2013 Gift Guide – Clothes Brush

This year, I want to share some products that I use and love as present ideas. There are a myriad of gift guides out there on the internet, but some can seem rather impersonal, as if the intention is just to push sales rather than help you find something special. I’m not selling anything here, nor making money off any links, and I’d like to think I have an interesting angle because of my background. I hope my suggestions are helpful for someone on your list!

My first gift idea is a clothes brush. Have you ever heard of it? Clothes brushes are used to care for your wardrobe and can extend the life of your clothing. Brilliant, right?

Before the invention of the washing machine or dry cleaning, clothes laundering was all done by hand. To reduce the amount of washings a garment required, clothes brushes were used to remove dirt. Think about the times you’ve seen Bates and O’Brien cleaning their masters’ clothes on Downton Abbey. While washing machines require less hands-on action, they definitely decrease the life of a garment because they can wear out a garment quickly. Plus, clothing detergent is filled with chemicals that can also fade and break down a piece of clothing. Same with dry cleaning.

A clothes brush will decrease the amount of times you have to wet wash a garment. Let’s be honest, unless you are seriously sweating most of our clothing doesn’t need to be washed after every wear, especially those garments that don’t touch the skin directly. Suits, dress pants or skirts, blazers, and jeans are all good candidates for the clothes brush. I don’t suggest you use a clothes brush with underwear, knit fabrics, or woven garments with a lot of texture.

To use one, brush against the nap of the material or the direction the fabric lies. This removes dust and dirt. Never use a scrubbing motion, but instead use short and quick strokes. Then you reverse the direction and brush gently along the nap to create a smooth finish.

For further instructions, check out The Butler’s Closet. It has a great guide to using a clothes brush with specific directions for wool clothing, jackets, trousers, skirts, and hats based on The Butler’s Guide to Clothes Care, Managing the Table, Running the Home & Other Graces from 1892.

If you want to buy a clothes brush for someone on your holiday list (or even yourself), look for one with natural bristles. Mine is made from goat hair, but you can also get quality brushes made of boar bristles.

I bought my brush from a Chicago-area boutique called the Careful Peach, but here are a few online:
English Horn Clothes Brush from The Butler’s Closet
Clothes brushes from Kent.
Redecker Clothes Brush with Handle from Crate & Barrel

P.S. Bonus tip — a clothes brush is good for the environment too!
P.P.S. More gift ideas on my Pinterest board!

Holly and ivy graphic by MyCuteGraphics.