No one ever starts a conversation with, “Hey, check out my new toilet brush!” We just want one that simply does the job it’s supposed to do, and then we tuck it away out of sight when we are done cleaning the bathroom. Sure, the main purpose of any toilet brush is to scrub residue and germs out of our toilet bowl, and most toilet scrubbers on the market are able to do just that. But you may be unaware of just how many toilet brush options are on the market these days.
In our test of 16 popular toilet brushes, we spread a thin layer of miso paste under the rims and deep into the cavity of the toilet bowl, let it sit, and then scrubbed the surfaces with no added cleansers to see how effective and easy to use our test brushes were. And after using them all, the Great Value Closed Bowl Brush & Caddy(available at Walmart for $5.97) is the one toilet brush that offers a superior cleaning experience.
Our favorite silicone-bristle toilet brush Sellemer Bathroom Toilet Brush (available at Amazon) comes with a wall-mountable caddy that not only does a great job cleaning, but is also a conversation starter thanks to its rose gold color and surprisingly flat shape.
Here are the best toilet brushes we tested, ranked in order:
I come from a long line of thrifty women, so in name alone, the Great Value Closed Bowl Brush and Caddy speaks to me. But, more importantly, it’s a truly functional toilet brush that does a fantastic job.
An extra, protruding set of brush bristles on the posterior side of the handle (no pun intended), made specifically to clean under the rim works exactly as intended and leaves the bowl spotless. While other brushes have a similar feature, the extra bristles in this case are angled in such a way that you can easily flip the brush to get under the rim, no peeking your head in the bowl or contorting your wrist to work it under there.
The Great Value’s downsides are that it is not a terribly elegant choice, with its basic white plastic handle and caddy which, while sturdy, has a bigger footprint than most others. And while the holder itself does have vents, it’s enclosed at the top meaning it takes longer for the brush to dry after use.
All in all, we found that the shape of the brush and the ring of extra bristles that reach under the rim provide the best clean of any brush we tested without any extra effort on our part.
Behold, the Apple Watch of toilet brushes! The Sellemer bathroom toilet brush looks futuristic and is one of the only toilet brushes to warrant an unboxing video, on account of how un-toilet-brush-like it looks. (I did not make said video, but I’m certain my face was full of wonder and excitement when I first saw this thing.)
Thanks to its long, flexible, flat brush, it neatly slid under the rim of the toilet and scrubbed debris with ease. If your toilet brushes routinely pick up random potty detritus, toilet paper, or hair that might be hanging around in your toilet, consider the Sellemer toilet brush, which not only does a great job cleaning the entire bowl, but it was, itself, spotless after rinsing it off.
In general, we found that silicone bristles require slightly more elbow grease than plastic while scrubbing, but this brush still did a thorough job. One trade-off of cleaning with silicone in general though is how easy all silicone brushes are to clean.
The Sellemer has a small footprint if you store it on the floor, but it also comes with an adhesive that allows you to wall-mount the flat, rectangular holder, making it even more space-saving.
On looks alone, the Boomjoy is the one toilet brush I want on display in my bathroom. The description of the color is “elegant pink,” and I have to say that I find it very pleasing and, indeed, elegant.
When it comes to performance, Boomjoy works well. It even boasts my new favorite feature, which I didn’t even know I needed in a toilet brush: poop tweezers. These small plastic tongs are meant to extract any solid bits or hair out of the silicone bristles after you’re done cleaning your toilet, and it’s neatly hidden into a screw top of the handle.
The Boomjoy has a rounded head with silicone bristles, and while it cleaned well, it didn’t have the same flexibility as our winning silicone model, the Sellemer. This means we had to scrub a touch harder to really loosen any stuck-on solids.
Otherwise, the base is incredibly sturdy, the bristles are easy to clean, and, did we mention, it’s cute.
I’m Liz Kocan, and I’m the mother of two young boys, and therefore I spend the majority of time that I would otherwise be spending on that mythical thing called “self-care,” cleaning up after these wonderful, filthy humans.
If I may be overly candid, we are an “if it’s yellow let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” family, meaning that some days, we dare our toilet to see how long it can stand being peed in without getting flushed. (Never on asparagus days, though, we’re not monsters.)
While that’s great for water conservation, it means that we usually get a lot of mineral and residue buildup in our bowls, which is not pretty.
We challenged our group of toilet brushes to tackle dried-on miso paste—a sanitary substitute for pee, poop, and any other residues that linger in your toilet bowl. As we learned here at Reviewed, miso is often used as a poop substitute in the toilet industry.
After spreading a layer of miso on the toilet bowl, being sure to really get under the rim and as deep into the toilet cavity as possible, we let it dry with the lid up for at least one hour before using each brush. We did not use any cleansers—although we’ve tested toilet bowl cleaners, too; we were solely testing the merits of the brushes themselves to scrub away the debris.
What You Should Know About Toilet Brushes
I will start by saying that your toilet is as clean as you want it to be. Every toilet brush we tested (which range in price from $6 to $50) provided a satisfactory level of clean, but some required more elbow grease than others, some required multiple flushes to clear away or re-wet the bowl, and some committed the ultimate sin, splashing miso-flavored toilet water on my lip.
While there are one or two expensive outliers, even a smartly designed, aesthetically pleasing toilet brush won’t set you back more than $20.
How to Use a Toilet Brush
When I was a kid, my weekend chore was to clean the toilets in my home with a sponge. I would literally submerge my hand in the toilet water and scrub out the bowl, using nothing but my senses to alert me to its level of cleanliness.
Hand-scrubbing is still an option, of course, but technology has advanced and the amount of brushes on the market and the variety of features they offer is astonishing.
Traditional plastic brushes with round heads in cup-style holders still dominate thanks to their effectiveness and small footprint, but design details like ventilation holes and drip-catchers, silicone-grip handles, and brush heads that are shaped specifically to reach under the rim of the bowl are now widely available and make cleaning even easier than before.
Most toilet brushes have a similar aesthetic: Long wand with a round or oblong brush made of plastic bristles attached to the end. When our testing began, I was excited by the diversity of brushes now available, those with silicone bristles, others with wall-mountable holders, to say nothing of color choices.
To properly use the majority of brushes available, you can simply pour the cleaner of your choice, if you are using one, into the toilet bowl and under the rim, and then scrub the surface of the bowl to loosen and eliminate debris.
Some brushes offer an extension of bristles off one side to make scrubbing under the rim more accessible and to ensure that you can access hard-to-reach areas. Most brushes are also narrow enough to fit deep into the toilet’s cavity where hard-water stains can build up and require extra scrubbing.
Scrubbing pattern is a personal choice, some people may prefer to work from the rim down, while others might start beneath the water line. When using brushes with a round head, you can easily pivot and scrub at almost any angle comfortably, no matter how you approach the bowl, but we did find that non-traditionally-shaped brushes like the SimpleHuman, Holikme, and Sellemer required some very specific angling of the brush and our wrists, due to their flat shapes.
Do Silicone Toilet Brushes Work?
Don’t sleep on brushes with silicone bristles, they certainly have a lot of benefits. They are easy to clean and dry more quickly, thus inhibiting collection of stale, germy water and bacteria on the brush and in the holder.
Silicone also offers versatility with shape and size; two brushes we tested were flat, almost paddle-like with silicone bristles that were flexible enough to bend and glide up under the rim.
Silicone is also easy to clean when you’re done and doesn’t pick up as much gunk and hair as a traditional brush does. Silicone is also less likely to break and shed, as some traditional bristles are known to do.
But ultimately, it comes down to cleaning power, right? And for all the wonderful benefits that silicone offers, ultimately we preferred traditional nylon or plastic bristles, because with most of the silicone options we tried, they required more effort in order to get a thorough clean.
Does the Toilet Brush Holder Matter?
While most of the brushes provided a consistent level of cleaning, what made some of them pull ahead of the pack was the holder or canister housing the brush.
Have you ever considered just how many kinds of toilet brush holders there are and what they mean for the life of your brush? You’ve got your tall canisters, which look nice but provide little to no ventilation. You’ve got open-top storage cups, and wall-mountable options.
For those of you who have been done dirty by a brush holder that toppled over, spilling weeks-old, pooled-up toilet water on your floor, or who have zero floor space to even keep a toilet brush, there are now solutions to all of your problems.
How to Clean a Toilet Brush
Have you ever cleaned a toilet brush? I mean really cleaned it? I rarely think of it myself, save for a quick rinse in the clean toilet water or a rinse under the tub faucet, but during my testing, I came to appreciate the importance of not just cleaning, but disinfecting, my brush. Not only will it stay fresher longer, that also means it won’t have to be replaced as often.
Sure, you can lather a little bit of toilet cleaner into your brush and rinse it off for a basic clean, but to truly disinfect it, you may need to turn to the hard stuff. The best method for disinfecting your toilet brush is one that we recommend doing only after you’ve flushed any toilet cleaner out of your toilet: Add a capful of bleach to your toilet, and let your brush head soak for at least an hour before rinsing it with water. It’s also important to let your brush dry out before returning it to its holder, as bacteria thrives in moisture.
How often should you replace your toilet brush?
A general rule of thumb is to replace a traditional plastic toilet brush every six months, sooner if the bristles become dislodged or fall out, or if the brush smells despite regular cleanings.
Properly maintaining and disinfecting your brush can help to extend the life of it, too, which is a benefit of silicone brushes. As we mentioned above, silicone brushes don’t tend to retain as much moisture as their plastic counterparts, leading them to be more durable and less likely to harbor bacteria.
Other Toilet Brushes We Tested
HDX Bowl Brush with Caddy
When it comes down to cleaning power, the HDX Polypropylene Toilet Bowl Brush does a great job. So humble and unassuming is this toilet brush that in its product description it doesn’t even mention its most important feature, the bristle extension that slides underneath the toilet rim to clean out stuck-on residue with ease. While several models we tested have the same feature, the HDX requires less elbow grease, and it removed all of our dried-on miso paste without multiple flushings.
The main flaw with the HDX is how generic the brush looks. The white wand, which has a rubberized, gray handle, comes in a plain white, cup-style holder that’s open at the top. Unfortunately, this means the wand and brush are entirely on display (and the longer bristles that clean under the rim actually poke up over the rim of the brush holder slightly).
The open holder design does allow for airflow and the brush dries fairly quickly after use, but overall, it’s not something you’ll proudly display or want to call attention to.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have always used the OXO Good Grips Hideaway Compact Toilet Brush in my everyday life, and I use it for one big reason: Once the brush head looks like it cannot work another day in its life, you can unscrew it and replace the head without throwing the holder or handle away. I appreciate the slightly lessened environmental impact that the brush has as a result, and as a cleaning tool, it has always been effective, but there are very few bells and whistles.
When it comes to performance, it is a workhorse toilet brush that does what it sets out to do. The canister also opens and closes with ease so you don’t ever have to touch the bristles or holder to put it back in its place.
The reason the OXO falls toward the middle of the pack is simply because there are other, more effectively designed brush heads available. While the OXO bristles, which are plastic, work well and are neither too stiff nor too soft, you have to dig deep into the bowl to make sure they reach where they’re supposed to. The brush does a good job, but not a great one.
The Made By Design brush and holster are a small, clean-lined set that could look nice in bathrooms of any size, but are especially suited for smaller spaces. During our testing, the brush dried fairly quickly after use, but we experienced some splashback while cleaning, and found that the stiff bristles had trouble reaching under the rim.
Made of polypropylene, the holder and handle can technically be recycled when it comes time to replace it.
An excellent value, the brush does a decent job cleaning and has been thoughtfully designed to look more attractive than your typical toilet brush.
Bristles cause splashback
Holikme Toilet Brush and Holder
If you have lingering doubts about the effectiveness of silicone brushes vs. plastic bristles, the Holikme will not help.
While the brush holder (which is wall-mountable and comes with a special adhesive strip) is nearly identical in size to the Sellemer, the brush itself is markedly smaller and less flexible, and the bristles did not so much clean the debris away as smear it all over my toilet bowl.
The small head was narrow and flexible enough to fit deep into the toilet cavity to clean it, but unfortunately the head and many of the bristles bent after use. This brush had a harder time negotiating the underside of the rim as well.
For two products that seem so similar in every way, the Holikme didn’t come close to matching the cleaning power of the Sellemer.
The mDesign toilet brush is a tidy little toilet brush that comes in a dozen colors and will look nice if you leave it out on display. But at 16 inches in height, it’s short enough to get tucked into an under-sink cabinet to keep it hidden away.
I was initially suspicious of brushes like this one, which look like a little sword, complete with a grip and guard to protect your hand from splashes as you clean. In this case, the guard (which also acts as a lid when placed on the brush holder) was situated very close to the actual brush bristles, and dipped into the water once or twice while cleaning, meaning I needed to sanitize the whole brush as well as the handle when I was done.
The bristles on the mDesign proved a little stiff and created some splashback while scrubbing, too.
All of the brushes, including this one, which came stored in tall canisters did not thoroughly dry out between uses.
Tushy seeks to be the great disruptor of the toilet world. The company is known for its eco-consciousness, as well as clever, punny marketing—you can buy an assortment of the brand’s products in an “Assential Bundle” on its website.
The Tushy Brush itself is the one sustainable toilet cleaning option we tested. I didn’t think it could work as advertised, given the slim nature of the coconut husk pads that were slightly smaller than an SOS pad and that they affix to a metal and bamboo handle. But I was pleasantly surprised! They did indeed fit under my toilet rim, and they cleaned out all the gunk that I had left there.
Unfortunately, the pad fell off the handle not once, but twice, into my toilet bowl. Which means I had to fish it out. Upon further tests, I forcefully pressed the husk into the clips while holding the wand steady—admittedly not my ideal user experience, putting my hands all over the wand of a used toilet brush—and it stayed on during cleaning, but that was a hard lesson to learn.
The beauty of the Tushy is that the pads are compostable after use, making it a truly no-waste option.
I wanted to love the Tushy, but I found myself hoping that this great idea will be retooled so that its design might eventually be improved upon. It’s a great product, it’s just not quite there yet.
Aesthetically, the Project 62 Solid Modern Toilet Brush is the brush that’s equally at home in the restroom at your town’s local classy Italian restaurant, or your bachelor uncle’s guest bathroom.
Its tall black metal canister offers a minimal look that either says, “I have taste in things,” or “I never use this,” depending on where you find it. The trouble with metal toilet brush holders, in general, is that they’re inclined to rust. With this one in particular, it has a flimsy plastic lining on the interior that is meant to catch drips and prevent rust, but almost two weeks after using the brush, it never dried out completely.
The brush cleaned the toilet bowl effectively with some effort, it required some maneuvering since this one also has a guard attached to the handle that acts as a lid and was occasionally intrusive while we were trying to really get in there and scrub.
Clean, minimal design
Harder to clean with
Brush and canister remained damp
Home Basics Stainless Steel Toilet Brush
If you watch HGTV for any length of time, you’ll become acutely aware of our nation’s obsession with stainless steel. The Home Basics Stainless Steel Toilet Brush is made for those people who want a neutral bathroom brush that goes with any decor, love the modern look of stainless, and really want to hear the clang of metal on the rim of their toilet as they clean it.
This particular model is a canister that features a lid/guard built into the handle, and honestly, in case you haven’t gauged it from every other review above, I don’t care for this design feature. I found that it inhibits a good, deep clean or, worse, the lid itself touches the toilet or water and gets dirty itself. I just don’t want to have to clean the thing I’m cleaning with!
The brush handled cleaning the bowl well, despite the few times the handle dinged the side.
The product claims to be rust-resistant and is lined with plastic inside, but as a result of the plastic liner, the interior did not thoroughly dry for several days after we used it.
One of the key selling points of the Unger Plastic Toilet Brush and No-Drip Holder set—the one thing that sets it apart from every other brush we tested, in fact—is its flexible, bendy brush head. This is meant to be a selling point, at least. In my experience, this led to the brush bending at all times, not just when it was convenient for it to bend. I found myself regripping or holding it in ways that would help me get a better scrub, ways that I wouldn’t normally hold a toilet brush.
This flexibility only came in handy while I scrubbed the rim of the toilet, which is exactly as it’s intended, but the flexibility meant it would over-extend when I simply wanted to give the broader sides of the bowl a little scrub. The Unger’s holster design is also fairly attractive, it sits clipped into its open base, allowed to air out between uses.
I’ve always been a fan of Libman products for the fact that the brand often uses recycled materials in their cleaning tools, and they’re made in the U.S. In the case of the Libman Poly Fiber Toilet Brush and Brush Holder, the bristles are the only thing you’ll find here that are made of recycled materials, but it’s a start!
The bristles did a great job reaching all around the toilet cavity and the bowl itself, but their stiffness prevented them from effectively and thoroughly removing all of the dried-on miso residue from under the rim and required a flush to see what residue was left after an initial scrub. The toilet holder is well-ventilated and stable, but is slightly larger than average.
ToiletTree looks like the perfect apartment-sized toilet brush. Clean lines and a small footprint make it a nice design choice aesthetically, but it falls far shorter when it comes to functional design.
A plastic-bristled brush is nestled into this slim canister with a flip top, and while it takes no effort to take it out of the canister, there is almost no way to reinsert your damp brush back in without splashback, thanks to a very narrow opening and a poorly placed hinge that has a protruding lip on it. It’s a game of Operation, only instead of water on the knee, it’s water all over your (okay, my) Birkenstocks.
The brush itself provided a decent clean, but when you consider the fact that plenty of brushes offer a decent clean without actually making you struggle to put it back into its holder, the Toilet Tree was unnecessarily complicated.
While the Clorox Poly Fiber Toilet Brush offered a good grip thanks to a sturdy, rubberized handle, the brush itself was too fat and stiff to fit easily in the toilet cavity, preventing us from getting a deep clean all the way down. And, while it touts stiff bristles that offer superior scrubbing, the bristles also caused a little splashback while cleaning. It is, however, the only brush we tested that offers antimicrobial brush bristles.
Of all of the brush holders housing our test brushes, this one also had an issue with tipping over. It tapers slightly toward the floor, making it a bit top heavy. I accidentally bumped this one and it fell right over, causing us to test the rest of our holders for stability. This was the only one that tipped over every time when we bumped into it on purpose, a flaw that’s made even worse by the fact that it has no drainage or ventilation, and water pools at the bottom.
No ventilation or drainage
Simplehuman Toilet Brush
I wanted to love this brush, with its slim design and modern, stainless steel look. This one has a unique crescent-shaped design that promised excellent reach and stiff bristles designed to reach under the rim. But these stiff bristles caused serious miso-droplets all over my bathroom. Strike 1.
While the Simplehuman did manage to clean under the rim, the crescent shape made it difficult to effectively or comfortably clean any other parts of the toilet bowl. Perhaps my arm’s muscle memory is just too used to the 360 degree uniform shape of most other toilet brushes, but I found myself getting frustrated at the un-intuitive way I had to reposition the brush in many different angles. Strike 2.
The brush head is slim and narrow and is not effective at covering much surface area of the bowl. And while it’s narrow, its curve has a wide diameter that proved too large to thoroughly get into the inner cavity in order to clean that at all. Strike 3.
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