Do You Need to Clean a Broom

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Dear Home Ec 101,
Should I be cleaning my floor broom?
Can I clean my broom, if I use it on something really disgusting? Currently, I have a synthetic fiber broom, but I suppose the question is relevant for any types.  And then how?
Nasty things I may have to sweep up include:

  • sticky foods in the kitchen
  • dust bunnies from under the appliances
  • occasionally, animal excrement -some of these animals are welcome in my home, some are the pesky invader type

Thanks so much. I love your site, and more importantly, I love that you’re honest and helpful without being snide, overbearing or sarcastic. 🙂
Sign me,
Broom Wielder

Heather says:

Yes, you absolutely can clean your broom. While it’s not a chore you need to obsess over, it’s still a good idea. After all brooms are used to clean the floor, not the kitchen counters. However, if the broom has been used to sweep up the droppings of birds or mice, is used to sweep around toilets, or if there are small children or cats in the household, cleaning the broom from time to time is a good idea.

Synthetic brooms are much easier to clean than their straw counterparts. Why? The synthetic fibers don’t absorb water and swell like their straw counterparts. If you have a straw broom, you can use the same steps, just be aware that it will take much longer to dry and that you should hurry through the wet cleaning to keep the straws from absorbing too much water.

Pull as much of the tangled matter off the straw as possible.

Use a hose to spray off any solid, remaining dirt.

Swish the broom briefly in a bucket of soapy water.


Then, if you are particularly concerned about sanitizing the broom:

[pullshow id=”bleach”]Dip the business end of the broom in a bucket of dilute bleach solution. [pullthis id=”bleach” display=”outside”]Huh? What? What does that mean? It means your dilution should be about 2 ½ TBSP per gallon of water provided your container of bleach hasn’t been sitting around forever. Chlorine evaporates over time. I know, that it doesn’t sound like much, but most people are in the habit of using far too much bleach for cleaning.  You don’t need to expose your family to crazy amounts of bleach fumes to sanitize surfaces.[/pullthis]

Allow your broom to dry thoroughly. This can take quite a while for a straw broom.

Just remember in most cases, mopping is the actual germ killer. The role of sweeping is to remove the solid particles that can damage flooring and to make mopping more effective. That said, sanitizing your broom on occasion can help prevent the cross-contamination of surfaces.

For all you TMBG fans out there, I give you: I am Not Your Broom, thanks to @amblin

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2 thoughts on “Do You Need to Clean a Broom”

  1. So, this leads me to another question — how about a post on proper mopping techniques for hardwood floors? I'll be honest, I use one of the swiffer wet-jets and I think it's a joke… But I don't really know a better method — it always seems like when mopping you're just pushing a bunch of dirty water around your floors… Help! 🙂


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