Can these grungy basting brushes be saved?
Does anyone have a method for removing the stubborn traces of olive oil, melted butter, chicken drippings etc. from natural bristle basting brushes? I'm tempted to try the silicon version, but the "bristles" seem so wimpy and hard to direct, and it's hard to believe that the silicon surfaces would clean up thoroughly.
Since silicone isn't porous it cleans up much better than natural bristles. Of course the same properties that make it clean up so well also make it kinda crappy as a brush since it doesn't really hold the liquid that you are brushing on.
I have a "normal" silicone pastry brush and it doesn't perform that well. I have a "grill" brush that has less bristles but they have balls at the end of them that are intended to help hold the liquid, and this one works pretty well.
I think you have to look at the bristle brushes as a "consumable" item that simply needs to be replaced every so often
I hated the natural bristle brushes... bristles coming out, can't be cleaned well. I LOVE THE SILICONE! I have tried a couple, and the ones with the finer bristles work quite well, IMHO. I have a big round head unit for BBQ that is supposed to work like a traditional mop, and it is great. They clean fabulously with soap and hot water. Remember: get a unit with the finest possible bristles.
I think natural brushes need to be replaced like sponges do (of course less often since you dont use them daily). Whatever you are basting with gets wicked up the fibers where it can't be cleaned properly. Once I had the metal band which holds the bristles together and binds them to the handle come off. What was under there was absolutely disgusting.
I have silicone and don't like them as much. I just make sure I chuck the natural brushes and get new ones. I look for them at discount stores.
I've got a couple of $.50 hardware store brushes. I clean them in the dishwasher. When they wear out, which happens every couple of years, I go get another from the hardware store.
If you can't clean them any other way, and the only other option is to not use them, and you have a dishwasher, the path seems clear ...