In this post, we reveal everything you need to know about bottle brushes, including the pros and cons of different kinds of bottle brushes. Let's dive in!
Call it a quarantine-induced desire to keep everything spotless, or simply a desire to keep personal items a lot cleaner than they normally are, but if you've found yourself wanting to know more about investing in your own reliable bottle brush, then you’ve come to the right place!
Water bottle brushes are ridiculously easy to use, can be cleaned in a few minutes tops, and won’t even need to be replaced any time soon if you take care of them properly.
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about bottle brushes and reveal the top ten bottle brushes you should consider investing in.
In particular, we will discuss the following topics:
- What are Bottle Brushes?
- Why Clean a Water Bottle in the First Place?
- Why Use a Bottle Brush?
- How to Clean a Bottle Brush
- The Different Types of Bottle Brushes
- Best Bottle Brushes
What are Bottle Brushes?
Bottle brushes are reliable cleaning devices with a fairly simple construction: multiple bristles on one end and a handle on the other. If you’re thinking that they look like mini toilet brushes, this is a pretty accurate description of how bottle brushes look! They’re also essential for cleaning baby bottles thoroughly, so make sure to have a bottle brush ready at home if you have a small child who regularly drinks milk or formula from a bottle.
As a matter of fact, bottle bristles were initially invented to make the lives of parents everywhere a lot easier, especially in the cleaning department! The first patent for a bottle bristle was filed relatively recently (in 1955) by Marion D. Hunter.
The bristles of most bottle brushes are usually made up of silicone, but more natural alternatives for bottle brush bristles can be used which still clean as thoroughly as you expect them to!
Why Clean a Water Bottle in the First Place?
Before that though, let's get the obvious out of the way: you absolutely need to wash your water bottles. People that think they're getting away with just refilling their water bottles without cleaning them (thinking that "it's just water anyway") are putting themselves in danger. Lisa Maria Conklin from Reader's Digest writes,
"We don't generally think of the water in our reusable water bottle as particularly dangerous to our health, but germs thrive in moisture--including airborne microbes such as bacteria, viruses and fungi."
As a result, water bottles, which frequently come in contact with our mouths, especially when we're at the gym or otherwise engaged in some other physical activity, are fertile ground for germs. The longer you use and reuse the same bottle without giving it a proper cleaning, the more germs accumulate.
This not only puts you at risk of disease, but others around you as well. An article from TreeHugger.com cites infectious disease physician Dr. Brian Chow in saying,
"They are bacteria that live in our mouth and throat that our bodies know, and they don't make us sick. However, if you share bottles with someone else, they may not be used to your bacteria or viruses. The germs that cause strep throat, mononucleosis, colds and the flu, and even bacterial meningitis can be spread by sharing bottles."
Not washing your bottles becomes especially dangerous in these uncertain times. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to rethink and possibly update their hygiene habits. And, if that's not enough to convince you, an article from TreadmillReviews.com called A Look Under The Cap: Water Bottle Germs Revealed says explicitly that "drinking from the average refillable bottle can be many times worse than licking your dog's toy."
Why Use a Bottle Brush?
Now that we've established that washing your water bottles is an absolute necessity, we can move on to the next question: do you really need a bottle brush? Can’t bottles be cleaned like all the other dishes in the kitchen? Wouldn't a little soap do the trick just as well?
Here are the three main reasons why a bottle brush can be and is considered a kitchen necessity:
- Filling a dirty bottle with water, closing the lid and giving the bottle a good shake then draining it isn't enough. Even if we've all done it at some point in our lives--I'm looking at you, teenage-self--this method is hardly effective at disinfection. Bacteria thrive in moisture, after all, and this includes coating the inner surface of your water bottle in a way that cannot be removed without a good scrub. As an analogy: filling a water bottle with fresh water and shaking it does not evict the germs from their apartment; all that does is give them a a new set of furniture!
Traditional sponges just can't give water bottles a good enough scrubbing. Since manufacturers don't traditionally make water bottles with openings large enough to stick your hands into, cleaning them out with sponges can prove to be a frustrating task at the very least. In addition, the shape of traditional sponges make it difficult to reach all the possible nooks and crannies of water bottle bottoms.
- A good daily scrub with a water bottle brush, hot water and soap is best practice in water bottle hygiene. A great bottle brush will help you loosen bacteria even in the hard-to-reach places of your bottle. That, combined with soap, can disinfect and further loosen the more stubborn germs, and the coup de grace of a hot water rinse finishes the cleaning process.
And, if overall health improvement isn't enough of a benefit for you, here are a couple more reasons which may apply to your circumstances:
It’s the perfect cleaning tool for busy parents
Children, particularly babies, tend to consume drinks that leave little food particles in their bottles, such as formula or grocery-bought milk for kids. Thoroughly cleaning their bottles with a bottle brush is a quick and easy chore even the busiest parents can do for their kids. By using a bottle brush, all of those pesky particles can be scrubbed away in an instant! It’s as simple as that.
A bottle brush is a must-have for dishwashers in busy restaurants
Not only do bottle brushes clean bottles and glasses thoroughly, but they also do so in a way that’s much faster than a dishwasher normally would. If you’re a restaurant owner who understands how busy those long days and nights are in a packed kitchen, make sure to get enough bottle brushes for your trained staff to use whenever a new bottle or empty glass needs to be cleaned.
An ideal bottle brush will not only rid the bottle surface of any unwanted particles, but will also not leave any of its own particles behind.
Poorly made bottle brushes are made of materials that may come off and stick to the bottle surface. We would like to emphasize the importance of buying a high-quality bottle brush in order to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. Beware of bottle brushes that aren’t branded or are sold second-hand. These may be manufactured poorly and may cause issues like the above to happen while you’re cleaning.
Make sure you check review sites thoroughly before purchasing the kind of bottle brush you want. You may also want to check reputable magazine articles (or articles like this one!) that can recommend tried and tested bottle brushes that are sturdy, safe to use, and do the job thoroughly.
How to Clean a Bottle Brush
Although bottle brushes are great at cleaning water bottles and various other kinds of items, it’s incredibly important to clean your bottle brush properly after use to avoid the accumulation of bacteria–not just on your bottle brush, but also on the items you plan to clean with it down the road. Just follow these simple steps daily and you’ll be able to clean your brush appropriately!
Here are a bunch of fool-proof steps you can follow on how to make your own bottle brush cleaner. These are all the things you need to start cleaning:
- Your dirty bottle brush
- Hot water
- A sink basin
- 1 tablespoon of liquid dish detergent
- Clean plastic comb
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Fill the basin with hot water. Add 1 tablespoon of any brand of liquid dish detergent.
- Soak the bottle brush in the mixture for 15 minutes.
- Remove any particles from the bottle brush using a clean comb. Gently brush through the bristles until all the particles are off.
- Rinse the bottle brush with hot water.
- Soak the bottle brush in hydrogen peroxide for another 15 minutes.
- Rinse the bottle brush under running water.
- Wait for it to dry and it can be used again, perfectly clean this time!
The Different Kinds of Bottle Brushes
Like other cleaning products, there are a lot of different kinds of bottle brushes to choose from. What’s important is that you know about each specific kind of bottle brush and how they can meet your needs. It’s possible for you to have one kind of bottle brush for a certain set of items and another entirely different bottle brush for another set of items. In this section, we will introduce you to the different kinds of bottle brushes to help you determine which one is best suited for the items you need to clean at home.
Sponge Bottle Brush
A common misconception one might have about sponge bottle brushes is that they feature simply a sponge on top, with no bristles. This isn’t usually the case. The sponge bottle brush is unique in the sense that it generally comes with a sponge tip at the top and bristles below the sponge tip for a more thorough clean.
The sponge tip is great for removing all kinds of saucy substances from whatever bottles or glasses you’re cleaning, while the bristles make sure that other particles won’t get left behind. However, because this type of brush features a sponge tip it’s important to note that it might need a more thorough clean after use. Don’t let any pesky particles get stuck on that sponge tip!
Plastic Bottle Brush
Plastic bottle brushes usually come in multiple colours and are ideal for households which can’t afford more expensive bottle brushes. Although they’re easy to manufacture and even easier to find in your local store, they definitely aren’t environmentally friendly due to their all-plastic build.
They will definitely get the right amount of cleaning done, but they aren’t the best kind of brush to buy if you’re looking to invest in more eco-friendly cleaning items. In addition, they can be harsher than brushes with softer bristles, and therefore may leave scratches or marks on more delicate items
Nylon Bottle Brush
Nylon bottle brushes are incredibly useful for deep cleaning. They usually come with a long stem and multiple bristles designed for more hard-to-reach bottles.
The only factor to be wary of while using the nylon bottle brush is that it normally does not come with an easy grip handle, so it can be harder to grip than other brushes. Always make sure that you’re handling a nylon bottle brush properly so as to avoid accidents in the kitchen or slippage while handling it.
Silicone Bottle Brush
This is arguably the most basic kind of bottle brush you can get your hands on, and it is likely the cheapest as well. Silicone is a common material used in manufacturing all kinds of cleaning products, which is silicone bottle brushes are common in grocery or cleaning stores.
Silicone brushes are specifically designed to keep all kinds of particles out from the bottles or glasses you wash, so make sure that you also clean the silicone brushes thoroughly after use with a sponge or dish rag covered in soap to get the kind of thorough clean you need. The downside to this type of brush is that silicone is artificial, and may not be the most suitable choice for eco-friendly homes.
Bamboo Bottle Brushes
Looking for a more eco-friendly alternative to your regular bottle brush? You might want to check out bamboo bottle brushes if you’re looking for a product that produces less of a carbon footprint during manufacturing.
Bamboo bottle brushes usually come with handles made entirely from bamboo and have plant-based bristles that do the job just as well as silicone-based bristles! Just make sure to store this kind of bottle brush in a well-ventilated environment so as not to damage its all-natural parts.
This kind of brush needs a lot of care and maintenance to thrive, and may last for the long term if not properly handled and cared for.
Bottle Brush with Multiple Types of Bristles
Have you ever looked at a particular brand of toothbrush in the grocery store while out shopping, only to notice that it had different kinds of bristles on it that are used to perform different kinds of cleaning tasks? Just as we need them to keep our teeth clean, multiple-bristle bottle brushes can help do the same for our bottles and glasses at home.
Some bottle brushes contain softer, gentler bristles for general cleaning and harder, more rigid bristles for scrubbing away at pesky particles. Although these may seem great, (two bristle types are better than one, right?) make sure that you check out any reviews of these products. If they’re clearly working for individuals who take the time to write something good about them, then they are more likely to work for you! A little more research will definitely help when you’re figuring out what kind of bottle brush to buy.
Best Bottle Brushes
In this section, we've compiled our top ten best bottle brushes according to our own testing in addition to various articles and reviews we came across online. If you’re reading this now and are pretty clueless about which bottle brush to buy, you won’t go wrong with any of these choices!
Although we recommended them specifically for your household’s use, remember that different bottle brushes are made with various needs in mind. Make sure that these fit your own needs before deciding to buy them.
Here are the top ten bottle brush brands you can invest in right now.
1. Dr. Brown’s Bottle Brush
This is a trusted brand that features both a sponge tip and easy-to-clean bristles to scrub your bottles and glasses down properly. This bottle cleaning brush also manages to be BPA-free and is associated with more than a thousand positive reviews on Amazon. This is perfect whether you’re cleaning your water bottle or the feeding bottle of your small child at home and want to be as safe and clean as possible.
2. Rubbermaid Comfort Grip Bottle Brush
Another reputable brand makes its way to the list! If you’re familiar with Rubbermaid’s tumblers and reusable containers, do note that they’ve got a great bottle brush as well in the Rubbermaid Comfort Grip Bottle Brush. The non-slip rubber grip means that you can clean multiple glasses or bottles at home without worrying about accidentally dropping the brush on the floor.
3. OXO Good Grips Bottle Brush
This OXO bottle brush with a long handle is a lot similar to the Rubbermaid brush mentioned previously, but the difference is all in the bristles. This silicone bottle brush features two kinds of bristles that are ultimately used for different cleaning purposes. It’s got softer, gentler brushes for general cleaning and harder, sturdier brushes for a more intense scrub. You’ll definitely get the best of both worlds with this brush.
4. Munchkin Bristle Bottle Brunch
This bottle brush’s ergonomic design makes it an excellent choice for those who are new to bottle brushes and just need something reliable and basic. This is ideal to use for small bottles, too, such as specialty bottles and baby bottles.
5. The Coldest Water Bottle Brush
This bottle brush from The Coldest Water is specifically designed for stainless steel water bottles. The main brush with its two attachments are meant to clean not only the bottle, but the straw and the lid as well. A three-in-one tool to make bottle brushing easier? Sounds good to us.
6. Moomoo Baby Triple Brush Set
This triple threat cleaner also comes with a handy straw cleaner, basic baby bottle brush, and smaller nipple cleaner for your baby’s tiny bottle. Think of it as a slightly more complete upgrade to the previous bottle brushes we mentioned a little while back!
7. Innobaby 2-in-1 Silicone Bottle Brush
Even if this product is marketed as a baby bottle brush, it can work just as well (if not better) than a lot of water bottle brushes in the market. With extra-wide bristles for a deeper clean and silicone bristles that make it easy to wash, this bottle brush might just be the one you're looking for. Make sure to check this out in your local baby supplies store.
8. Nuk Triple Action Brush
If you want a bottle brush that can clean both your bottles and glasses, then you can't go wrong with the Nuk Triple Action Brush. Not only does it have deep clean bristles, but it also features a sponge and scrubber to get rid of all those food and drink particles. The sponge is anti-microbial and the brush’s tip is great for cleaning out baby bottle nipples as well. It comes with a non-slip handle and is safe to dry out on a rack.
9. Kitchiny Silicone 12.5
This 12.5 inch-long bottle brush features silicone bristles as well, so you can worry less about getting any food or beverage particles leftover from your previous wash. In addition, it's BPA-free, so none of that toxic material will ever get on your bottle, too. Its length ensures that you can reach the bottom of most water bottles and baby bottles.
10. Beyond Hope Baby Bottle Cleaning Set
Can’t decide on a specific size of bottle brush? Why not get five different sizes altogether? Any home is bound to have more than one bottle, after all.
The number of choices out there when you venture to pick out your bottle brush can be overwhelming. Hopefully, this list will help you narrow down the search and bring you one step closer to better hygiene and better overall health.
About the Authors: This article was collaboratively written by our team of researchers and writers with the benefit of all available scientific studies and other relevant literature. Our team of researchers and writers include experienced health researchers. Please note that information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment