Why did it never occur to me that my brooms need to be washed? Oh, I pulled off the dust bunnies and bumped them on a tree once in a while to get the loose dirt out, but actually wash them? Nope. The recommendation is to wash your broom every few months. How often have I washed my brooms over the years? Umm. Never.
Are you thinking, “What, now I have to wash my brooms?” Now that I’ve had this revelation, I think I do. A clean broom makes sense. We’re sweeping to clean up, and of course we’ll do a better job if the broom itself is clean. Besides, it’s super easy.
Here’s all you need to do to keep your broom clean:
• Remove the loose dirt. Use your hand to pull out the big stuff. Then either hit the broom on something outdoors (away from the house, especially on a windy day) or vacuum it with a hand vacuum.
• If the bristle head is removable, take it off and place it in a bucket of soapy warm water. Don’t use very hot water, or you might damage the bristles or handle. If the head isn’t removable, simply put the bristles of your broom in the bucket and lean the handle against a wall so that it doesn’t tip. The bathtub or shower is a good place to do this if you’re indoors.
• If you have a natural bristle broom, just swish it around a bit. If you have a synthetic bristle broom, let it soak for half an hour to an hour.
• To be thorough, wash the handle with a soapy washcloth (may as well!).
• Rinse the broom bristles and broom handle with cool water. (If I’m doing this outdoors I’ll enlist the garden hose. Inside, I’ll use the shower.) Now you have a clean broom!
• Hang the broom to dry. If there’s a loop in the handle, hang it by the loop. This will keep the water from dripping back into the area where the bristles are attached. If there’s no loop (and no place to attach one), stand the broom upside down to dry in a corner. Either way works — just don’t stand it up on its bristles. Drying in the sun will help kill bacteria.
You can use this method for cleaning all kinds of brushes and brooms, by the way. Oh, and we may as well wash out those dustpans, while we’re at it!
A couple more tips for keeping your brooms in good shape:
• Designate a broom for outside and a broom for inside. Some people like to have several brooms for indoors (one for the kitchen, another for bathrooms, and another for any other rooms, for example). I have one for indoors and a couple for outdoors (a large, stiff broom for the drive and a regular broom for the wood porch). I tie a ribbon on my indoor broom to distinguish it from my porch broom.
• Hang up your brooms, to keep the bristles from bending out of shape. Either use the loop on the end of the handle, or hang it upside down between two nails.
You might also like: Wood floor TLC.
What kind of broom do you like best? Do you have a source you love?