’t normally follow directions well, but when you put travel mugs in the dishwasher water slowly seeps into that airspace between the inner layer and the outer layer. If you pull off the bottom and look inside, you’ll probably find tonnes of mould. Ick! I’ve never done it again since I came to that realization.

  29. amanda says:

    I use them to sweep under my frig and other appliances to keep the dog hair from clogging up the works!

  30. Susan says:

    Cleaning the stovetop, those places where the crumbs go-you can see ’em but can’t get to ’em without the brush.

  31. magali says:

    I worked for years at an ice cream parlor and my boss used those to wash the soft serve machine. You probably have a soft serve machine in your basement but you forgot about it. and you sneak down in the middle of the night to brush it clean.

    • Karen says:

      Magali – Mmmm. No. I don’t have a soft serve machine in my basement that I can recall. I *used* to have a full sized automatic hot chocolate machine but I sold that … Keep thinkin. Between all of us we’ll get to the bottom of what I use these things on. ~ karen

  32. sue says:

    I have the same set, which I got at Marshall’s and I was over joyed to have such a variety of sizes. Since I love thrifting, I pick up some really filthy items. I just managed to clean some unknown gunk out of a cruet using one of these babies. This summer, I purchased some old bottles that were pretty gross and these helped a lot.
    I use an old toothbrush for scrubbing between the faucets and back splash. Baby toothbrushes work great too for those hard to reach places.
    The only problem is, that sometimes, when I have cleaned something old and mysterious, I do not want to use the brush on anything that holds food. So I have my “clean” food use brushes, to clean thermos bottles, etc. and my “dirty” set to clean the centipede encrusted items.
    My brain wasn’t working the other day, so I totally understand.

  33. Linda says:

    OK, just take a quick look at the photo, (hint 1)
    Focus, Karen, on objects surrounding the
    mason jar full of bottle brushes (hint 2)

    I see at least half a dozen objects I use mine on..
    right there, …. think…

    you can do it… it is not a loss of mind, I have faith in you..

    (will check on ya later)

  34. Angela says:

    Cleaning sippy cups. And assorted kitchen gadgets and utensils, especially things with odd shapes. Wilton sells a tiny one with a regular brush on the other end that I use to clean my cake decorating stuff.

  35. renee evans says:

    Dusting around light bulbs in those recessed cans or little glass drop light thingies. Getting (gag) hair out of the (gag) drain in the (gag) shower. Vases and car rims. Catching lint from deep deep inside the dryer tube. Hm. More to hit me as soon as I start to fall asleep.

  36. Laura says:

    Cleaning between the faucet and the backsplash! & vases a lot!

  37. @misskher says:

    Those are actually test tube scrubbers! I used them so much when I worked in labs that I now hate them – true story!

    • Karen says:

      Misskher – LOL. I know they’re for science class, but Lee Valley sells them as bottle brushes/vase brushes. Kind of like they sell a wood rasp as a parmesan cheese grater! :) I’m pretty sure I don’t use them on test tubes. But who knows. I’m losing my mind, so it’s entirely possible I do use them for test tubes. ~ karen

  38. Alisha says:

    They’re great for cleaning out vases!

  39. shea says:

    This is top secret, but I use mine to clean…bottles. Baby ones. Shhh. ;)
    I also use older ones to scrub around my faucets, corners of my shower, and babies’ bath toys.

  40. We used to use them all the time in chemistry labs to clean test tubes…

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