life in a tiny apartment.

April 16, 2014

Tip #100: Don’t be afraid to display scrub brushes.

Did you see that little number up there? 100 tips? Seems like a pretty big number for a blog about something so tiny, doesn’t it?

To celebrate the big 1-0-0, I’m answering a reader question about a subject near and dear to my neurotic little heart:

Scrub brushes.

Because this particular query struck a real kindred spirit kind of chord, I’m publishing the letter here for you all to enjoy as well. Can’t keep all the good stuff to myself, etc.

Dear RMTL,

I think we have too many scrub brushes. There’s the vegetable brush, the icky-pot brush, the bottle brush…. Each serves its purpose, but where does one put them all? I’m reluctant to stash them under the sink, esp. when they’re wet, but man do I hate looking at them. Seeking your sage advice.

(I’m willing to replace any/all of these brushes. Would sort of love it if they matched or at least went together. Is that anal? I’m sure you understand.)

A Faithful Reader

Ah, the scrub brush dilemma.

First let me direct you to this tip and reiterate that there is no question that said brushes should be matching and nice to look at. Being anal is my modus operandi. See below for links to the good stuff.

Once you actually like the look of your classique brushes, you will not be so bothered by looking at them. But you might become slightly preoccupied with trying to keep them in tip-top shape.

Enter the jar.

We store our three dish-washing brushes in a glass jar on our countertop, next to the faucet. The jar system came about less for aesthetic reasons and more because I was sick of replacing the brushes when they got grody. Given my low tolerance for creeping mold and soap scum, the replacement was happening more often than was wise or reasonable and something had to change.

The above brushes are about 4 months old and still going strong, mostly devoid of nastiness. After each use, they get a thorough rinse with hot water and they’re never left to languish in greasy dishwater. (I promise I’ve only brandished a soapy scrub brush in James’s face and hissed, “Rinse. This. And. Put. It. Back. In. The. Jar.” a handful of times. Victory for everyone involved.)

Note to germaphobes: I’m decidedly a neatnik, but not so much a true germaphobe. If the idea of using a scrub brush at all gets you ooged, sorry ’bout that. Bleach?

For the curious:
the dish brush.
the wool cleaning brush.
the tapered cleaning brush.

For tiny apartment survival tips #1-99, head here.

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  • Reply J and H from Beyond The Stoop April 16, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I do this too! but I also make the rule that they end of the brush must be angled over the sink, and not the counter. drips from the scrub brush that land on the counter might give me the heebeejeebees more than the scrub brush itself! now if only I could find a bottle brush that works on ALL my bottles… (sigh)

  • Reply DontBlameTheKids April 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    I have been trying to find a solution to the same problem. Where do you find large enough mason jars? I use Bonne Maman jars for make up brushes, cotton balls, etc (because we go through ridiculous amounts of jam in my house) but the jars aren't large enough for scrub brushes.

  • Reply Kristina April 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Congratulations on the 100th survival tip! I've read through all of them and have benefitted so much from your wisdom since I moved into a tiny apartment last September. I've been on the hunt for some more sustainable and prettier supplies for a while now, so this tip was right up my alley. I also love that all the brushes you suggest are "made in germany". This means they don't travel far for me and I'm supporting a local shop. Double win in my book 🙂

  • Reply Katie April 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I use a sponge and dish brush but I'm curious what do you use the other brushes for specifically? I might have to replace mine with something prettier!

  • Reply Kari April 16, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    I'm curious. Is washing dishes with brushes an East coast thing? I live in western Canada, and I've never seen anyone wash dishes with anything but a dish cloth and a scrub pad for stuck on stuff. What do you use those brushes for?

  • Reply Fey April 16, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    I'm a bit germophobic so it's good to know the brushes you mentioned can be used under boiling water. I can dip the brushes in soapy boiling water even for just a wee bit to disinfect them. 🙂

    By the way, how do you take the labels off bottles/jars? Is there an easy way to peel them off?

  • Reply aboontous April 16, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Related to dish washing, I was wondering what you do with rubber gloves? I keep mine on the stand beside the sink with the dish brush and washing up liquid for convenience but they're so ugly and yellow. Is there such a thing as rubber gloves in subdued tones?!

    • Reply Linlin April 16, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Google white rubber gloves.

  • Reply Liz Parsons April 17, 2014 at 2:53 am

    I took pottery classes for a while, and I find that my less than stellar pieces make good brush holders. Especially the ones I pressed too hard on and put a hole through the bottom–they drain. I think taller terra-cotta or another porous substance would work well for this, too.

  • Reply Little Miss Know-it-all April 17, 2014 at 9:50 am

    For those lucky enough to have a dishwasher, I do regularly put my single washing-up brush in regularly, though that may not be ideal for wood. I would do as I do when I am at my 98 yr old grandmother's – she uses rags as dishcloths and has ancient brushes but is extremely frugal and so I can't just replace them! We drink loads of tea so when I've filled the pot, I pour the remaining boiling water on the rag/brushes and leave them to cool while I drink the tea and when I'm clearing away the tea things, everything is nice and sanitised and can be put aside to air dry 🙂

  • Reply Sonya April 17, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I keep my scrub brushes in a clear vase next to the sink! Jars are too precious, I use them to store my freshly made juices and dry goods. Glad to know I'm not the only one who puts the brushes on display though!

  • Reply shdesign July 13, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    Do you use any of these as baby bottle brushes?

    • Reply Erin July 14, 2015 at 2:02 am

      Sometimes! But we do have a dishwasher, so we mostly put baby bottles in there!

  • Reply GalyaB November 14, 2015 at 4:22 am

    I used to think I’m moving to a tiny house, well, not any more 🙂 since it’s twice as big as your place. Your tiny place series are so encouraging! As for the brushes, I wanted to switch from stinky earth-unfriendly sponges to a brush to do my dishes. I never used one and would apreciate an advice wether the one with a handle is more convinient to use than something like this one

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