Foodservice Brush Guide

Commercial kitchen brush guide

A brush may seem like a simple tool, but the size and shape of a brush, along with the type of bristles it has, can impact how useful it is for different tasks in the kitchen. Specialty kitchen brushes can help you do everything from clean glasses to produce perfect pastries. Below are some of the most common foodservice brushes and how they can benefit your commercial kitchen.

Glass Brushes

Glass washer

Glassware can be difficult to clean, especially when the glass is tall and thin, with an interior bottom that's hard to reach. Glass brushes, which are long enough to easily reach the bottom of most glassware, help alleviate this problem. Most glass brushes come as part of a set of at least two, with suction cups that can attach to the bottom of the sink. Glasses can be placed over one of the brushes, with that one scrubbing the inside and the other cleaning the outside. The glass is then rotated to ensure it is scrubbed all the way around.

For more intensive or high-volume glassware cleaning, glass brushes on a glass washer may be a better option. These have one brush in the center with four around it, and each brush rotates so glasses can be washed with minimal turning. Because these brushes will wear out over time, replacement brushes are available.

Bottle and Decanter Brushes

Unlike glass brushes that are secured to the bottom of the sink, bottle and decanter brushes are handheld, allowing users to reach every part of the interior of bottles, tall glasses, pitchers, and decanters.

Bottle Brush

Bottle brushes feature stiff bristles on long handles to allow you to easily clean bottle interiors, and are also handy for cleaning the inside of glasses that are too tall for glass brushes. These are available with brushes of varying widths and handles ranging from 8 to 25 inches long to accommodate bottles of different sizes. Some bottle brushes also feature bristles along a curved or angled shaft, allowing you to easily scrub the sides of curved bottles as well as the bottom.

Decanter Brush

Decanters generally have a more dramatically curved side wall than bottles, so brushes made to clean them need to be designed to reach those walls. With a short handle and deeply curved brush, these brushes can easily clean the interior of coffee decanters and other containers where the bowl is much wider than the neck. Some of these brushes have a hole in the handle to make it simple to hang the brush near the dish sink.

Fryer Brushes

Fryer Brush

Keeping your fryer clean is essential to keeping it in peak condition. Fryer brushes are available in multiple shapes to make it simple to clean different types of fryers. Each of these brushes has a long handle to reach the bottom of the vat, though some are L-shaped or curved to scrub the undersides of heating elements or burner tubes. Fryers should be cooled down before cleaning, though most fryer brushes are heat resistant to help protect them from damage.

Rods for cleaning clogs out of the fryer drain line are also available here, as are straight fryer brushes that can help break up bits of sediment that might be stuck to the interior walls of the drain line.

Cutting Board Brushes

Cutting board brush

Cutting board brushes are roughly hand-sized, with plastic bristles across one side of the brush. These brushes generally have a loop or hole on the end so that they can be hung from cutting board rack hooks. These brushes are available in a wide range of colors, making it simple to keep brushes paired with specific cutting boards to help prevent cross contamination.

Cutting board brushes can be used to clear debris such as produce peels and seeds off the board, and can also be used to clean the board. These brushes are dishwasher safe, so they can be washed easily if food gets stuck in the bristles.

Basting and Pastry Brushes

These brushes are used for spreading butter, oil, egg washes, and other glazes on baked goods or roasting meat. These can be made from natural and synthetic materials.

Natural hair brush

Boar Bristle Brushes

Traditional basting brushes, also called natural brushes, are made out of sanitized and bleached boar bristles. This results in a soft brush that is capable of brushing liquids across the most delicate pastries. While round brushes are available for more detailed work, most basting brushes are flat and wide, with widths ranging from 1 to 4 inches. Natural pastry brushes generally have short wooden handles, though longer handles are available for basting food in an oven without reaching into the heat.

Synthetic Brush

Synthetic Basting Brushes

Some chefs prefer to use synthetic basting brushes with nylon or silicone bristles because they are easy to clean and can be color-coded for specific uses. Nylon bristles have a similar texture to boar bristles, while silicone bristles are much thicker with a texture that helps retain liquids. These pastry brushes are heat resistant and have plastic handles of varying lengths. Some synthetic basting brushes have hollow handles that can hold liquid, such as a glaze, which is then dispensed through a hole at the base of the bristles.

Kitchen Cleaning Brushes

Scrub brush

Kitchen cleaning brushes include a wide variety of brushes to fill the gaps left by specialty brushes. These kitchen brushes include wire-bristle brushes for oven decks and broilers, soft car wash brushes, and long floor scrub brushes. Many of these brushes are available as heads only, meant to be mounted on a screw-on handle, while others have the head and handle as one piece. Some of these scrub brushes also have scrapers built onto one end of the brush for stubborn messes. General scrub brushes are available with plastic bristles in a variety of colors to help you keep your brushes organized.