Why You Need a Clothes Brush and How to Use One

The best clothes brush for every fabric
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If you own investment pieces like a wool or cashmere coat, blazer, you will want to make them last as long as possible. A quality clothes brush will enable you to do exactly that!

Investment pieces are often purchased with the good intent of wearing them for years and years. Classic items like a wool or cashmere overcoat or blazer will wear more quickly if washed or dry cleaned frequently. One great way to stretch time between cleaning is by using a clothes brush.

A clothes brush will keep the buildup of dirt, hair, and lint at bay on your finest (…and cheapest) clothing items. They work better than a lint roller, which will handle surface-level buildup. To tackle deeper set dirt and debris in your finer fabrics without washing, a clothes brush is your best bet.

Best Clothes Brushes for Every Fabric

What to Look for When Purchasing a Clothes Brush

To take care of your highest quality coats and suits, you don’t want to skimp on quality when it comes to a clothes brush. Look for options made from boar or horse hair or similar natural fibers. Synthetic options exist that tend to be cheaper, but synthetic bristles are often too stiff and rough on quality fabrics like wool and cashmere. 

If you invested in a quality clothing item that is made to last, why wouldn’t you also invest in a quality maintenance tool built to last? Beyond natural bristles, choose a brush with a wooden handle. Quality wood products that are treated with care can last for centuries. Below is a selection of my favorites.

Best All-In-One

Kent CC20 Double-Sided Clothes Brush Boar Bristles Lint Remover. Firm for Dust and Dirt, Soft for...
  • Luxury Double-Sided Clothes Brush 10.5 Inch, filled with two strengths of natural bristle. The firm...
  • Synthetic bristles are hard and they can scratch the fabric, the natural boar bristles clothe brush...
  • A good clothe brush will remove dirt and food accumulated on the outer layers of your clothes before...

If you are serious about keeping your clothes in impeccable condition, then this brush is worth the investment. It’s nearly impossible to compete with the craftsmanship of Kent brushes. This one is double-sided. The stiff bristles can be used on heavier fabrics like wool and tweed, while the softer bristles can be used on delicate fabrics like cashmere and even silk.

Best for Wool and Heavy Fabrics

KENT CG1 Handcrafted Cherrywood 100% Natural Black Bristle Clothes Brush and Lint Remover for...
  • GREAT UNIQUE HOLIDAY GIFT - The perfect stocking stuffer! This cherrywood lint brush for clothes is...
  • LUXURY GARMENT BRUSH - This luxury portable lint remover is ideal for softer fabrics such as wool,...
  • PILL REMOVER - The natural boar bristles will "lift" fabric fibers to remove any accumulated...

Perhaps you’re not ready to invest in an all-in-one brush just yet, but you want to keep your wool coats looking fantastic all winter long. This Kent brush is beautifully hand crafted using natural boar bristles and a handcrafted cherry wood handle. It’s a classic brush that is sure to last a lifetime.

Best for Cashmere and Delicate Fabrics

Redecker Natural Pig Bristle Cashmere Brush with Oiled Pearwood Handle, 10-3/8 inches, Durable, Two...
  • RESTORES DELICATE CASHMERE: Great for everyday cleaning of your most precious cashmere; regular...
  • NATURAL BRISTLES: Soft and natural pig bristles clean gently but thoroughly; inner layer of...
  • BEAUTIFUL HANDCRAFTED PEARWOOD: Handle made from all-natural oiled pearwood; ages gracefully and...

You will want to treat cashmere differently than heavy wool or tweed coats and suits because it is a more delicate fabric. A slightly softer bristle brush is more appropriate for more delicate fabrics like sweaters. You might also want to invest in a quality fabric shaver to keep sweater pills at bay.

Best for Velvet

When treating a fabric like velvet, you want to avoid bristle brushes of any kind. A better option is using a brush with a velvet face. First brush your velvet fabric, then steam it to liven it up before wearing it out. You can do this easily by hanging your velvet garment in your bathroom as you shower before going out.

Best for Travel

Kent CC2 Finest 100% Handcrafted Black Boar Bristle Cherrywood Clothes Brush and Travel Size Lint...
  • GREAT UNIQUE HOLIDAY GIFT - The perfect stocking stuffer! This cherry wood lint brush for clothes is...
  • LUXURY GARMENT BRUSH - This luxury portable lint remover is ideal for softer fabrics such as wool,...
  • PILL REMOVER - The natural boar bristles will "lift" fabric fibers to remove any accumulated...

If you are traveling anywhere with a suit or coat you will want to pack a travel sized clothes brush to keep your garments in beautiful condition. This clothes brush is perfect for storing in a dopp kit. It also makes for a really nice gift or stocking stuffer for the person in your life who appreciates quality clothing.

How to Use a Clothes Brush

The first rule of thumb when using a clothes brush is to never scrub. You want to use long, sweeping motions with a firm hand. If deeper stains exist (like mud, for instance), you can try to dampen your clothes brush first before brushing out the fabric. You can spot treat actual stains using these stain removal techniques, or if absolutely necessary you can dry clean or wash your suiting at home.

Start by laying your garment on a clean, flat surface. If you don’t have a large enough surface available, keep the garment on its hanger and hang against a closed door. Remove everything from pockets and lift the collar. If you’re brushing pants or trousers, make sure the ankle cuff is down. 

To initially loosen dirt from your fabric, you will want to brush in the opposite direction of the nap (usually upward). Once the dirt has been loosened, brush your fabric back in the direction of the fabric grain. If your garment is very dusty, first brush with a dry brush, then finish with dampened brush bristles. 

How Often Should You Use a Clothes Brush?

It’s a good idea to use a clothes brush on your finest clothing after every wear. This is especially the case with suits and outerwear made with fabrics like wool, tweed, or cashmere. Brushing after each wear will help extend the time between washes and ultimately extend the life of your garment. Depending on the garment, brushing should take no longer than two to three minutes. This is time well spent to maintain the quality and extend the longevity of your nicer clothing.

How to Clean a Clothes Brush

So perhaps at this point I have convinced you to invest in a quality clothes brush to keep your investment pieces in the best shape possible. Now you also need to know how to keep your clothes brush clean and in good shape so it lasts you a lifetime.

One effective way of doing this is by laying a brown paper bag against the edge of a hard surface like a table. Rub your brush briskly back and forth against the paper. Doing so will remove lingering dirt and debris from the natural bristles of your clothes brush.

Make expensive, investment clothing pieces last by using a clothes brush. Extend the time between washes and dry cleaning by using a clothes brush to remove dirt, hair, lint, and debris from fabrics like wool, tweed, cashmere and silk.

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    1. Hi Angelica! The answer to that will depend on the fabric you’re brushing and the quality of the hair brush – but yes in some cases it would probably work fine. Make sure to use a gentle hand to test the bristles first on the fabric 🙂

  1. Hi Kait,

    Great article – thanks for sharing. I made the investment in the Kent double-sided brush. Quick question: What’s the best way to store this brush to keep it dust/lint-free?

    1. Hi Michael! I would consider storing it in a clean cloth pouch. Something like the travel canvas pouches new dress shoes are packaged with. Then if you notice that dust starts building up, try the trick of brushing it off against a clean sheet of paper / paper bag folded over the edge of a table or countertop. Enjoy your new clothes brush!!

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