Introduction: Five Minute DIY Bottle Brush

Picture of Five Minute DIY Bottle Brush

 I like to re-use bottles from things I buy and often buy bottles specifically because they can be re-used rather than thrown away. Though, those bottles are often not designed to be re-used and are therefore not the easiest to clean. 

For some reason bottle brushes are always disappearing from our kitchen. After one too many times needing one and not having it as well as not having time or inclination to run to the store for a new one, I decided to see if I cold just make one. 

This is how I have been making them since. They do rust if you don't let the dry properly but being as they are made from small piece of kitchen sponge and a wire coat hanger in about five minutes, I don't mind just making a new one. 

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

 You will need 

A kitchen sponge
A wire hanger, the complete loop kind. The ones with cardboard bottoms don't work as well

A screwdriver or maybe just a large nail 
Pliers. I used my Leatherman tool for this one

Step 2: Cut Your Sponge

Picture of Cut Your Sponge

This is about as simple as it gets. 

Just  cut a piece of sponge that is small enough to squeeze through the top of whatever bottle you are washing. 

If it's too big you can cut it down later. 

Step 3: Pull the Hanger Into a Long Loop

Picture of Pull the Hanger Into a Long Loop

 Remove the paper from your hanger if it has any.

With the hanging hook at one end simply pull the hanger into a long loop. The hanging hook will be the handle end and provide a handy way to hang your brush for drying and out of the way storage. 

Step 4: Twist in the Sponge

Picture of Twist in the Sponge

 Place the cut sponge in the end of the loop opposite the hanging hook. 

Put your screwdriver or nail or whatever through the loop with it. 

Now simply hold the wire with your pliers and turn the screwdriver to twist and tighten the loop. Make sure you turn it in the same direction the hanging hook end is wound in or you'll untwist the that end as you wind in the sponge. 

just tighten it until the sponge is securely held in place. 

You may also want to use the pliers to "crimp" or bend the end loop a little tighter. 

That's it! Instant bottle brush with things you have in your house or apartment. 

Step 5: Try It Out

Picture of Try It Out

Once it's finished give it a go. 

If it's too big to fit in the bottle you are cleaning simply cut it down with your scissors. 


emasjaf (author)2016-11-18

wow wonderful tip

dash488 (author)2010-05-21

 A little more advanced but, to avoid rust. You could buy stainless steel rod sock from Lowes, or Home Depot and use that instead. Im not sure if all wherehouse stores like that carry it, but you can buy it for really cheep at any metal depot or metal yard.

Point is, it will never rust.

rupamagic (author)dash4882016-08-18

But I don't have a Home Depot in my closet.

tkjtkj (author)dash4882010-06-02

Or store it in the freezer ...
Most chemical reactions are 50% slower for each 10deg drop in temperature .. Reverse applies for raising temps: go up by 10: rate doubles.
So, when your 30deg goes to 20, rate is 1/2
From 20 to 10, it's 1/4the of orig. rate.
To zero, it's 1/8th.

One might expect a wire that rusts in 2 days to then require 16 days , if i may use a gross example.

It'd make a simple experiment: construct two of your devices: treat each the same except then put one in the freezer ... and let us know!

worldlrnr (author)2014-03-24

What a great idea! I love it so much I am putting it on pinterest.

scoochmaroo (author)2010-05-20

Very clever.  I was just craving a designer bottle brush the other night.
Now what I need is one of those wick things that you put inside carafes and thin-necked bottles to help dry them out!  Go! Make!

lois54 (author)scoochmaroo2012-09-13

For wicking water out coffee filter rolled up or even paper towels which is what we use in cruets at church.

katzenmoon (author)scoochmaroo2010-06-12

check at your local hair salon or beauty supply-they have cotton roping that is encased in a mesh like tube. It is typically used when giving perms to catch the solution that runs off of the perm rods. It works very well but is not re-usable. A case of it at sallys is $2.50 for 40 ft.

gwright1 (author)2011-05-16

"Look, Ma, no sponge, no wire!"

Okay, here's an essential method to add to your repertoire: for cleaning inside bottles, coffee pots, flower vases, thermos's and hard to get at insides of things:

Ice cubes (or chunked to size) and powdered cleanser (like Comet)

"Swirled not shaken" Swirl vigorously in circular motion so ice and abrasive cleanser slide evenly around the curved interior (don't shake, as rock hard ice could break glass...)

This is far better scrubbing than you can get with a brush.

Do I win anything, here?

balisticsquirel (author)gwright12012-07-24

You win my awe. :)

And to acerene - you could freeze the water inside the container, and melt it back to the size you require.

acerene (author)gwright12011-10-07

This is good if the container's opening is large enough to fit ice cube through. Then, instead of comet (bad - chemicals - bad), use lemon juice and salt. Old restaurant trick for cleaning coffee pots. ... If you have a tiny jar, ice cubes will not fit, ergo, the need for a bottle brush/sponge. :)

porcupinemamma (author)2012-04-01

Like it!

PeachyPete (author)2011-02-22

Good lord! This took me AGES (until the end of the 'ible, with the full shot of the straightened wire hanger)!) to work out WHAT IT ACTUALLY WAS! (even after seeing it in the first photo!) This is because of the very open-to-interpretation title: "bottle brush". What could that be?? When you use the word "brush", I think of a brush. Such as the ones used in painting, whether in art or in decorating.
So what could this be... a brush made WITH a bottle? Made FROM a bottle? But how would that even work...
I thought maybe you were going to fill the bottle with paint, then block its neck with the sponge and use it (upside down) like a brush with a reservoir! That's what a "bottle brush" says to me.

Is this actually what these cleaners are called in the shops?
I can't believe they would be named something so imprecise. Aren't they called narrow neck bottle cleaners or something more descriptive??

Culturespy (author)PeachyPete2011-06-04

lol Yes, believe it or not , they are, in fact, called bottle brushes.

admiral001 (author)PeachyPete2011-06-04

it's a brush that cleans bottles.... describes it pretty well in my book.

GlassDragon (author)2010-07-24

Sound like a great idea! I plan on trying it with a sponge that has a scrubby side to it to get those stuck on spots.

sygilbert (author)GlassDragon2011-01-23

Me too!

maltesergr8 (author)2010-08-02

Great 'able!! Now if I can come up with a wire hanger... :-)

kissamew (author)2010-07-31

I have soaked glass with a little ammonia added. If I use it in a sink full of dishwater, I may add a cap or two of ammonia.(Do not mix with bleach!). I use Joy and Ivory dish liquid for my dishes, so I don't know if other dish liquids react with this. I have also read to add peroxide, to remove green ick from water bottles that you can't get into to clean. I have added bleach to dishwater also, to help sanitize, just a capful or two per sink full. Use rubber gloves to protect your skin and rinse in hot water, (faster evaporation from your glass and again, sanitizing).

solarall (author)2010-06-16

Just to let you know, regarding the rust issue. Rust is inert and you can eat a pound of it and the only thing that happens is that you poop a pound of rust. Some people still think that using a rusty utensil is harmful but it absolutely is NOT! Rusty nails are dangerous if stepped on ONLY because of the bacteria that usually accompanies dirt, nothing to do with the rust itself.

Zimminger (author)2010-06-10

An old method of cleaning out bottles is to use a bit of water and coffee grounds, then shake vigorously. What you want is an abrasive slurry. More abrasive than that are ground walnut shells sold for cleaning rifle cartridge cases for reloading. This can be bought at sporting goods stores that sell hunting equipment. Finally, a little rubbing alcohol and an excess of table salt. Once the water (9% or 30% of the rubbing alcohol) is saturated, no more salt will dissolve and the excess salt (tiny cubic crystals) will remain as a mild abrasive. Salt doesn't dissolve in isopropyl alcohol, which is what's used in rubbing alcohol (70% or 91%).

Culturespy (author)Zimminger2010-06-10

Wow thanks! That's pretty interesting. Nice to know about the alcohol and salt too.

Zimminger (author)Culturespy2010-06-11

You're welcome. Credit where credit is due, though. Dad learned the coffee ground trick on a merchant ship in the 1930s and taught it to me. I made the connection and suggested the walnut hulls if you need a heartier abrasive. The salt and rubbing alcohol mix was from another instructable, where a light bulb was used to make an oil lamp and it was suggested for scouring the frosted coating from the inside of a light bulb to make it clear. I didn't know you could do that. It was neat. But there's a time to cut your losses. I had a plastic water bottle with coffee stains today and I couldn't get the stains out of the bottom corners. Time to use bleach. It's only a water bottle.

Culturespy (author)2010-06-10

Thanks to everyone making comments. We're gathering quite a stockpile of cleaning methods here!

star folder (author)2010-06-10

Use a sponge with the green scrubby on one side, positioning it so that the scrubby side is out. Seems to me that once with a very narrow necked bottle, I put dried rice into the bottle, a bit of water, and swirled the bottle to allow the rice to do the scrubbing. Don't leave the rice in, or it will swell from the water, and getting it out could be a problem.

banj0girl (author)2010-06-10

a whole lot easier is to throw some pennies in and shake, swirl, etc. works extremely well. i keep a little bowl of them in my kitchen.

Culturespy (author)banj0girl2010-06-10

I'll have to try that. Thanks for mentioning it.

katzenmoon (author)2010-05-30

instead of a sponge you could use mesh bags from produce and such-feed it onto the end and than twist to hold

ladybanksia99 (author)katzenmoon2010-06-10

...or one step further, you could even put a small chunk of sponge inside a layer of the mesh...a bottle scrubbie!!

Culturespy (author)katzenmoon2010-05-31

That's a great idea. We've got a bag of oranges at home. I'll save the mesh and give it a try and post a photo. 


heathbar64 (author)2010-05-25

 this is one of those  "why didn't I ever think of that" projects.

beadrad824 (author)2010-05-23

very nice- i have previously bought the wider mouth water bottles because they are easier to clean....

CaseyCase (author)2010-05-20

Cool idea. I struggled recently to clean the inside of a Nalgene bottle and a thermos--now, with your inspiration, I am off to scrounge a wire hanger from the wife's closet.

Culturespy (author)CaseyCase2010-05-20


ChrysN (author)2010-05-20

Very handy!

megapix (author)2010-05-20

Nice! I'll probably end up making one of these. I like the use of the screwdriver as a tiwsting device, well done.

beta1072 (author)2010-05-20

Have you tried using a coated hanger to avoid the rust issue.  You could also try using something like plasti-dip to coat the wire prior to assembly.

Culturespy (author)beta10722010-05-20

 No, haven't tried coating them with anything.

I have avoided painted or coated hangers thus far because the coating tends to crack and flake off. 

The only part that really rusts is the wire that's in direct contact with the sponge. I think if you used rags from old t-shirts or towels coating the wire might be more useful due to the added useful life of the cloth vs the sponges. 

Computothought (author)2010-05-20

Cool, I have been collecting reuses for coat hangers.

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