Adding A Simple Spice May Extend The Life Of A Broom

Brooms are one of the most essential cleaning tools in every household — as long as they are clean themselves. They can get dirty incredibly quickly, which makes them work in a counteractive way, actively spreading dust and dirt around the home rather than picking it up. A surprisingly easy and cheap fix for this is salt.

Other products like mops, rags, and similar cleaning tools are more straightforward in how to get them sanitized, but brooms are much trickier. The bristles are typically more brittle if they're made of natural fibers or more difficult to scrub if they're synthetic or plastic. Even synthetic materials wear down or warp over time. However, all you need to clean and protect those bristles is salt, some water, and, optionally, some distilled white vinegar. Simply fill a bucket with hot water and a generous amount of salt, along with vinegar, for added sanitization and deodorization. Soak the broom in it for at least 30 minutes or longer for particularly grimy brooms. Rinse with water and leave it to dry before you use it again.

Why this works

This works to clean and protect your broom in a few ways. As for cleaning, salt crystals have jagged edges that work to scrub and almost sand off any kind of grime or dirt, which is especially helpful for heavy-duty cleaners like broom bristles, which are often full of food and other hard to scrape off guck. When you add vinegar to the mix — or any other acid, for that matter — the two combine to make a strong acidic cleaning product. Vinegar on its own also helps neutralize any unpleasant odors stored in the bristles.

Salt can also preserve the integrity of your broom. You'll notice over time that the bristles will bend, morph, or snap off completely. They aren't built to last forever but can last a little longer with additional fortification. Salt water soaks will strengthen and harden synthetic bristles, but not to the point of being brittle or snappy. Plus, this adds to their cleaning abilities — the harder bristles will more efficiently capture dirt than weak and pliable ones.

Other ways to extend your broom's life

If you do this salt water bath repeatedly, you may notice the ends of your broom bristles start to get a little crunchy or stiff. While harder bristles may sweep better, if they get so hard they don't bend, they're not going to work nearly as well. Instead of rushing to toss out your broom, there's one last method to give it another chance — cutting off the ends.

All you need for this method is a pair of kitchen scissors. Simply trim off the frayed, bent, or otherwise compromised bristle ends. If the broom is angled, try to cut along the angle as best as possible, and your broom will be as good as new. This method obviously has its limits, as you'll eventually run out of bristle space to cut. However, it's a great way to postpone the expense of a new broom and helps prevent unnecessary waste.