Wire Brushes Information

Wire brushWire brushes are tools primarily used for abrasive purposes, such as cleaning rust and removing paint. Wire brushes are also used for cleaning surfaces for better conductivity of electrical connections such as car battery posts and connectors. They can also be used by veterinarians to clean large animal teeth, such as horse teeth. Wire brushes often have a wooden or plastic handle. The wires of wire brushes are joined by epoxy, staples, or one continuous wire. Certain types are used as electric drills or angle grinders as well.


In general, high-carbon steel is used to prepare the bristles of wire brushes. Other materials used to create bristles for wire brushes include aluminum, brass, bronze, or brass plating on steel bristles. Generally steel is used as bristles; other types are used according to surface of application and type of work. For example, brass bristles are used in flammable areas or on softer surfaces.


Wire brushes are classified into several types, including:

  • rotary brushes
  • power brushes
  • file cards
  • thread brushes
  • disc brushes
  • cup brushes
  • end brushes
  • flare brushes
  • hand brushes
  • scratch brushes
  • plater's brushes
  • wire brooms
  • scrub brushes
  • washout brushes
  • internal brushes
  • twisted-in-wire brushes
  • bore brushes
  • wheel brushes
  • specialty brushes

Other, unlisted types of wire brushes may also be available.


Special features for wire brushes include filament or tuft conditions, straight wires, crimped wires, twist knot or knotted tufts, cable twist, stinger bead, non-tufted, or monofilament. File cards often consist of wires with a monofilament or non-tufted construction. Certain wire brushes can also be encapsulated with a dry lubricant or cutting aid whereas some others are designed to have non-shielding characteristics. The wheels of rotary or power wire brushes are often mounted on a shaft or mandrel.


Wire brushes are most often used for cleaning purposes. The stiff wire brush applications include aggressive scrubbing, heavy duty brushing, scratching, descaling, cleaning, stripping of coatings, and material removal applications. Medium bristled wire brushes are used for blending or removing of parting lines, seams, or other notable surface imperfections. Soft bristles are often used for finishing surfaces or cleaning applications. The broom forms are used in scrub, hand brushes, and brooms as well. Common uses of wire brushes include metal working applications.

Related Information

CR4 Community—Surface Finishing Tips for Steel Wire Wheel Brushes


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