I’m a bit strange in that I prefer sweeping hard floors than vacuuming them, even though we have a great upright cordless vacuum. My pet peeve with vacuuming is it’s so noisy. I’d rather spend more time sweeping in silence than less time vacuuming with gut-wrenching noise.
Besides, I find sweeping picks up the dust and debris at kitchen edges and corners better than a vacuum. With young kids, our kitchen floor becomes a crumb and food spill disaster daily.
I like have a fleet of different types of brooms in our house because I like sweeping … the kitchen, living room, dining room, garage, patio… I sweep it all and have different brooms for the jobs. Below is our extensive broom guide that sets out all your broom options.
Table of Contents
- Broom Head
- Handle Material
- Bristle Material
- Broom Frequently Asked Questions
This is a very modern broom that is popular in many homes because of the angle of the bristles. Instead of having straight bristles, these brooms have theirs cut at an angle, which makes it easier to clean in corners and near the toe kick in the kitchen. Unlike traditional brooms that would sometimes leave bits of food and debris in these areas, angle brooms make it very easy to get everything when you are sweeping. The bristles on these brooms are plastic and are made to last a very long time without wearing out or falling apart. As the broom ages, the bristles will become a little more flexible, making it easier to get the broom head into tight locations without a lot of effort.
Soft (Straw and Corn) Broom
Soft brooms come with bristles made from many different materials, and which ones you choose is really up to personal preference. They all have the same fan shape to the bristles. Although they are known as “soft brooms”, the bristles are firm enough to stand up to regular sweeping and use and do not bend as much as ones made out of grass. It’s common to find soft brooms made out of corn husks, as this gives the right amount of strength and give for the broom. These brooms will last for many years, although some people do find them a little difficult to use at first. This is because the bristles are so strong and tend to hold their shape. Over time, however, the bristles will begin to bend and move more with the motion of the broom itself, making it easier to use and to get into tighter spaces. There are usually several rows of tight stitching on these brooms along the top of the bristles in order to keep them in place and prevent them from wiggling
If you need a broom that has stiffer bristles than a soft broom, a hard broom may be the perfect choice for you. They have bristles that are significantly stiffer, which makes them perfect for getting into holes and cracks and cleaning out the dirt that’s in there. While soft brooms wouldn’t be able to clean out these crevices, hard brooms have enough strength to get the job done. They’re also a perfect broom to use when the area you need to clean is too dirty to use the vacuum cleaner but you need to clear it of dirt, such as a hearth.
While most brooms are used for utility, there are some that are only bought for the way they look and for their smell. It’s common to find cinnamon brooms in a home, and these give a lovely scent to the area as well as serve as a decoration. While these brooms used to be tricky to find, they are now available for purchase in a number of locations. These brooms can be used to clean, but they are generally a little more fragile and sometimes smaller than typical brooms, making them ideal for decoration and for scent, but not the best choice if you have a mess that you need to clean up.
These brooms have very sturdy bristles that make it incredibly easy to use them to clean large areas at once. Instead of having to use a smaller broom multiple times in one area, when you opt for a push broom, you can quickly clean a very large area. They are especially adept at moving aside larger bits of debris, as small pieces of dust and dirt may accidentally slip under the bristles and get left behind. These are often used in supermarkets and big boxes stores as it will take very few passes to clean the aisle or the checkout area and will decrease the possibility that a customer will trip and fall on items left on the floor. The bristles are usually plastic, as this material is strong enough to stand up to years of use and being shoved across the floor all day long.
Source: Home Depot
Instead of being pushed along the ground at an angle, upright brooms have their bristles in the same line as the handle. This makes them fairly easy for most people to use and to get into tight spaces with relative ease. They cover a much smaller surface area than push brooms do, but they will get the job done just as well, although in a larger amount of time. Long handles can be difficult for children or shorter adults to use, but the right broom makes cleaning the floor much easier.
While most brooms come with a very long handle that makes it easy to use them when you are standing upright, hand brooms have a short handle. They are not ideal for cleaning large areas, but are perfect for spot cleaning a smaller space. If there has been a minor spill and a small amount of debris needs to be quickly cleaned up, choosing a hand broom ensures that the job gets finished quickly. They usually come with a dustpan that the broom will snap into, making it very easy to dispose of the debris without having to look around the home for a dustpan. They’re ideal in emergencies or to keep around the home to clean up bits of dirt and mulch that may get tracked into the home. The bristles on these brooms are usually plastic.
While generally a much smaller size than larger counterparts, and seemingly similar to the hand broom, whisk brooms have a slightly larger handle, but the main difference is in the bristles. They are natural fibers, which gives the broom a more organic look and appeals to a large number of people. Unfortunately, they don’t usually come with their own dustpan that they snap into, so it’s important to buy one separately. They’re great for small jobs such as picking up bits of fallen food in the kitchen or for dusting the keyboard on your computer, as the stiff natural bristles can easily get in between the keys and make sure there isn’t anything left or jammed down into the keyboard.
In many areas around the world, jumping over a broom at a wedding has been a part of the ceremony. This tradition has its roots in a number of locations and the validity of the tradition has recently come into question based on where in the world it developed. It’s easy to buy brooms that are made specifically for this purpose and can then be used as part of the decorations in your home after the ceremony. When the bride and groom are looking for a broom to use, it’s normal to want one with a little more decoration and will make it a special part of the event. Buying one that is specifically made for the wedding is very common and ensures that it matches the personality and showcases the joy the engaged couple feels.
These brooms consist of twigs that are tied tightly around a stick. They do not last as long as newer, softer brooms do, and the stiffness of the twigs greatly limits the amount of cleaning they are able to do without breaking or becoming damaged. Because of this, more and more people who like besom brooms use them as decoration in their homes instead of as an actual, functioning broom. They are often used to portray brooms that witches use to fly, so they make great decorations for Halloween.
Broom handles that are made out of manufactured wood are generally very sturdy and straight and not prone to cracking. You won’t have to worry about accidentally getting a splinter when using a manufactured wood handle, and they tend to last for many years and will often outlast the bristles of the broom. Make sure to find one that is a comfortable weight so you have an easy time using the broom.
Metal handles on brooms make them very light and easy to use. This is ideal if you are going to be sweeping up a larger area or need to be able to work very quickly in between times when you have customers in your store. Choosing a metal handle for your broom ensures that you won’t get tired when sweeping, as the lighter weight is much easier to use. The metal is strong enough that it won’t break, even when hastily tossed back into storage so that a customer doesn’t see it. Make sure you choose a metal broom handle that is comfortable to hold, and look for one with a strong connection to the bristles so you don’t need to worry about the head of the broom accidentally popping off.
Plastic brooms are the lightest handle out of all of the broom handles available, but you do have to be careful as they are the easiest to break by accident. This is a tradeoff that many people are willing to make, however, as they are easy to use, can be stored and brought out quickly without a lot of hassle, and are light enough for children to learn how to sweep. When left in extremely cold temperatures, however, the handles can become brittle, which may cause them to break prematurely. This is why these brooms are best left inside when not in use, as it will keep them from accidentally breaking or cracking. If your plastic broom handle does break, you will want to get a new one right away as the plastic edges will be very sharp and could easily injure someone on accident.
Wood broom handles are going to be very sturdy, easy to use, and comfortable to hold. When you buy a broom with a wooden handle, you won’t have to worry about it cracking or breaking during use, as they have been built to last. Make sure the handle you choose is very smooth and free of imperfections, as you don’t want to have to worry about splinters when you are sweeping. While some wooden broom handles are left with the natural wood showing, others have been painted to make the broom more aesthetically pleasing and to ensure you don’t get injured or a splinter when using the broom. If you are going to buy a decorative broom, the handle will probably be made out of natural wood that hasn’t been turned and smoothed. This gives the broom a lot of character and adds to the charm and appeal of it.
For people who are worried about the sustainability of their products and want to make sure they are only buying environmentally-friendly items, then a bamboo handle is a great choice. This material is incredibly fast-growing, making it easy to harvest it without worrying about over-harvesting. In addition, it’s also very strong and lightweight, making it easy to sweep with these brooms without any problems.
Brooms with fiberglass handles are generally more expensive than their counterparts, but the brooms tend to last for a very long time, due to the construction of the handle. They are generally welded and almost impossible to destroy, offering you all of the cleaning power you need without any worry. Because they do not crack or splinter, you won’t ever have to worry about injuring yourself when using these brooms.
Unless you already have a dustpan you really love, it’s a smart idea to buy a broom that comes with an included dustpan, as this ensures it’s the right size for the broom. Some brooms are very wide and won’t work with a typical dustpan, but buying your broom and dustpan as a set makes this a non-issue. While some brooms come with very short dustpans you will have to bend down close to the ground to use, if you want to make it very easy on yourself and on your back, it’s a good idea to buy one that has a handle that is the same length as your broom. This will allow you to easily and quickly collect the dirt, dust, and debris from the floor without having to bend down and try to hold the broom and dustpan at the correct angles to work. Additionally, some dustpans have a flat bottom, allowing you to rest them on the floor while you work, making sweeping an even easier task.
Depending on the size of your home or your company, you may not have room to store a full-size broom, but you still need to have one in case of spills. When you are in this situation, your best option is to choose a broom that comes with an extendable handle. These telescoping handles make it easy to adjust the height of the broom to the perfect height for each user and then allow it to shrink down to a much more manageable size for storage.
Industrial brooms especially tend to get very dirty with regular use, and you don’t want to be constantly pushing around debris and chemicals over your clean floor. The best thing to do in this case is to wash the head of your broom, as doing so will keep you from accidentally making your floors dirty while you are working. While you can wash down most brooms, especially if they have synthetic bristles, if you can remove the head of your broom, it’s a lot easier to clean it without worrying about damaging or affecting the handle. Heads that you can remove to allow to soak will clean up faster and easier than ones where you need to be concerned about then handle being left in water for too long.
Depending on how often you use your broom and what kind of surface you use it on, you will eventually have to replace the head. This can be frustrating if you have fallen in love with the way your broom works, so it’s best to choose one from the beginning that has a replaceable head. These generally screw on to the broom handle it self, making it very easy to remove an older head and then replace it with a new one. Look for heads that are sturdy and appear to be able to stand up to a lot of use, as you don’t want to have to replace it if it breaks down too quickly, as this can increase your cost of owning and using your broom.
Source: Home Depot
Corn is a very common material for bristles, and for good reason. It’s very sturdy, but not so strong and stiff that it won’t bend with use. The straight fibers used are able to trap even small amounts of dirt and debris and quickly sweep them out from under furniture or behind appliances. These brooms are also relatively inexpensive and easy to find, making them a great choice for most homes.
Source: Home Depot
Usually used in conjunction with another bristle material, horsehair is so soft that it is not ideal to use it on its own. It works great with another material because it is so soft and light that it is able to easily control fine particles of dirt and debris as well as dust. This means that the additional material in the broom can handle larger pieces of dirt and items that need to be moved, and the horsehair goes behind it to finish the cleaning job, leaving behind a floor that is very neat and clean.
Source: Home Depot
These fibers are soft and generally come with split tips to ensure they do a great job with fine sweeping. They are not as coarse as other synthetic materials that are used for bristles. Due to the construction of the polypropylene fibers, these brooms are ideal on smooth interior floors and ensure nothing is left behind as a trip or fall hazard.
Source: Home Depot
This is a much sturdier material to use for broom bristles and does a great job cleaning harder surfaces, such as an outdoor walkway, garage, basement, or porch. The combination of stiff and soft fibers can deal with most items that need to be swept up. With soft fibers on the outside of the broom and stiff ones on the inside, this broom can catch larger items such as clods of dirt and twigs as well as dust and sawdust.
Source: Home Depot
These bristles are incredibly tough and can stand up to a load of hard work and tough debris without being damaged. While softer bristles would not be able to sweep rubber, stones, and large chunks of dirt and sticks, palmyra fibers are able to handle these jobs with ease. They are not ideal for fine cleaning inside a home or a business, but are great for cleaning up a jobsite or moving washed-out gravel and rock from the walkway.
Source: Home Depot
These fibers, while heavy-duty, aren’t as strong as some other bristle options. They are a good mix of strong and soft, allowing users to clean both inside and outside without much hassle. The bristles are meant to last a long time, but if they are used to clean a lot of rubble and debris, they will break down faster than if they were used indoors.
Broom Frequently Asked Questions
When and where were brooms invented?
It is a matter of conjecture when brooms were invented and where. Around the year 1800, Levi Dickinson made a broom for his wife. Word started spreading around town. He made this broom from tassels of sorghum that he was growing. It is said that the U.S. had 303 broom factories in 1839 and 1039 in 1919. Because corn grew well there, Oklahoma made many brooms.
What materials are used to make brooms?
Brooms are brushes with long handles. Brooms bristles are usually stiff fibers (often made of materials such as plastic, hair, or corn husks) these fibers are attached to, and parallel to, a long handle, the broomstick. The broomstick is usually 3 to 4 feet long and made of wood. Sometimes American hardwood is used, but more likely, the wood used is ramin wood, an imported wood of dense, coarse grain. Thick twine is used to sew the brooms flat using a sewing machine. Brooms have changed little over the years.
How should brooms be stored?
A rack or holder should keep a broom stored bristles up. When the bristles are stored touching the floor, they will flatten and the broom will not clean as effectively. A broom closet is named such for a reason. However, it does not have to be a closet per se. A box can be constructed out of plywood for the particular size that one needs for the brooms, mops, and other cleaning utensils. It doesn’t even have to be very tall, just as long as what you want it stored it will fit.
What are angle brooms for?
Angle brooms are better for reaching into corners, creases, and crevices. This includes in a shop or at home. Sometimes, an angle broom is required to reach under cabinets, refrigerators, and other places that require more bristle length. An angled broom is more precise. If a straight sweeping line is necessary, angled brooms are superior to flat, non-angled brooms.
How do you hang brooms properly?
Storing brooms properly is a trick touched upon earlier. If brooms are stored with the bristles touching the floor, they will become misshaped over time and not clean as intended. There are many racks or attachable clips on the market for the proper storage of brooms and other cleaning supplies. The choices range from a simple box to house these cleaning utensils to a rack, so they can be hung out of the way and stored properly. The ability to sweep well is affected by how it is stored, and how long the broom lasts. No one wants to sweep with bristles sticking out and at various angles.
Can brooms be recycled?
Yes, old brooms can be recycled. We use wood for the handle and straw for many things. Most trash service will accept brooms, especially if they are under 4 feet long. Longer brooms may need to be shortened or broken to be trash/recycle eligible. One’s local refuse service has the answers to these questions. If a broom is recycled, the individual should do so. We can use brooms and broom handles for many craft projects including legs for small tables, ornaments, stool legs, lamp holders…the list is almost endless.
Can brooms actually fly?
Maybe brooms can fly in the movies and in people’s imaginations, but they cannot fly in real life. Shocking, I know. Sometimes around Halloween, it is fun to believe that witches can go wherever they want on a broom. These brooms were always readily available. Perhaps one reason that witches are associated with brooms is because vacuum cleaners were not invented yet. Think how different the world would be if witches flew around on Hoover vacuum cleaners. On Halloween, it could be dangerous. The phenomenon of witches flying on brooms is not limited to the United States. Other countries, especially Central American countries, have such customs and beliefs. Additionally, think of how maid service would be affected. One would not have to remember to bring his/her broom, as it would be the mode of transportation as well. It might make for difficult maintenance, however, because where on a broom is the oil plug? The spark plugs? Where is the turn signal? Where is the tank for fuel?