Brush Type - Brushes 101

Brushes of spiral construction, also called tube brushes, bottle brushes or twisted-in-wire brushes, provide excellent helical properties including high performance, consistent and continuous abrasive action excellent water and debris movement and extraction as well as moving and sorting applications.


Spiral brushes are often an integral component in many manufacturing environments due to their effective cleaning, deburring and finishing capabilities. Abrasive brushes are ideal for ultra-fine deburring and cleaning of internal holes produced by small drilling without altering bore dimensions or surface finishes. Brushes can be used in any wet or dry application in any industrial environment and are suited for manual use or in hand power tools, drill presses and CNC machining centers. Micro brushes are most effectively used for ultra-fine finishing, deburring, reaming, polishing and internal cleaning applications and manual or power use cleaning can be accomplished with precision and ease on metallic and non-metallic surfaces with these brushes. Burr brushes are ideal for cleaning and cutting and can be used to create a side-wiping action without altering the parts or bore dimensions or disturbing delicate surface finishes.

Work environments that require cleaning and sanitation also use twisted brushes in primarily manual cleaning applications such as medical, laboratory, food service. Bottle brushes are used in the food service industry to clean condiment dispensers, ice machines, ice cream equipment and other related applications. Lab brushes are used for cleaning glass or plastic test tubes, centrifuge tubes, flasks, graduated cylinders, beakers, burrettes, pipettes, vials, carboys and bottles in the laboratory and scientific industries.

Other non-sanitary cleaning applications include fire arms, automotive and appliances. Brushes are available in many lengths and width to get to hard to reach areas and small cavities.


Spiral brushes come in a wide array of materials and construction types. Spiral or helical shaped brushes are most commonly spiral or twisted-in styles, however, coil wound brushes also provide helical properties. They are constructed by twisting single- or double-density filaments between a single or double stem length of wire which is doubled over, placing bristle material between the wires as they are twisted. The twisting of the folded wire tightens around the filaments, securing it in place.

Spiral brushes, or tube brushes, can be designed with a single stem or double stem construction depending upon application requirements. Single spiral brushes are often used in light-duty manual jobs, while double stem spiral brushes provide added strength and are used in machinery or power tool applications.

Coil wound brushes can provide similar properties and performance outcomes as twisted and spiral brushes. The helical shape can be achieved using strip brushes that are wound around and mounted to an internal cylinder core. They appear to be a traditional rotary or cylinder brush construction, but the bristles take on a spiral shape and provide the same continuous scrubbing action with excellent water and debris removal and movement. The shape provides a specific scrubbing action and movement because as a spiral brush shape, but can be produced in significantly larger diameters and lengths. The coil wound construction allows for brush refurbishing by replacing the outer wound strip brush.


The base wire or stem, can be made of galvanized steel, stainless steel, aluminum or brass.

There are three different stem / filament constructions, each offering various strength and density characteristics:

Single-Stem, Single-Spiral

Single-Stem, Single-Spiral consists of a single layer of filament twisted between two stem wires.

Double-Stem, Single-Spiral Brushes

Double-Stem, Single-Spiral brushes have one layer of filament twisted between four stem wires with two stem wires on each side for additional strength and higher density fill.

Double-Stem, Double-Spiral

Double-Stem, Double-Spiral uses two layers of filament twisted between four stem wires. Each filament layer is perpendicular to the other with a single stem wire in each quadrant. This is the highest brush density and highest strength twisted brush available.

They feature a wide array of handle / stem lengths and can be configured with a wire loop handle for manual applications or blunt end threaded pipe (screw-on) for power applications. Spiral brushes can be designed in wide variety of lengths, depending upon depth and reach of application, and variety of weights, depending upon power or torque requirements.


Brushes can be configured in a range of diameters from miniature to several inches. Miniature brushes are single-stem, single-spiral wire brushes ideal for internal cleaning applications such as manual cleaning of small, sensitive instrumentation and component parts such as medical devices and equipment.

There are three classifications of spiral brushes, determined by the brush diameter:

Miniature Brushes

Miniature brushes have a diameter of .250” or smaller and are generally made with a finer stem wire and are available in metric sizes from 1.0mm to 6.5mm brush diameters and standard inch sizes from .020” to .250” diameters.

Hand Brushes

Hand brushes have a diameter of .125” or larger and are made with larger stem wire for manual cleaning. Some hand brushes can be power driven by cutting off the loop for more aggressive applications.

Power Brushes

Power brushes have a diameter of .250” or larger, are generally made more rigid and use a bigger stem wire to be power driven in a drill, drill press or CNC machining center.


Spiral brushes can be designed with wire, natural or synthetic filament types and can be specified with a number of bristle gauges.

Side action or paddle brushes have a stainless steel single-stem with side tufts for power tool use. Provides a high degree of bristle stiffness, more dense surface areas, with minimal flexing for more aggressive scrubbing action. Holders for these brushes reduce bristle length for stiffer brush action and higher RPM.


Abrasive spiral brushes, also known as abrasive tube brushes, provide rigorous cutting action including cross hole deburring, surface finishing and internal cleaning applications. Ideal on power tools, presses and CNC machines, double spiral construction brushes are strong enough up to withstand the rigors of power applications. Filament types include high carbon steel, stainless steel, brass, nylon, silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, and carbon fiber. They are also available with crimped wire bristles and are available in variety of diameters and handle lengths. Miniature abrasive tube brushes are designed for cleaning and deburring internal cavities that have close-tolerance metallic and non-metallic parts.


Review our full line of spiral brushes and twisted-in-brushes or allow our engineers the opportunity to design exactly what you need.



Brush seals, also known as strip brushes or metal channel back brushes, provide a versatile solution for multiple applications including weatherproofing, guiding, temperature control, cleaning, finishing and much more. Our selection has a wide variety of mounting options and filament types and may be custom designed to fit specific performance guidelines.


Although they are used for a multitude of applications, a common use is protection against environmental elements. Closely packed filaments provide resistance to air, dirt, sound and temperature and are ideal for soundproofing, light proofing and weather resistance.

Brush seals are commonly used on room, building and container transitions such as external and internal doors and windows for environmental control; on industrial dock doors for sealing out dirt and maintaining work and storage conditions as well as between datacenter rooms and compartments for temperature and dust control.

Strip brushes and brush seals also help with wire management by keeping electronic wires and cables separated and tangle-free. In automotive, they can be commonly found on splashguards on the backs of vehicles to catch dirt and debris; as well as between components inside a vehicle they work to prevent debris issues.

In industrial applications, brush seals work as conveyor belt guides, keeping items in position and preventing them from shifting. Printing presses use soft horsehair brushes to hold paper in place. With more abrasive fill, strip brushes are used for deburring or polishing. Brass filaments provide for chemical resistance and have high conductivity, making them useful for static reduction. Softer filaments make the brush ideal for cleaning applications and are soft enough not to scratch, but can easily pick up and remove dust and powders.


Brush seal construction includes evenly distributing filaments over a metal "U" shaped channel and are held in place with a center filament core. This is why brush seals and strip brushes are formally called channel back brushes. The size of the channel and the core determines the size and depth of the brush seal, while the filament determines the applications of the brush. The length of the brush can also be customized, which ensures that the brush is the most efficient size for its application.

Brush seals can also be used without a channel and mounted to another surface such as floors, walls, container openings and other products. Once manufactured, these brushes can be manipulated into a number of other shapes in order to serve a variety of purposes. The helical brush, for example, incorporates twisting a strip brush and mounting it on a central core, making it ideal for cleaning and moving applications such as conveyor belts, among other things.


Strip brush and brush seal backing are versatile and can be rigid, formed, or flexible, and we can cut it to any size.

Flexible brush seals come with a PVC backing and its nylon filaments make it chemical-resistant and useful for sealing and guiding. The brushes also have an integrated h-Profile, negating the need for traditional holders and making them easier to install than more traditional brush seals. The brushes also come in five standard backing sizes, which affect the size and shape of the final brush.


Filament materials can be made of natural materials, wire, or nylon, and we can use any filament to best serve the brush’s application. For example, antimicrobial filaments work best in foodservice, allowing the brush to perform well under high sanitation standards. Stainless steel filaments, in contrast, create a tough, durable brush resistant to corrosion and well-suited to chemical inherent environments.

Filament length and density can also be adapted to meet rigidity and flow resistance parameters. Selecting the right filament type, length and density will provide the correct pressure, performance efficiency, abrasion and protection.


Review our full line of brush seals or allow our engineers the opportunity to design exactly what you need. Contact Tanis to select a brush seal or design a custom solution.

Cylinder brushes -- also referred to as coil brushes, rotary brushes, or spiral brushes provide an excellent solution to larger cleaning, moving, sorting applications.


Applications for cylinder brushes include conveyor equipment, product sorting and moving, pharmaceutical applications, food industry, printing, packaging and material handling.


These brushes are constructed either using stapled set filament tufts or using coil construction by winding a straight metal channel strip brush around a core cylinder center.

The core provides the necessary diameter and brush length. While the channel brush style, filament type and wrap density provide the necessary filament concentration, abrasiveness and chemical resistance.

Channel brush and stapled set patterns can also be customized to address specific needs -- including helical, herringbone and other patterns -based on movement and scrub requirements. Coils can be wound left or right facing, can have loose wound or tight wound patterns or can vary by pitch -all impacting movement and abrasive affects.


Loose wound coils conform to the items it addresses and is more conducive to moving and sorting. Tight wound coils provide more abrasive performance and are commonly used in cleaning and debris removal applications.


Cylinder brushes can be manufactured with a variety of core materials and cores can be specified to a particular length and diameter. Core materials for coil cylinder brushes include solid stainless steel, or steel shaft with journey ends, stainless steel or steel tubing, or stainless steel or steel tubing with collars. Tube diameter can be made to any size.

Core materials for stapled set cylinder brushes are often made with extruded or machined plastic including polyvinylchloride (PVC), polypropylene, high density polyethylene (HDPE), ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW), ABS or Delrin.


Filament types can also be specified by abrasiveness,chemical resistance and sustainability. Filament length and density is also a consideration.


Review our full line of cylinder brushes or allow our engineers the opportunity to design exactly what you need. Contact Tanis to select a standard cylinder brush or design a custom solution.