Foodservice Cleaning Brushes Buying Guide

Cleanliness and proper hygiene are a cornerstone to the foodservice business. Customers rely on it and organizations need it to ensure a safe and healthy environment for customers and staff alike. To do that, they need the proper tools to complete the job. 

Brushes are a simple, necessary tool. There are many specialized cleaning brushes used in foodservice to ensure proper cleaning and to be as efficient as possible. 

Grill cleaning brush and bottle brush

The three key elements of a great cleaning brush are the bristles, the shape and the handle. 

Cleaning Brush Bristles 

Short bristles are great for scrubbing, long bristles are great for delicate cleaning like brushing out a keyboard. 

Synthetic fibre bristles are the most popular option in foodservice. Synthetic fibre brushes are a great choice for durability and chemical resistance. Made of nylon, polypropylene or polyester, these brushes are antimicrobial and economical. 

Natural fibre bristles have a high heat resistance, good durability and acid resistance. These fibres include animal and vegetable fibres. Natural fibre brushes can tackle delicate jobs with soft bristles or can even handle tough scrubbing if the bristles are short and tightly packed. 

Wire filament bristles, such as stainless or carbon steel, can withstand high heat, remove rust and clean a grill in a flash. 

For cleaning brush bristles, one important feature is their ability to “bounce back” to their original straight shape. Once the bristles start spreading out (or breaking) their cleaning effectiveness decreases. 

Types of cleaning brush bristles

Cleaning Brush Shapes 

There are two main types of cleaning brushes – tube cleaning brushes or flat scrub brushes. 

Circular (Tube) Brushes 

You will want to consider the size and shape of the tools for each job, which comes back to the size and shape of the area or piece of equipment that needs to be cleaned. 

Round or cylindrical ‘tube style’ brushes are utilized to clean tubes and drains. If they are being used in the kitchen, you want to find the highest quality that can take the heat. Lower quality brushes may lose bristles more easily and create an unnecessary risk to food prep and service.  

Of course, if it’s a toilet brush you’re looking for, you’ll want a product that can stand up to chemical cleaners and will be durable. 

When buying a round brush, keep in mind that you need the diameter of the brush to be slightly larger than the tubing to be cleaning most effectively. If the tube brush is too loose, it will take multiple passes to properly clean the tube, too tight and you risk the bristles being damaged or the brush getting stuck. 

Tube brushes don’t always need to be straight, you will find many that are curved into specific shapes for optimal cleaning performance. 

Types of tube cleaning brushes

Flat (Scrub) Brushes 

Flat scrub brushes are fantastic multi-purpose tools and are offered in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and handle configurations. Flat brushes work best for cleaning flat, curved and large open surfaces. 

Find the brush that best suits the task and provide the most ergonomically designed option. Make it easy (and comfortable) for staff to keep all areas of your business sparkling clean. 

The trim angle of brushes or how the bristles are cut assists with keeping the bristles in constant contact with the surfaces being cleaned.  

Types of flat cleaning brushes

Cleaning Brush Handles 

Getting a good grip on the handle of the cleaning brush regardless of type is important for efficient cleaning. The length of the handle can be the difference between reaching the corner of a large fridge or freezer and needing to climb in to get the corners clean. 

Handles also assist with leverage and therefore added strength. Angled handles, longer handles and t-shaped handles are options you may find depending on the type of brush and the task it performs. 

When available, always choose the more ergonomically designed handle – staff will appreciate your thoughtfulness.  

Cleaning brush handles are typically plastic as they are easy to clean. However, some specialty brushes, like those used for high heat cleaning like grills and pizza ovens, have wood handles. 

Cleaning Brush Uses 

The two main areas foodservice businesses use cleaning brushes are kitchens and restrooms. Both areas are high-risk zones and therefore brushes from one area should not cross into the other. Consider using a colour coding system to make it easier for staff. 

Kitchen Cleaning Brushes 

Kitchens will utilize several different brushes from food prep to floor cleaning. Commercial kitchen of all sizes also rely on food brushes – pastry brushes and basting brushes. For more details on these specific brushes check out our Ultimate Pastry Brush Buying Guide. 

Brushes you will find in the kitchen include: 

Vegetable brushes 
Nail cleaning brush for the employee hand wash sink 
Cutting board brushes 
Dish brushes 
Bottle/jar brushes
Carafe cleaners 
Refrigerator coil cleaning brushes 
Grill/BBQ brushes 
Scraper brushes 
Coffee pot brush 
Tank/kettle cleaning brush 
Grout scrubbers  

Utility cleaning brush and long handles oven brush

Colour-coded brushes in the kitchen will help ensure food safety and prevent cross contamination. 

Organizations will want to keep colour coding simple. It is imperative to train staff, reinforce the colour coding with good signage and maintain good communications with all staff to make a colour coding system work to its greatest potential. 

When setting up the system, it is helpful to establish zones. For example, restrooms are a high-risk zone. Cleaning equipment for this zone should be kept separate from the kitchen zone to minimize the risk of cross contamination. Store tools in close proximity to where they are used and do not move equipment between zones. 

Bathroom Cleaning Brushes 

Consider keeping a janitorial cart for restroom cleaning. It’s a great way to organize and contain high-risk cleaning brushes, equipment and supplies. For more specific information on brooms and mops check our Cleaning Restaurant Floors and Commercial Mops, Wringers and Buckets Buying Guide. 

For a janitorial cart, consider including the following types of cleaning brushes: 

Utility scrub brushes 
Tile and grout brush 
Toilet brush 
Dusting brushes 

Why using the right cleaning brush matters? 

Food safety, employee safety, operational efficiency, customer service and good general hygiene are all important factors to businesses. Customers rely on the foodservice industry to provide them with a product that is safe to consume. They also prefer to frequent establishments that practice good basic hygiene.  

A sticky floor or dirty washroom leads customers to wonder about the cleanliness of unseen areas. If a business can’t keep the floor clean, are they able to keep the kitchen clean? 

Do not let your customers wonder - maintain a clean environment and solidify the public's confidence in your services. 

All businesses understand and evaluate efficiency. Having the right brush to complete tasks in a timely manner is a benefit to everyone. You certainly don’t want to see your staff struggle to clean the floor with a toothbrush when what you need is a long-handled floor scrubber. 

Please remember to inspect, clean and sanitize your brushes regularly. Rinse bristles with hot water and rub bristles with a cleanser. Inspect the base of the bristles for any remaining debris. Sanitize, rinse and leave in a clean place to dry. 

Keep customers coming back for the great food and dazzle them with your sparkling clean business.

Written by Breanne Baker

Shop our entire collection of cleaning brushes.