Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Having just moved I became curious about a rarely considered accessory in nearly every bathroom—the toilet brush. Unless you have purchased a completely enclosed toilet brush, then this is generally not one of those items that gets packed and moved. Instead it is left behind for the new owner. A lovely present, really. Although come to think of it the sellers of our house took theirs with them.

Ikea has decent, basic toilet brushes for 99 cents, so we bought two. But suddenly I started observing toilet brushes in every bathroom I visited. Actually it really hit me when I saw a brush at a non-profit organization that was simply balancing on the corner of 2 walls in the stall. Most toilet brushes come in their own little holder. Even the 99 cent one did. I began to wonder, who invented the toilet brush and is it really effective?

In the age of “Googling” I thought it would be very easy to find
information about the history of our cute cultural icon, but not so. Apparently this little tool has worked so well in the last-- I don’t know how many years (how much time do I really have to search this stuff out?) that there haven’t been any significant refinements made. What I did find out from was that the Addis Brush Company made their first fake Christmas tree using the same machinery that made their toilet brushes! Hello capitalism!

But of course, leave it to this activist to find the toilet brush used for something altogether different. Ever hear of the Amnesty Brush-Off? Apparently the toilet brush was also used last year as an advocacy icon against the LA Mayor when he made a comment that could loosely be perceived that most Americans have immigrants cleaning their toilets. Only in America can we have one side fighting for immigration and another side protesting that they know how to use their toilet brush and then turn it into a campaign!