How to relax and love your natural brushes

I love a wooden handled nail brush in the bathroom. I also like a nice little vegetable brush, and a pot scrubbing brush and so forth. I have never found a plastic handled brush which sat in the hand as comfortably as a wooden handled one. My experiences with wooden handled brushes have been highly unsatisfactory. Regardless of how carefully I dried them, the wooden handle would rot and split. More expensive and better made ones had the same disheartening result. This can’t be right? we’ve used wooden handle brushes for hundreds if not thousands of years! They can’t just DIE from being used for what they are designed for?

Burstenhaus Redecker makers and purveyors of drop dead gorgeous wooden handled cleaning devices, offers a brochure on how to Maintain their products, essentially saying clean it properly and hang it up to dry. Fuller Brush offers no care and use instructions. Their response to direct inquiry was underwhelming at best. I tried really hard not to draw a comparison between a European company who wants you to keep their product for years and an American company who would prefer you throw it away and buy another one, but how can I not?

Wooden handled brushes are sold with either a light polycoating or a wax depending on price, which wash off in a few weeks of use. Then regardless of how well you dry wooden brushes which come into contact with water AND soap, they do what wood does: absorb water, swell and dry and become misshapen and cracked. I found the best thing to do is get the wood to absorb OIL so that it won’t absorb any water.

I took my two favorite and most expensive brushes and soaked their handles in Mineral oil for about 24 hours. Once saturated, I wiped off the excess oil, and now water just beads off. I think I may have to resoak them again before the end of the year but in 3 months, I have seen no evidence of the swelling or cracking that comes from repeated submersion. I can’t believe it took me that long to figure it out, oil saturation has always been the treatment for wooden salad bowls.

I tripped over this brush while I was looking for Bottle Brushes on Amazon. For $14, I let it languish on my Amazon wish list for quite a number of months until I had a solution to the cracking handle problem. Fuller’s “All Purpose Brush” with it’s Natural Tampico (Istle) Bristles (Istle being a class of Mexican plants like Yucca or Agave.) has turned out to be the ideal brush for scrubbing out Ball Jars. The wire teardrop shape fits into the neck and gets under the shoulder nicely. Unlike the cheap bottle brushes the wire is stainless steel and has shown no signs of rusting.