Compostable dish brushes are pricier than their disposable plastic alternatives, but we use ours for so many things that the cost seems like it must be pennies by the time they (finally) end up in the compost. They begin their reigns cheery and new in a jar by the kitchen sink, and then slowly migrate to other areas of the house as the bristles wear down and the wood starts to turn a darker brown.
Prior to banishing the brushes from the kitchen for use elsewhere, I like to clean them well to make sure that they don’t just end up spreading kitchen dirt around. To clean them, I boil a large pot of water and let the brushes float in it for five or so minutes to sterilize them; you could also add a cup of white vinegar to the mixture for an added anti-microbial boost.
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Bottle brush (pictured above)
-Good for: Everything. The dish brush I reach for nine times out of ten, its shape is perfect for cleaning jars and bowls and glasses and pots and plates and, well, everything. If I could only keep one dish brush, this would be it. (And it would perform admirably).
-Reuse as: A toilet brush. You can buy a specific wooden toilet brush, of course, but it will be shaped almost exactly like this one. We like to save ourselves the trouble (and the forty bucks) and just clean and reuse an old kitchen brush.
Dish brush (with replaceable head)
-Good for: Cleaning flat surfaces, like plates, forks, and pans. Additionally, you can replace the head without replacing the whole brush, making it a more economical (and low-waste) option for those who foresee regular replacements.
-Reuse as: A cleaning tool. We’ve marked one as “cleaning” and store it in the cabinet underneath the sink; it’s shape is just right for scouring grosser spots, like the kitchen sink at the end of the week.
-Good for: Scrubbing the dirt from hardy root veggies, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips.
-Reuse as: A tub scrubber. Mark “Tub,” store in your bathroom cabinet, and never buy a plastic scrub thingy again.
Coir twisted brush
-Good for: Cleaning cast iron pans, and giving stains on pots and pans a really (really) tough scour.
-Reuse as: Frankly, I’m not sure! The super-stiff bristles don’t call to mind other uses. If you’ve got ideas, I’d love to hear them.
Other favorite compostable brushes / reuse ideas to share?
(Photos by Anna Zajac for Litterless).