The Best Toilet Brush

There’s extra to rest room brushes than most individuals notice. We realized this by speaking to lots of people who spend their lives enthusiastic about bathrooms, germs, cleansing, and sanitation. (We additionally cleaned a variety of bathrooms.) Our consultants embody:

  • Charles P. Gerba, PhD, professor of microbiology and environmental sciences on the University of Arizona. He is nationally famend for his work on family microbes, microbial dangers, and disinfectants.
  • Managers of residential and industrial cleansing companies at Merry Maids, Don Aslett, and Clean My Space.
  • Michael Delevante, vp of product improvement at OXO.
  • Pamela and Katherine Gibbins, a mom and daughter with a mixed 38 years {of professional} house-cleaning expertise. They examined brushes and took notes on brush efficiency.

Beyond these interviews, we learn by means of the related sections of medical journal articles, cleansing guides and blogs, and the ebook Where the Germs Are: A Scientific Safari, by science journalist Nicholas Bakalar.

We additionally spoke with James Walsh, vp of product administration for lavatory producer American Standard.

You seemingly have a bathroom brush already, however you shouldn’t preserve it round endlessly. Most folks in all probability have brush holders which can be festering with hidden germs, and we’re ready too lengthy to switch them.

Many of the consultants we talked to urged changing your rest room brush “each few months” or “when you may see the bristles are bent.” You can sensibly lengthen the lifetime of your brush when you often spray it, in addition to its holder, with disinfectant or bleach resolution. But it’s not simply micro organism that ought to immediate a toilet-brush alternative. As you put on out and flatten your brush’s bristles, you may ultimately begin to scrape the deal with itself towards the porcelain, inflicting scratches—and creating new locations for germs to cover.

Photo: Sarah Kobos

Most folks attempt to not suppose an excessive amount of about what they’re doing once they clear a bathroom. But once we actually thought of rest room cleansing for our exams, we realized that the perfect rest room brush should meet some key standards. The brush has to achieve all of the elements of the bathroom bowl and scrub the bowl successfully. The holder must be secure, simple to wash, sufficiently small to slot in a good rest room, and designed to permit the comb head to dry. The brush deal with have to be lengthy sufficient to maintain your fingers clear however brief sufficient to allow you to work across the bowl, and ideally be clad in a pleasant grippy materials. And the comb ought to be low-cost sufficient that you simply’ll substitute it often with out giving the acquisition a second thought.

Applying this standards, we started with a subject of greater than 45 brushes. Some have been prohibitively costly—actually, a bathroom brush shouldn’t be a giant funding. Many may very well be purchased at just one or two shops or on-line retailers, in order that they weren’t handy to switch when wanted. Most brushes merely had nothing to differentiate them from tons of of different low-cost, white plastic brushes. And some had horrible critiques. We seemed for brushes that individuals favored, with some primary characteristic to separate them from the pack, and a mixture of value and availability that might permit readers to simply purchase one now and substitute it annually.

After narrowing the sphere to eight finalists, we did the plain factor: We used them to wash bathrooms. We used every of the eight brushes to wash three completely different bathrooms which can be utilized by actual people, at an workplace and in two completely different households. To assess every one’s cleansing capability, we did visible inspections and watched for the form of protection and scrubbing energy the bristles supplied towards the bowl, particularly within the hard-to-reach spots like down on the outlet and up below the rim. We additionally judged every toilet-brush holder to see whether or not it was simple to wash, exhausting to tip over, and designed to let moist bristles dry out after use. Then, to get extra suggestions on our picks, we gathered 24 (surprisingly opinionated) mates and acquaintances—13 males and 11 girls—who supplied their judgments on the looks, design, and options of our finalists.

In 2020, we examined 4 new brushes, three of which had silicone bristles. For this second spherical of testing, we took the identical method: having a number of folks use and analyze the brushes and their holders in a real-world setting.

We examined a further three brushes and one “rest room mop” in 2021, to see if any silicone choices had improved and to see if we might discover a finances brush that might make often changing it much less of a trouble.

Photo: Sarah Kobos

Our choose

OXO Good Grips Compact Toilet Brush and Canister

Cleans nice, seems to be clear

The OXO has the perfect bristles of any brush we examined, with a lovely base that conceals the comb whereas nonetheless letting the pinnacle dry out. And its brush head is replaceable, lowering waste.

Buying Options

The reasonably priced OXO Good Grips Compact Toilet Brush and Canister is the best-performing set we examined. Its brush has glorious bristles that cleaned higher than these on every other brush we examined, and the OXO’s holder completely hides the enterprise finish from view and is immensely satisfying to make use of. This set isn’t the most affordable, however it’s a higher deal than any of the dearer fashions we noticed (together with others made by OXO).

The OXO’s brush-hiding caddy feels virtually magical in apply, opening and shutting seemingly with none effort. The magic is pushed by a spring-loaded, weighted hinge within the base that flips the holder open while you pull up on the comb. It stays open, then closes while you insert the comb once more. There are literally two items contained in the caddy: a strainer-like higher space that cradles the comb bristles whereas letting residual water drip out, and a decrease basin that catches no matter comes off the comb so the comb isn’t sitting in its personal muck. Unlike the strong reservoir caddies with cheaper brushes, this one lets the bristles utterly dry between makes use of. The caddy’s 5-inch diameter additionally feels secure, such as you gained’t simply tip it over.

When you first use the OXO’s brush-hiding caddy, it feels virtually magical. Photo: Sarah Kobos

The OXO’s smooth base is its most defining characteristic, however its superior bristles are what gained over our testers. They’re organized on the comb head with two stiffness ranges: The white bristles on the high of the pinnacle are stiffer, for under-rim cleansing, whereas the longer, blue bristles on the underside present extra give as you scrub the bowl. A corrugated texture lets every bristle choose up substantial grime with out flicking a lot water.

You can purchase a replaceable head for the OXO from Amazon, and you may often discover the heads in inventory at Target or Bed Bath & Beyond. The plastic on the alternative head we purchased match completely, however the coloration wasn’t a precise match. Be certain to not throw away the black plastic coupling in your brush while you discard the pinnacle (a feminine finish)—you’ll want it to connect a alternative head.

The OXO has a barely shorter deal with than different brushes we examined, so it’s simpler to retailer in an undersink cupboard. Photo: Sarah Kobos

With an general size of 16½ inches, the OXO Compact is an inch or two shorter than its OXO cousins and our runner-up suggestion. This shorter size is a plus, since cleansing with the longer fashions at instances felt considerably punishing. The OXO’s size additionally means it’s simpler to retailer the set in an undersink cupboard.

Like many brushes, the OXO is obtainable in a number of colours (white or grey). So there are some choices to assist mix it into your decor.

For a number of years and thru a number of alternative bristle heads, an OXO rest room brush has been often used on the home of Wirecutter senior editor Harry Sawyers. “I simply pulled it out from behind the bathroom to offer it a superb look over (and washed my fingers earlier than returning to the keyboard),” he experiences. “It’s in good condition. I haven’t handled it terribly however have hardly pampered it. I shake the comb out vigorously between makes use of, and whereas I see just a few discolorations wanting down deep within the crevices of the bottom, there’s no buildup within the a part of the cradle the place the comb sits. With a sanitizing wipe, a paper towel, somewhat alcohol, and an previous chopstick, I can get it again to almost new form in a couple of minutes.”

Though we love the look of the OXO, that intelligent caddy design could be a bit difficult to wash. The hinges, particularly, can lure water and muck. Air does flow into throughout the caddy, however you’ll expertise faster drying when you shake out the comb earlier than stowing it.

A peek contained in the OXO’s base. It seems to be nice and hides mess, however could be troublesome to wash. Photo: Sarah Kobos

And though alternative heads aren’t so costly, they’re exhausting to seek out on a variety of retailer cabinets. (We get ours on Amazon.)

Photo: Sarah Kobos


Simplehuman Toilet Brush

Stylish and strange

The Simplehuman brush has a sleeker look than every other we tried, and the caddy permits the replaceable brush head to air-dry shortly. But the distinctive brush design takes some getting used to.

Buying Options

If the OXO shouldn’t be out there, otherwise you’re prepared to take a position somewhat extra for an aesthetic improve, we additionally just like the Simplehuman Toilet Brush. Whereas the opposite brushes all sport a discreet, utilitarian look, the Simplehuman—with its chrome steel shaft, smooth caddy, and white pommel deal with—is designed to be observed. It’s additionally a strong cleaner with a pleasant, if uncommon, brush and a slender caddy that may match within the tightest of spots.

The Simplehuman’s brush seems to be extra just like the helmet of a Spartan warrior than a toilet-cleaning device. Like the OXO’s, the Simplehuman’s bristles stroll a pleasant line between the stiffness wanted to clean tight angles and the pliability required to evolve to the curved sides of a bathroom bowl. Protruding from a central hub in a round sample, the uppermost bristles level practically straight up and are perfect for getting the underside of the bathroom rim. The bristles on most brushes, like these on the OXO, stick out solely horizontally, so the deal with must be lowered to actually scrub below the rim. The uncommon design of the Simplehuman head takes somewhat getting used to. “It took some time for me to determine maintain it,” one tester stated.

Like the comb, the Simplehuman caddy combines type with operate. It has a large, open again that freely lets air in and across the brush for fast drying. This sizable opening additionally permits for straightforward cleansing of the caddy, one thing we will’t say in regards to the OXO.

The caddy additionally has a small magnet on the high that holds the comb in place, suspending it above the underside of the caddy. This magnet additionally makes it doable to select up each the comb and the caddy simply by lifting the comb deal with—a pleasant choice to have while you’re relocating a moist brush. The draw back of that is it may be difficult to get the comb out of the caddy. On the primary few tries, we ended up trying to jiggle the magnet free and even knocked the caddy over at one level. Once we found out that you simply first must tip the deal with away from you to disengage the magnet, it was a simple course of. (Just bear in mind that if somebody is unfamiliar with this course of, like a visitor, they could have a tough time.)

Finally, due to the Simplehuman brush’s form, the caddy is about 3½ inches extensive, slimmer than many we discovered, together with our foremost choose. So the Simplehuman is an efficient choice when you have restricted house between the bathroom and wall.

The construct high quality of the Simplehuman may be very good, and it feels a lot sturdier than every other brush we examined. The steel shaft provides heft, and the deal with connections and the bristles all look like secure and safe. Replaceable heads are additionally out there. The general high quality mixed with the caddy’s nice options and the comb form’s performance justify the comparatively excessive value of the Simplehuman, which is usually within the $25 vary.

Photo: Sarah Kobos

The IKEA Bolmen rest room brush was the most affordable brush we checked out. We hoped the minimal value would make the prospect of changing the comb typically rather less onerous. While our testers discovered it did the job properly, (with one, who cleans bathrooms professionally, even preferring it to our OXO choose), we expect the mix of a greater holder and the good thing about solely changing the pinnacle as a substitute of the entire brush is definitely worth the dearer price ticket of our choose.

We additionally examined the Mop-it Bowl Brushes after readers commented on their love for “rest room mops.” These—they got here in a pack of 4—plastic dealt with scrubbers look a bit like an outsized q-tip, utilizing the fluffy sponge like fibers to each absorb liquid and unfold cleaner across the bowl. They have been efficient at evenly spreading cleansing fluid and did an honest job scrubbing, however and not using a holder they turned an annoyance after every cleansing (we ended up utilizing a bucket to retailer them whereas testing). Also a budget plastic handles aren’t nice to carry.

In an effort to discover a non-plastic choice we tried out the Loho Wonderz Natural Coconut Fiber Brush. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include a holder and the form of the pinnacle does not cowl a lot space when scrubbing, so it takes longer than the others. It additionally lacked a replaceable head.

We’ve examined 4 brushes with silicone bristles: the Sellemer Toilet Brush and Holder Set, the Boomjoy Toilet brush and holder, the Costom Silicone Toilet Brush and Holder (presently unavailable), and the TreeLen Toilet Brush Set (presently unavailable). Brushes like this have not too long ago proven up at a wide range of retailers, however sadly, none of them have been excellent in any respect. These brushes have been a lot softer than common bristle brushes we’ve examined and didn’t do a superb job of scrubbing. In addition, all three suffered from design flaws, reminiscent of flimsy handles (one in every of which unscrewed whereas we have been utilizing it) and too many pointless nooks and crannies, the place germs might cover.

From the skin, the Libman Designer Bowl Brush & Caddy seemed like an incredible contender: It’s low-cost, has a replaceable brush, and incorporates a holder that closes however has loads of venting and cleansing entry—and it’s made within the US in addition. But then we used it. The bristles on the comb have been the stiffest of any we tried and organized in spaced-out clusters. If there’s any liquid on the comb while you attempt to slide it again into the holder, it might flick again a variety of water. Cleaning the holder entails both some pinched-finger strikes or dropping the entire thing in some disinfectant after which drying it out. Pass.

We have been fast to dismiss rest room brushes whose holders didn’t permit for airflow, in addition to those who had no holder in any respect. In the latter class, that meant eliminating the swab-style Fuller brush and a really low-cost wire-ring brush. With no place to retailer these brushes, even after drying, there was simply an excessive amount of germ unfold for us to advocate that you simply stash them below your sink or stand them upright in your ground.

Then there have been different holders (such because the Home Basics bronze brush and holder) that have been too good for their very own good: fabricated from heavy granite or different stones, reactive metals, or matte white surfaces that might by no means survive unstained.

When you seek for rest room brushes on Amazon or simply at your native retailer, you’re additionally prone to discover skinny wands with clamps designed to be fitted with “scrubbers” or “refills.” The pitch for utilizing disposable or flushable rest room cleaners is seemingly apparent: Flush, or throw away, the half that touches the bathroom, then cover the wand someplace out of sight.

If you purchase the Clorox ToiletWand starter package from Amazon, you may clear your rest room six instances for about $12. The value of alternative pads varies wildly on Amazon, relying on how dedicated you’re to the system. The pads are individually wrapped, and the “wand” shouldn’t be notably sturdy; it’s not exhausting to seek out critiques that point out snapped heads. Some corporations ask that you simply throw out their pads, whereas others declare their pads are flushable. But your wastewater therapy plant, your septic system, and sure your landlord or plumber would actually relatively not clarify it once more: Do not flush something besides waste and bathroom paper.

As cleansing columnist Jolie Kerr put it: “(Disposable pads) engender lazy cleansing. They don’t do an excellent job, they don’t substitute an precise scrub brush, and it’s simply as inconvenient to should stash these refills as to maintain a bathroom brush. They’re the microwave meals of cleansing.” She went on to say, “You nonetheless should put the pads on the wand, which suggests touching the highest of the comb. Do you wish to often contact the highest of your rest room brush?”

We notice that our suggestion of shopping for a plastic rest room brush and changing it yearly shouldn’t be environmentally benign. But in case you are rigorous in cleansing your rest room brush and its holder, and also you control the power of the bristles, you may lengthen the usable lifetime of your brush, minimizing waste. In both case, we imagine that changing a strong brush every so often is healthier than common disposal of chemical-rich pads and their packaging. Ecological prices apart, from a private dollars-and-cents standpoint, a primary brush is definitely much more reasonably priced.

Tank components, these tablets or discs that may flip your rest room water as blue as a sports activities drink, are additionally a nasty concept. These discs seem to be a simple and maintenance-free choice, as they’re designed to be dropped into the tank, the place they dissolve over time, spreading disinfectant round the bathroom bowl with each flush. But in keeping with James Walsh, vp of product administration for lavatory producer American Standard, the fact is extra difficult. “We don’t advocate utilizing in-tank cleaners as a result of they may void your guarantee,” he informed us throughout an interview. “They will assault the working tank trim within the tank itself.” Basically, these tablets flip the standing water within the tank right into a caustic liquid, which may warp the rubber elements required to maintain the flushing mechanisms functioning. Over time this will result in leaks and sometimes forestall the bathroom from flushing fully.

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