A filmic image of Cinderella holding a toilet brush as concept art for how to clean scrub brushes

The Cinderella Files: How To Clean Scrub Brushes When You Don’t Have Magical Mice

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The brushes you use to clean household surfaces can save so much elbow grease — just ask Cinderella, who reached for her trusty scrub brush to clean the fireplace as well as the floor. We’ll just have to assume her helpful mice took care of cleaning and disinfecting it between those tasks.

Unless you’ve got animal sidekicks, your scrub brush can spread harmful germs. So, read on for the steps to clean and disinfect it faster than your fairy godmother can say bippity boppity boo.

How to Clean Toilet Bowl Brushes

A popular TikTok hack recommends stashing your toilet brush in a holder filled with disinfectant, but there are a few problems with this.

For one thing, that disinfectant stops being effective the first time you stick a filthy toilet brush into it. Plus, it’s likely to cause your toilet brush to rust, and let’s not even talk about what a gross mess it would make if someone knocked it over.

There are a couple of ways to clean your toilet brush after you finish scrubbing the toilet: either add more disinfectant to the bowl and let your brush soak in it, or spray your toilet brush with hydrogen peroxide until it’s soaking wet.

Either way, prop your brush between the toilet set and rim of the bowl and let it dry before putting it back in the holder.

How to Clean Scrub Brushes

Start by getting rid of any trapped hairs or fibers using your fingers or an old wide-toothed comb — which you can also clean and disinfect using these steps. Then, clean your scrub brush in warm, soapy water and add a little baking soda to help deodorize it, too.

Finally, after a quick rinse, knock out any lingering germs with a disinfectant spray or a thorough soaking with hydrogen peroxide. Remember: disinfectants need to stay wet on the surface for at least 5 minutes to do their job, so use enough and let it air dry.

How to Clean Bottle and Dish Brushes

Bottle and dish brushes collect food residue that can cause odors and spread germs if you don’t clean them.

So, after each use give them a quick dunk in soapy water and rinse them under the faucet to get rid of debris. Then, either let the dishwasher finish cleaning and disinfecting them, or dunk the end into a glass of undiluted white vinegar for 10 minutes, rinse and let them air dry.

FAQs About Cleaning Brushes

Should I soak cleaning brushes in bleach?

Don’t soak cleaning brushes in bleach. Bleach can weaken the adhesives that keep your scrub brush bristles in place. It’s one thing if you’re scrubbing a surface with a bleach solution — that’s not going to get into the area where the adhesives are. But soaking it? Pass.

Are wooden scrub brushes safe?

Not really. Wood is a porous material, which means it has tiny holes and crevices that can trap bacteria and other grime. Wood is also harder to disinfect, since high temperatures and chemical disinfectants can damage it.

So, any bacteria that gets into the pores will start breeding and create a serious risk of cross-contamination.

How can I get grimy brush bristles white again?

To whiten grimy scrub brush bristles, spray them with hydrogen peroxide or squeeze on some lemon juice and let them sit in the sun for an hour.

How Can I naturally disinfect scrub brushes?

If you’d rather skip the disinfecting spray and make your own, combine 2 cups of lukewarm water, 1 cup white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons Borax in a shallow bowl. Let your brush soak for 10 minutes then tap out the excess moisture and air dry it in a sunny spot.

Just remember, when you’re cleaning scrub brushes, don’t leave them soaking longer than 10 minutes or you’ll weaken the adhesives and wind up losing bristles faster than Cinderella lost that glass slipper.

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7 Comments

  1. I run my kitchen scrub brush through the dishwasher on the top rack. It makes me feel better about scrubbing my dishes with it afterwards. 🙂

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Excellent idea!

  2. How to get hair out of scrub brushes?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Use a comb to lift it out.

    2. Christina Nelson says:

      Comb as she mentioned above. I was looking for the same thing just now and discovered that so wanted to pass it along.

  3. Do you clean and dry your scrub brushes in the kitchen? I use a scrub brush on my cat’s litter box and am not sure where exactly to wash it; I’m hesitant to do it in the kitchen or bathroom sinks.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’d recommend using the bathroom sink or a bathtub–just be sure clean and then disinfect it immediately afterward. Another option is using a plastic box as a makeshift sink for this, then flush the dirty water down the toilet when you’re done. You’d still want to clean and disinfect the box after use, but you can dump that mess down the toilet, too.

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