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What is a Clothes Brush?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Many of us are used to using lint rollers, small rollers with adhesive tape that can remove hair, dandruff, nap and a variety of other things from clothing. Eventually, the lint roller either needs a new roll of adhesive or must be replaced, which some find inconvenient. For this reason, the clothes brush, generally a more durable brush that picks up lint, nap and small hairs on fabric is preferred. Prior to the advent of the lint roller, the clothes brush was the main choice for keeping garments looking nicely groomed in between washings.

You can find some wonderful antique clothes brush types, some dating back to the 18th century. These can make for great collectibles, but may not prove to be very useful. Further, an antique brush is likely to be quite expensive, and you may want to use one only for display.

The simplest clothes brush will merely feature a long handle, and varied brush shapes. Some people prefer a rounded brush, and others like a brush that is more rectangular in shape. To remove lint or “furries” from clothing, you simply vigorously brush the offending clothing. It’s often preferable to have someone else do this for you while you are wearing the garment.

Another type of clothes brush that has become quite popular features the bristled brush on one side and then is backed by a tiny brush on the other side, called a lint brush. The little teeth or bristles of the lint brush are great for picking up dandruff, and tiny pieces of lint or nap that the brush side misses. This two in one combination is thought to work better, since you are treating the clothes with several different bristle types. Normally you use the bristle side first, then flip the clothes brush over and use the lint side next to remove small unnecessaries from a garment.

Many people are quite satisfied with the results of a good clothes brushing, but you still might want to keep a good adhesive roller on hand in case Fluffy the cat decides to use your sports coat as a place to nap, or you need to brush a very delicate item of clothing. Since you brush down with the clothes brush, lint can accumulate at the bottom of a garment. An adhesive roller can take care off any stubborn lint that can’t be brushed off. It’s also important to regularly clean your brush, as it tends to be less effective when it’s full of lint.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By ellaesans — On Oct 22, 2010

@abiane - Your last point should really be stressed. I always use my silver clothes brush before going out on any interviews or even on dates in some cases. While the whole point on cleaning your dryer vent is very valid, the reality is that lint is going to get on your clothes no matter what happens... especially black clothes.

By abiane — On Oct 22, 2010

@doppler - You can also purchase a clothes dryer vent brush that will help you get rid of all the lint and left over yuckies in your dryer that's causing lint and hair to get on your clothing. It's important to clean out your vents pretty much weekly or even more often in order to keep that from happening.

Other than that you should really use a clothes brush before big events and most definitely always on black slacks or professional clothing.

By bbpuff — On Oct 22, 2010

@doppler - I always dry my clothes on a medium or low setting when it comes to the heat factor. For high end clothing I almost always hang it up unless I am in a hurry and need them right away. You can also get a drying clothes rack to help dry them faster.

Aside from that, you are absolutely right about pilling except certain fabrics are more likely to pill than others are. Clothes brushes can't really help with pilling, but they are still nice to have.

By doppler — On Oct 22, 2010

Clothes dryers are often the culprit when it comes to lint and pilling. Lint brushes are great and everything for dander, hair, and lint, but there are these things called clothes shavers that will get rid of the pilling.

Pilling happens when there is friction either from rubbing or from the clothes being tossed around in the dryer together on too high of a heat.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor,...
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