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Silicon (is that what they are?) brushes

Today for about the fifth time, I picked up one of those new fangled silicon brushes, for brushing butter on food, or barbecue sauce, etc. I turned it over and over and was put off by the price ($9.95). However, I have thrown out our old bristle brush because it became disgusting and impossible to clean, and I spread butter with the back of a spoon the other day, and I think I need a new brush, but I can't quite bring myself to buy one.

Please tell me if these silicon things are worth it, tell me I need one, I don't know why I have such resistance, I do have the $10.

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  1. I have some of those silicon brushes (got them cheap at Marshall's) - and I like them for things like oiling my pre-heated Le Creuset grill pans because they don't burn. We use a long handled one out on the grill too. But for everything else, I still prefer old-fashioned bristle brushes. I buy natural bristle paint brushes from Home Depot for around $1.50 a piece. They come in a few different widths and they hold up really well. They're so cheap that when they get gross I just toss 'em and buy some new ones.

    1. I could not agree with flourgirl more. I use the plain old cheap bristle brushes, dispose as needed. The silicone one (I did not buy it, my BF has one in his kitchen) cannot compare to them, interms of holding stuff that you want to brush. However, and this is a big reason why they are handy, they take heat REALLY well.

      So depending on how you tend to use your brushes, unless you need it for heat, silicone brushes are just, neat and decorative to have, but not needed.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Quine

        I agree - I got some for Christmas - that I asked for - and while they clean easily, I find they do not apply whatever I'm brusing on as well as my bristle brushes.

      2. -----
        My take is a big NO! I used one once with my home made barbecue and it took on a sour smell right after the first use. For some odd reason they seem to retain moisture of which sours.

        I would use a NSF listed nylon brush over them any day of the week.

        NSF listed nylon brush TIP: If they are used around any fats, butter, or sauces, I found out the bristles need to be cleaned with a couple of drops of dish soap and worked around with a few drops of water. Then work that in for at least 30 seconds to displace any food related residues. Rinse well under, highest tolerated temperature of hot water till clear. Repeat the bristles still feel even slightly greasy. Allow to fully air dry before storing.


        1 Reply
        1. re: RShea78

          Silicone is inert. I suggest, if you washed it as you do the NSF nylons you like (I admit I do not) it would clean up well. Heck you can boil silicone clean.

          Like the nylon, the silicone will retain the fats longer, same cleaning and even a boil does the trick. But as they are inert and without a seam or a binding, I do not think they "hold" any moisture.

          I just do not like them as well, as the "bristles" are fat and widely spaced and do not sop up your basting item well.

        2. I have both kinds in my kitchen and I use the silicone for whatever is thick enough for it to hold onto. I like that I can toss it in the dishwasher.

          1. It's silicone, not silicon, and I wish I could convince the adorable jackp to ditch those nasty old brushes (which I gleefully throw away the minute his back is turned) and use the easily cleaned silicone versions. Silicone does not absorb sauce, fat, meat juices and so on and gross stuff cannot creep under the bristles as it can on the other sort. I'd prefer to use the old-fashioned brushes, being a reformed hippie type, but the ability to keep those silicone brushes clean is what makes me use them.

            1. I have 2, from Marshall's (less than $5 each there). Excellent for oiling the waffle iron. Used one tonight to brush olive oil on asparagus on the grill. They're dishwasher safe, clean up better than my nylon bristle brushes (which are mostly half-melted), and you don't have to pick bristles out of whatever you're brushing. The bristles are thick, though, so you get less control.

              1. Aaarrrrgh. Divided opinions!! Not what I was looking for!!! ; - )

                Now I will have to think for myself! Which for some reason on this topic I am totally blocked! (I should just spend the $10, and then I can be opinionated the next time someone asks... It's the small things that drive me crazy, eh.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: Anne H

                  I don't think I've ever read a post here that didn't have divided opinions. But it's fun to read the answers anyway! What it comes down to is that silicone (& nylon) brushes work well for some tasks, natural bristles for others. That's why I own both.

                2. Silicone are better for cleaning, however, they are not as good as the old fashioned ones for glazing, egg-washing, etc. with baking. They don't spread evenly as the old fashioned ones do.

                  1. I have a couple I got for only a couple of dollars, maybe at Target or maybe the dollar store. They have black handles and yellow brushes.

                    I like them to use with oil and the like as you can put them in the dishwasher.

                    1. Anne H...if you do buy one, do not spend the $10. Go to Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Ross and get one for half the price. I have one and I like it fine, but agree with pescatarian, not as good on some needs.

                      1. I think you should shop around, find a cheaper one and try it. I have never had a problem with getting them squeaky clean (you can put them in the dishwasher, that's a huge plus imo!) and odor free, but you can bet I have with natural bristle brushes. They don't shed, either. Nothing like finding a bristle stuck to your brioche.

                        1. Okay, I have found only one kind that I think works *almost* as well as a bristle brush. So, if you do get one, I would get this one: http://www.cooking.com/products/shpro... It's hard to tell, but if you look at the blown up picture, it has regular silicone bristles around the outside and on the inside it has 1/8" yellow tabs with holes in them. I find that this particular style holds liquids much better.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Katie Nell

                            That looks much better than the ones I have - which don't have enough bristles.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              I recently bought the same one that Katie Nell posted about. It's terrific. Works really well and is a great alternative to bristle brushes.

                            2. re: Katie Nell

                              Can't wait to get that one and try it out! Thanks for the tip!

                              1. re: Katie Nell


                                That was an odd specification on that brush... That is the first time I ever saw a 11 inch brush being so narrow because all the companies I see use "bristle width" and not the length.


                              2. I like mine, but I have found that if I am basting I have to keep the basting juice in one hand very close to the food and baste it fast! If you hold the brush just right you retain more juice.

                                I have never notice a smell in mine. I wash in the dishwasher and then dry well when I get them out. I guess it depends on what brand you get. I don't remember what mine are but they work well!

                                1. I much prefer silicone brushes to natural or nylon bristle brushes. They clean better, I can brush foods while they are in a hot pan without worrying about burning or melting bristles, the bristles don't stick together after an egg wash or bbq sauce glaze, and the bristles don't shed. I bought a 3-brush set at Bed Bath and Beyond for $9.99 (if you have one of their $5.00 coupons, you can get it for $4.99) and they are really nice. There are three sizes, one small for glazing cookies, etc., one medium for use on the stove, and one long for the bbq or grill or for glazing meats while they are still in the oven. I will never go back to using the old-style brushes.