Test tube brush

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Laboratory test tube brushes: small sized brushes on the left, large sized brushes on the right.

A test tube brush or spout brush is a brush used for cleaning test tubes and narrow mouth laboratory glassware,[1] such as beakers and flasks. It is composed of nylon, synthetic, or animal fur bristles of various diameters lined against a rather sturdy wire handle with a looped end for hanging. The wire can be made from a wide range of metals, such as aluminium, bronze, beryllium, copper, and brass.[2] FDA grade brushes are designed to be resistant to acid and other corrosive chemicals, including aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons, ketones, ethyl acetate esters, trichloroethylene, and hot water.


Test tube brushes come in sizes varying from 10 mm - 2,000 mm in length and 3 mm - 200 mm in diameter.[2]

Small test tube brush fitting compared to a regular laboratory test tube.
Brush head dimensions Length Diameter
7.6L cm (3") 20 cm (8") 1.3 cm (1/2")
8.9L cm(31/2") 23 cm (9") 1.9 cm (3/4")
10L cm (4") 28 cm (11") 3.5 cm (13/8")
11.4L cm (41/2") 33 cm (13") 4.1 cm (15/8")

Types of brushes[edit]

Demonstration of test tube cleaning by using a small sized test tube brush.

Brushes are designed for the purpose of cleaning test tubes, therefore are developed to be able to reach all corners of the glassware.[3]

Tip type Description
Radial tip Round tufted tip allows for a curved brush edge, protecting the glassware from contact against the twisted metal wire handle.[4]
Stainless steel wire stem radial tip Similar to radial tip brushes, but more durable and efficient in glassware cleaning.[3]
Tied tip Bristles are tied together at the tip to facilitate the cleaning of tubes and bottles with narrow openings, capable of expanding at the bottom of the tube without scratching the surface.[3]
Sponge tip The soft tip enables expansion and absorption of liquid, which results in more thorough cleaning of the tube and protection from scratches.[3]

Babcock test bottle brush[edit]

A Babcock test bottle brush is a specialised test tube brush designed for cleaning bottle neck flasks. It has an extra long radial bristle tip that is flexible enough to enter the narrow neck of various laboratory glassware, and fan out at the bottom of the chamber for efficient cleaning. The middle section of the metal wire handle contains short stemmed bristles that can be used to scrub along the neck of the flask.[5]

Adjustable test tube brush[edit]

The adjustable brush contains a stiff, bendable twisted wire core that forms a loop in the middle. This allows for the brush to be adjustable to fit various sizes of test tubes.[6]

Brush length Brush diameter Overall length
7" 1" (minimum) - adjustable 9"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fan Tip Tube Brushes". Thomas Scientific. Thomas Scientific. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b Aggarwal, Chaitanya. "Chemistry Lab Instruments". Rac Exports. IndiaMART IndiaMESH Limited. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "Nylon Sponge Tube Brush, 10" Handle, 3"L x 1.5" Dia Brush; 12/Pk". Cole-Parmer® Fluid-handling and Analysis. Chemoscience (Thailand) Co., Ltd. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Test Tube Brushes, Radial Tip". VWR® We Enable Science. VWR. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  5. ^ "Babcock Cream Test Bottle Brush". VWR® We Enable Science. VWR. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Adjustable Test Tube Brush". Laboratory Sales & Service LLC. Laboratory Sales and Service LLC. 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2016.