Everything You Need to Know About Drill-Powered Scrubbing Pads

Posted by John Cittadino on

Everything You Need to Know About Drill-Powered Scrubbing Pads
Scrubbing Pads

At Drillbrush, we’re noted for our brushes. (It’s right in the name!) However, we’re not a one-trick pony in the drill-powered accessories space. When it comes to polishing, buffing, or even surface retexturing, that’s a job for our Drillbrush scrubbing pads, scrubbers built to be used in common household cordless drills and other oscillating polishers.

We’ve sold drill-powered scrub pads for many years, but several changes and improvements over the years and a massive array of colors and stiffnesses may make a first-time buffer buyer tug at their collar. So we’re going to clear the air on scrubbing pads; from what they are to what they can do!

What is a Scrubbing Pad?

What is a Scrubbing Pad?

A smorgasbord of scrubbing!

Scrubbing pads are disc-shaped non-woven nylon and polyester fiber scrubbers that attach to cordless drills and impact drivers using a hook-and-loop mesh backer. By utilizing the power of a cordless drill, these pads can polish and buff faster and more effectively than doing it by hand.

Softer pads are built for polishing and buffing delicate surfaces while some stiffer pads are closer to scouring pads; able to remove tough stains and gristle.

Pad Sizes

Pad Sizes

Look at the size of those scrubbers!

Historically, Drillbrush scrub pads have been available in a variety of size options. Those sizes being the 3 inch, 4 inch, 5 inch, 6 inch, and 8 inch diameter pads.

Small touch-up jobs can be accomplished with the 3 inch pad, while the 4 inch and 5 inch can handle more general purpose operations.6 inch and 8 inch pads are typically used on variable speed polishers for large-scale scrubbing, but can also be used on standard cordless drills and impact drivers.

In recent years, due to their practical size, the 4 inch has become the standard for scrubbing pads. As such, all of our modern pads are only available in that size. However, we still carry the 3 inch, 5 inch, 6 inch, and 8 inch pads on our website and some storefronts in select legacy colors.

Color and Coarseness

Color and Coarseness

A variety of stiffnesses for a variety of uses. Clockwise from the upper left; Red pad scrubbing a bathroom counter, Green pad scrubbing a sink, Black pad scrubbing grill grates, a Gray pad on tile, a White pad scrubbing a window, and a Light Blue pad being used on a mirror.

Drillbrush brushes are color-coded based on their bristle stiffness and application. Our scrub pads work the same way, with different colors representing the coarseness of the pad. However, due to there being alternate color options per stiffness and a revamp of our pad classification system, the chart becomes a little more dense.

Essentially, there are four categories of pads; Standard, Variant, Foam, and Legacy. Within those categories are unique color-stiffness combinations.

Why did we do it like this? While we very much wanted a simple system like our brushes, manufacturer shifts, material availability, and the continued sale of some legacy items made things complicated as time went on. Hopefully, the following pad information is presented clearly enough that it’s easy to comprehend.

Standard Colors

Standard Color

Color chart for our standard pads.

Our current standard pads are 4 inch diameter scrubbers with a fabric mesh on one side for sticking to a hook-and-loop backer. These pads are thinner than our legacy pads, but just as durable. This allows for more scrub pads to be packed in a kit and more time before you’ll need to replace your pads.

These pads are packaged with our 42O-WRB and our 21-piece kits. There are three standard pad colors:

Soft White

The softest of our standard pads, White scrubbers are perfect for polishing and buffing on delicate surfaces. These pads can clean windows, windshields, mirrors, and wood furniture.

Medium Blue

Blue pads are general purpose scrubbers, finding use in nearly every room of the house. They can scrub plastic, fiberglass, porcelain, linoleum, ceramic tile, and stainless steel surfaces. Everything from bathtubs to countertops are in its purview.

Stiff Red

Stiff red pads are for the toughest stains around the house. These pads are great for scrubbing burnt-on gristle on cookware, caked-on kitchen surface stains, and heavy dirt build-up on walls and floor.

Variant Colors

Variant Colors

Color chart for our 38-piece kit pads.

In 2021 we launched our largest kit to date; the 38-piece pad and brush combo kit. This behemoth of a brush kit featured a staggering 27 total pads in five different coarseness grades and constructions. Four of those five are standard fiber pads, but were given special alternate colors and in some cases, unique textures. Those pads are:

Soft Orange

Orange pads have the same stiffness as the Soft White standard pads and as such can be used for polishing, buffing, and scrubbing on delicate surfaces.

Moderate Wine Red

Moderate Wine Red pads act as a half-step between the Soft and Medium scrubbers. Their job is to assist in scrubbing stains slightly above the Orange pad’s abilities and to offer you additional general-purpose scrubbers to prevent cross contamination while cleaning (as we always say, you wouldn’t want to use your bathroom brushes on food prep surfaces.)

Medium Gray

The Gray pad is a medium stiffness scrubber like the Blue standard pad. As a general purpose scrubber, it can be used on a wide variety of surfaces, from bathtubs and countertops, to tile and linoleum floors.

Abrasive Green

In the spirit of our legacy Green pads, the Abrasive Green is the stiffest of the 38-piece exclusive scrubbers. These pads are thicker than the others as they're typically used on more wear-intensive jobs. These pads can scrub tough grill stains, build-up on metal surfaces, and other tougher-than-average household messes.

Foam Pads

Foam Pads

Sublime with Foam!

Also included in that 38-piece kit was a 4 inch Foam Pad. Unlike every other pad we sell, this one is not made of nylon and polyester fibers, but rather a foamy material akin to a sponge. Like the preceding pads, it also has a mesh backing that clings to hook-and-loop backers.

The foam pad is the softest pad in the line and designed for scrubbing smooth glass surfaces, such as windshields, windows, and shower doors.

Outside of the 38-piece kit, foam pads are also found in our 21-piece kit alongside the red, white, and blue standard pads.

Legacy Colors

Legacy Colors

Color chart for our legacy pads!

Prior to the creation of our modern scrub pads, we sold a variety of other scrubbers in different colors and sizes. These pads were thicker, lacked the mesh backing, and came in all of the aforementioned sizes (3 inch, 4 inch, 5 inch, 6 inch, and 8 inch diameter.) The color designations are wildly different than they are today, as manufacturer limitations resulted in certain colors needing to be used for stiffnesses we didn’t intend (such as Red being “Moderate” instead of “Stiff.”)

While no longer a fixture of combo kits, we still stock and sell singles and refill packs of these pads on our websites, and will continue to do so as long as customer interest is high enough.

Legacy pads come in seven grades of coarseness:

Very Soft White

White pads are the softest of the legacy pads and have similar usage to the modern White and Foam pads. These scrubbers are typically used on glass surfaces and furniture.

Soft Light Blue

Soft Light Blue pads are comparable to our White pads, being slightly stiffer. These brushes can handle all of the basic glass-scrubbing tasks, as well as tackle some heavier polishing, such as on shower doors and electric stovetops.

Moderate Red

Like the Moderate-to-Medium grade standard pads, Red scrubbers are general purpose cleaners, able to handle messes on porcelain, fiberglass, plastic, and more.

Medium Pink

Medium Pink pads differ from their modern-day Blue counterparts in that they have a very mild abrasive in the pads. As such, this pad, as well as the Blue, Green, and Black, have the ability to scratch and should not be used on fragile surfaces. These allow for effective cleaning of tough grime on bathroom and kitchen surfaces.

Stiff Blue

Stiff Blue pads are slightly more abrasive and are used for tougher household tasks. They’re great for scrubbing gristle off of pots and pans and can handle calcium build-up with ease.

Abrasive Green

The Abrasive Green pad is the first of two industrial scrubbers. This pad is great for copper and carbon steel surfaces and can act as a rust remover.

Aggressive Black

The toughest pad we sell, this scrubber has a heavy abrasive within its fibers and is used for industrial-grade scrubbing. This pad is often used on roofing tile, masonry, and some metal surfaces. It can even strip off loose paint!

Pad Backer

Pad Backer

Baby got Back-er.

We can talk at length about what each pad does and what the dimensions are, but without this tool, the pads don’t really do much of anything.

The 3 inch Pad Backer is a connector piece that allows a scrub pad to attach to a cordless drill. One side of the backer has a hook-and-loop mesh material surface. Similar to Velcro, this material grips to the pad fabric tight enough to keep the pad on the backer while also allowing you to easily swap out the pads based on your needs.

The other side of the backer has a 5/8 inch, 11 threads per inch threaded nut that can screw onto a variable speed polisher. However, all 3 inch Backers come with a pre-installed threaded-to-quickchange adapter that screws into the nut, which allows for it to be used in standard cordless drills and impact drivers.

Without that backer, the pad would just be laying there.

3 inch Backers are included in all pad-brush combo kits and are also sold separately. Legacy pad singles and refill kits, however, do not include the backer.

Previously, we used to have 2 inch, 5 inch, and 7 inch backers as well, but as we’ve shifted our focus to 4 inch pad, we no longer carry those sizes. However, 3 inch Backers will work on all legacy pad sizes.

Pad and Brush Combo Kits

Pad and Brush Combo Kits

Together at last!

As alluded to many times above, pads are paired with our standard drill-powered brushes to form Drillbrush Pad and Brush Combo kits. They work well at combining the strengths of both tools without having to buy two separate kits.

For example, our 42O pad kits feature our tried-and-true 4 inch, 2 inch Short, and Original brushes with the added bonus of six scrubbing pads (two soft, two medium, two stiff), a 3 inch backer, and a threaded-to-quickchange adapter. With those eleven tools, you’ll have everything you need for most general cleaning tasks all in one convenient package.

It’s a pad bonanza!

Pad and Brush kits, especially our more recently released ones, have the advantage of containing a healthy selection of tools. Our 21-piece kit, for example, features seven brushes, eleven scrub pads, an extension, a pad backer, and an adapter.

Our 38-piece kit, however, takes it to extremes, containing eight brushes, twenty-seven pads, an extension, a pad backer, and an adapter. With all those tools at your disposal, you should have no problem with any household mess!

Link_text_goes_here[LINK: pad and brush kits TEXT: You can check out all of our available pad kits here.]

Start Scrubbin’

Start Scrubbin'

Drillbrush scrub pads give you a unique way to clean. If you want to give our scrub pads a try, check out our pad kits on our website and our Amazon store.

To learn more about our flagship drill-powered brushes,you can check out our blog about the subject. We also have an article on Drillbrush accessories, the other main category of products we carry.

Photo of Author John Cittadino

John Cittadino | John is the lead graphic designer, script writer, and video editor for Drillbrush. John is a die-hard motorsports fan and loves storytelling and illustrating.


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