I Bought the $8 Cast Iron Brush Amazon Shoppers Love — Here’s How I Feel About It

updated Mar 27, 2020
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Cleaning a cast iron skillet with a brush in the sink
Credit: Joe Lingeman

If you love cooking with cast iron, you’ve likely experienced times when you absolutely don’t love cleaning it. I’m talking about those times when it seems like half your pork chops fused with the pan. Chiseling the stuck-on, sticky, greasy bits off is no fun, especially when you’re not really supposed to use soap for fear of dissolving your hard-won seasoning.

That’s why most cast iron pan lovers are always on the hunt for the perfect tool to make scrubbing their pans easier. Chain mail scrubbers generally earn solid reviews, but wouldn’t it be nice to find a scrub brush that could do the trick, and maybe be used on your stainless-steel cookware, too?

Credit: Danielle Centoni

That seems to be allure of Full Circle’s Tenacious C Cast Iron Brush and Scraper, which gets tons of five-star reviews and lots of love from Amazon shoppers. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Full Circle is a certified B Corp that produces cleaning tools made with renewable or recycled materials. This particular brush sports a bamboo handle and ultra-stiff nylon bristles made from recycled plastic — all good things. But is it really as amazing as Amazon shoppers say it is? I ordered one and put it to the test.

First impressions: The brush is certainly attractive and seems well made. The bamboo handle is smooth and solid. (Full disclosure: Some unhappy reviewers have experienced the head breaking off of the handle when they really press down to scrub their pots. After several weeks of scrubbing, mine still seems plenty solid and I press pretty hard.)

The bristles are dark gray to hide the discoloration that usually comes from cleaning cast iron cookware. After lots of use, the scrubber doesn’t look quite as gross as my usual scrub brush.

Credit: Danielle Centoni

But does it work? The bristles, which are supposed to be extra “tenacious,” are basically akin to what you’d find on a bathtub scrubber, with a more kitchen-appropriate look. In other words, you still have to use plenty of elbow grease. I’m also starting to see evidence that the bristles may get bent over time, which makes them less effective. Some reviewers have had a problem with this and also noticed that they’ll melt if used on a hot pan. (I let my pans cool before scrubbing so that hasn’t been an issue for me.)

Another critique: I wish the angle of the brush handle was a bit steeper. Because the handle is so straight, it’s hard to use the brush in deep, high-sided pots and to be able to use the full head of bristles.

What I liked: The little chisel tip at the top is super-handy for helping to pry off the really cooked-on stuff. And although this workhorse of a dish scrubber is meant for cast iron, I’ve been using it to clean stainless steel and brush crud off my dishes before loading in the dishwasher.

Bottom line: To me, $8 for an eco-conscious, good-looking, and pretty darn effective cleaning tool seems like money well spent. If you’re looking specifically for a cast iron tool, though, I still stand behind a chain mail scrubber.

What do you use to clean your cast iron cookware?