Cleaning with brushes ... and

8 March 2011
I believe the best way to clean well in the kitchen, without harsh chemicals, is to use hot water, soap and a variety of brushes.  The brushes in the photo are those I use in my kitchen every day.  I have a dish brush, a scrubbing brush, a small round brush to get into smallish spaces, a toothbrush for cleaning around the taps and the top of the drain and, of course, a bottle brush for cleaning out metal water bottles, preserving jars, ginger beer and cordial bottles.

Brushing will give you a deep clean without ruining the surface of any appliance, pot or plate. If you use hot water and soap with a brush to clean, then rinse that off with hot water and dry, you'll get a very clean result.  The answer to whatever kitchen cleaning question you have is usually elbow grease, hot water and soap, not smearing on chemicals.  Who knows what reside gets left behind with the chemicals. 

You don't hear much about brushing as a way of cleaning but that's not because it doesn't work.  It's because no one makes money out of it.  I'm here to tell you it works well.  Try it, I'm sure you'll be surprised.  Don't forget to disinfect your brushes regularly and they'll last a long time.

I've been contacted by two respected organisations who want as many of us as possible to complete surveys for them. The first is an Australian organisation, the Simplicity Institute. Now that simple living is being seen in the mainstream as a viable alternative lifestyle, I think it wise for us to talk about how we live. I hope you have time for these surveys.

If you live a 'simple' lifestyle in one way or another, we need your help!

The Simplicity Institute is an organization dedicated to research and policy analysis around the topic of simple living, downshifting, and similar lifestyles. This research is profoundly important as it touches the core of global problems such as climate change, over-consumption, work-life balance and a host of other social and ecological issues.
The Simplicity Institute's current research project is focused on people who have chosen a 'simpler' lifestyle, including changes such as reduced or restrained income, reduced consumption or reduced working hours.

If this sounds like you, then you are part of the most promising social movement on the planet. Learning more about people like you is therefore extremely important, so if you can spare 4 minutes to answer some quick questions then please do! As an added incentive, if you participate you'll go into the draw to win an exciting book package on the topic of 'simple living'.

To learn more and help build a better future, 

The second is:

We are a group of students from the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Florida International University. We are currently conducting a study on social media, bloggers and participants as part of our Communication Research course. As a blog publisher, we would greatly appreciate your sharing with us your opinions on various topics related to your blogging experience by filling out a short survey. Although participation is completely voluntary and you can decline participation, we do value your perspective and knowledge and therefore hope to have your response.

As our research attempts to learn about blog readers too, we would ask you to kindly distribute the survey link to your automated mailing list or post it on your blog.

The survey will take you no longer than 10 minutes to complete and you can access it through the link below:

This survey is anonymous and does not require any identifying information. We can assure you that data will be kept confidential and results will be aggregated in a way that individual responses cannot be linked to their sources.

Please pass these links along to your networks.

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day in Australia. I've been asked to speak at a local Women's Day function. I'm not sure how many people will turn up but I know we'll have lunch, talk and have fun. I hope you enjoy your day too. Do you celebrate International Women's Day? Are you doing something special?


  1. I do love using brushes! I have a lovely dish-brush that has a bamboo handle and a replaceable head, but I'm always hoping more brushes will come available which are made of entirely natural substances. They are hard to find. Mostly plastic in stores.

  2. old and used toothbrushes are very handy indeed!

  3. Could you please tell me how I could clean the tea stains from the spout of my glass tea pot. I wash it regularly with soap and hot water, but I am unable to get into the small space in the spout, resulting in a rather unsightly tea stain. Please advise!

  4. I use brushes too. I need to get a new bottle brush, I've had it since my daughter was born - she'll be 5 in May. We have really hard water and there is build up all over the place. Plus the brissels are starting to fall out.
    Have a wonderful day!

  5. EE, get a thinnish piece of cleaning cloth, fold it into a triangle then roll it into a tube. You'll have a thickish piece in the middle with two long thin ends. Wet it thoroughly and dab on some baking soda/bicarb so that it sticks to the tube. Thread the tube through the spout - you might need to poke it through with a skewer - and pull it back and forth to rub the stains. Once you've removed most of it, soak the teapot in a large bowl, or your sink, with 2 tablespoons of baking soda/bicarb added. Leave for a couple of hours and the stains should be gone.

    Sometimes you can find very fine bottle brushes in baby shops or brewers shops. One of those, if you can find one, is excellent for those difficult jobs.

  6. Part of the challenge with using brushes (as shown in photo) is that they are dreadful collecters/keepers of bacteria. So they need to be boiled after use, which is hard on brushes. And, for that matter, boiling won't kill virus spores. So that leaves bleach or some other disinfectant -- which, of course, is the whole point.

  7. No International Women's Day celebrated here in South Africa that I know of.....probably because we have our own annual public holiday on 9 August (since 1994) called National Women's Day.

    Here's what the Internet says:

    "On 9 August 1956, 20 000 women staged a march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act (commonly known as the pass laws) of 1950. The pass laws meant that all black people were to carry a special “pass” or identification document which they had to produce to prove they were permitted to enter a certain area designated for white people. This was a major law of the apartheid regime and greatly restricted the freedom of movement of black people. They left bundles of petitions containing more than 100 000 signatures at prime minister J.G. Strijdom's office doors. Outside they stood silently for 30 minutes, many with their children on their backs. Those who were working for Whites as nannies were carrying their white charges with them. The women sang a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint'Abafazi Wathint'imbokodo!(Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.). In the 54 years since, the phrase (or its latest incarnation: "you strike a woman, you strike a rock") has come to represent women's courage and strength in South Africa."

    Now in 2011, living in post-Apartheid South Africa has its own challenges, but nothing like the oppressed in those days faced.

  8. brokedownlife, you don't need to clean with sterile brushes, or cloths for that matter. Do you boil your tea towels or dishcloths after each use? No, they just need to be clean. Every week you soak your brushes in peroxide and water to disinfect them. The aim of cleaning is never to kill EVERY bug, just the harmful ones.

  9. I love brushes, and have a number for inside and out, and enjoy poking about in the brushware section of shops to see what's new.

    I'm having two International Women's I'm going to the local aboriginal centre where celebrations will involve bush foods and traditional women's activities.

    Then tomorrow, the Women's Service that I volunteer with is holding an afternoon tea party, where we'll all get frocked up in our best garden party gear, and not only have lots of pretty treats, music, a school choir to sing for us, and local belly dancers to entertain, but will be presenting awards to 10 women of the Tweed who have been nominated by family, friends or peers as outstanding women in their contribution to the community and women. This is our third year to do this, lots of hard work and planning, but a joy to see the pride on the face of the woman in her 80's celebrated for years of quiet service to meals on wheels, or the more high profile women equally proud of their nomination.

    They will both be wonderful days in very different ways.

    Enjoy your day today Rhonda, I hope you get a good crowd. What will you speak about?

  10. Nanette, the theme this year is Women's Achievements, so I' talking about what I've been up to this past year and also my involvement with the Neighbourhood Centre and the women I work with there.

    I hope you enjoy your functions.

  11. Good morning Rhonda, I agree about brushes. Cheap artist brushes in a small size are good for getting into corners of delicate items eg: ornaments or clocks, computers.

  12. oh, i adore our brushes. i've got a bristly one for dishes that has been going for two years now. a strong brush is excellent for getting the green haze off the deck in the spring. i've just invested in some bottle brushes, with all the preserving we've started to do, i usually use straight vinegar to clean them, if necessary, usually just soap and hot water. wonderful, essential tools. x

  13. What happens here on International Women's Day is there is forums for the advancement of women usually run by the local council and sometimes on the kibbutz we have workshops on a variety of subjects.

  14. No we do not! (celebrate International Women's Day) :(
    This needs to change.

  15. Hmm, it sounds like I need to invest in some good brushes. It would save my wrists which tend to go wonky when I scrub too hard. Now to go find a source for them here in the States. Any ideas?

  16. Love this post! and the idea that we don't hear much about cleaning with brushes because they are sustainable not disposable. Thank you for reminding us that there are excellent alternatives to what we've become accustomed to.

    Rhonda, when you clean the brushes themselves, what ratio peroxide to water do you use, and how long do you soak them?

  17. Helen, you can buy different peroxide strengths - but generally they're 3%, 6% or 35%. I pour a cup of white vinegar into a wide mouth jar and add ¼ cup 3% peroxide and soak for 12 hours, or overnight. You can reuse this mix for two or three weeks.

  18. Rhonda Jean,
    This is perfect timing. I got my copy of Martha Stewart Living magazine in the mail yesterday and she had an article in there about cleaning with brushes. I love brushes too.
    Have a wonderful day.

  19. As a cloth nappy user, I'm a fan of using sunlight as a sanitiser. I place my mop and scrubbing brushes and loo brushes out in the sun every now and then.

  20. Thank you so much for your advice. I will try doing it as you suggested.

  21. Brushes are the BEST! I ditched those obnoxious round toilet bowl brushes years ago and replaced it with a sensible styled one that I get from Ikea. They come in bright colors and are cheap! I always have a few extra on hand.



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