Brushes are available in a wide range of different types and materials. Choosing the right brush will save you both time and money.
This Gopher Chooser Guide helps you with the selection of the most suitable brush for your cleaning task. This Chooser Guide can also be downloaded in PDF format at the foot of this page.
If in doubt about which is the correct pad to use, please seek guidance from us.
Types of brush
In general terms, there are two types of brush: push brushes or brooms.
This type of broom is normally constructed with a handle and broom head, the latter available in a variety of sizes and made from different materials. The standard sizes are: 12”, 24” and 36”. The largest of these types of brush are sometimes referred to as platform brooms. Typically they are wide and narrow, with an exposed length of brush fibre of approximately 100mm, they have a flat back, or block, and are used for sweeping large open areas, both external such as pavements, station platforms, and internal such large halls, reception areas, factory floors, etc.
As the name implies these brushed are handheld with short handles. Many come with attached dustpans for extra convenience. A handheld brush may also be helpful in cleaning up any tiny debris left behind after sweeping with a standard push broom.
Synthetic Brush materials
In general terms, brooms and handheld brushes are nearly always made with synthetic fibres, although brooms manufactured from natural fibres (bristles) remain available.
Broom heads with natural fibres have frayed ends that trap small bits of dirt, while synthetic brooms are chemically treated to attract debris. Both types of fibres are available in soft and hard variants depending upon the sweeping job at hand.
There are a wide range of synthetic brush fibres available; common variants include:
This is a light, resilient material used in many platform brooms and household brushes. Polypropylene can be used in hot water, but it should not be left in boiling water for more than a few seconds.
PVC has excellent wearing and sweeping properties, but has a tendency to "flick" in use. It can be used in a similar manner to polypropylene, but should never be used in temperatures greater than 65°C.
This material has excellent sweeping and wearing qualities and is used in a considerable number of household brushes, platform brooms, and dairy brushes. Nylon tends to feel softer when used in wet conditions.
Natural brush materials
Although a number of natural fibre brushes are available with a variety of sweeping and resilience characteristics, the most popular natural brush fibres sold include:
Bassine has good sweeping qualities, but is not resilient and may distort in use, especially when wet. It is mainly used in economy brooms and in mixtures for scrubbing brushes.
Coco is a low cost material with average wearing and sweeping qualities. It is liable to crush and distort and tends to flatten. It is largely used in economy platform brooms. Sometimes it is mixed with plastic fibres to improve its resilience.
A hygienic brush is one that is constructed in such a way, and of such materials, that it will not, in itself, absorb bacteria, or contaminate any food stuffs, or sensitive areas during its normal use. The brush materials are corrosion proof and non-toxic, and can withstand sterilisation and disinfection by other processes, including chemical treatment.
Hygiene brushes are often available in colours to assist with the colour coded segregation of cleaning tasks, such as in food environments.
Anti-microbial hygiene brushes
Anti-microbial hygiene brushes have a special silver based additive built into the plastic body of the brushes and also into the monofilaments. The additive enables the product to inhibit a broad range of moulds, mildews, and bacteria on the surface of the products. The anti-microbial products are designed for use in highly sensitive hygiene areas, such as medical environments.
Key factors to consider when buying a brush
When buying a brush, as with any cleaning equipment purchase, it is important match the equipment to the cleaning task. It is likely that in your workplace, there will be a range of different tasks and you should therefore plan to purchase a range of brushes for each distinct cleaning requirement. Some factors to consider include:
Will the brush be used inside or outside?
Brooms with soft brush fibres will generally be required for sweeping indoors, with very soft fibred brooms used for sweeping of fine dust/dirt on delicate floor surfaces. Stiffer bristles will be required for less regular floors where dirt can get trapped or ingrained.
In general, you will need a much stiffer bristle fibres for outside jobs, with the greater the load to be swept the stiffer the bristle.
Will the areas be large or small?
If a large area is to be swept, whether inside or out, you should use a wide platform broom. Ensure that the brush size, however, is matched to the size and physical capability of the operator, so that they do not tire quickly and cleaning productivity and effectiveness drops as a result.
Are there difficult to reach areas?
If there are difficult to reach areas, or sweeping with a broom leaves behind some dirt, then use a handheld brush. This will also be the case when sweeping areas above head height.
Are you sweeping sensitive areas, where hygiene considerations are paramount?
In sensitive areas, where the highest hygiene standards are required, you should consider use of either a hygiene brush or brush treated with anti-microbial agents. Such brushes should always be considered in sensitive healthcare or food preparation environments.
Choosing the right brush
Disclaimer: Every precaution has been taken to ensure that the information and advice given in this Gopher Chooser Guide is accurate and reflects current best practice. If you in any doubt on any matter in relation to the information or advice given then you should always take further professional advice. No responsibility for loss occasioned by any corporate body or individual acting or refraining from action as a result of using any material contained within any Chooser Guide shown on this site can be accepted by Gopher Supplies or its associated companies.
Version Update: January 2012