The Brush Arsenal for Cleaning Your Small Appliances

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

If you’re using them often, whether for your morning caffeine infusion, afternoon smoothie, or daily dinner prep, kitchen appliances need a good interior and exterior clean about once a month. (Yes, that often.) These cleanings help remove buildup, reduce odors, and improve the functionality and lifespan of your everyday workhorses. And a good brush (or set of brushes) can help you get the job done with more ease and considerably less elbow grease.

(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

There’s no shortage of brushes waiting at the home store cleaning aisle, but which ones actually get the job done and warrant a place in your arsenal of appliance-cleaning tools?

Typically you’re tackling plastic, metal, glass, or a combination of the three (i.e., materials that are highly durable, but can and will scratch if you use the wrong tools). Stay away from anything abrasive, including steel wool, eraser pads, wire brushes, and heavy-duty scrub pads.

A paper towel or cloth and a spare toothbrush can do the trick in a pinch, but a few common tools and some new ones made specifically for small electrics can move the process along. Not to mention, it’s nice to be certain that brush is tackling grout lines and not gum lines.

1. Multi-Brush Set

For every appliance, there is probably an ideal brush, but if you’ve got a lot of appliances, a set of multi-functional brushes will save you some drawer space. The OXO Good Grips Kitchen Appliance Cleaning Set covers a lot of bases for a small price (less than $10). The four-in-one tool has a chisel tool, flat scraper, loop brush, and angled brush for impossible grooves and crevices.

2. Heavy-Duty Scrubber

All scrub brushes are not created equal, and the Lodge 10″ Scrub Brush earns its keep by keeping your cast iron in perfectly seasoned condition. The dense nylon bristles and long, ergonomic handle also make it ideal for other serious scrubbing jobs. It’s equally adept at cleaning appliance exteriors, coffee pots and kettles, and food processor bowls.

3. Vegetable Brush

No, this isn’t off-topic — this old-school kitchen brush attacks from all angles, which is exactly what you need for food processor blades, beaters, and handles. The horseshoe-like shape of stiff, slightly flexible bristles makes quick work of getting multiple areas at once, and it’s also gentle enough to brush down blender blades, juicer parts, and mesh screens in coffee filters. Fuller Brush Company (ask your grandmother about this once door-to-door company) still manufactures one of its very first designs as part of the Fuller 1906 collection.

4. Pipe Brush

Here’s the skinny, bendy workhorse you’ll need for all the teeny-tiny holes and cavern-like crevices. Getting inside and under to dislodge food particles and dust is the main purpose of a pipe brush, but there’s no shortage of possibilities —sippy cups and reusable straws, beware! Most often, you’ll find the pipe brush bundled in a set with multiple sizes or other brushes, like the OXO Good Grips Water Bottle Cleaning Set. It has a little bit of everything — pipe cleaner, scrub brush, and miniature detail cleaner.

Have you found a brush that’s become a part of your cleaning arsenal? Let us know in the comments!