The Unexpected Reason Why Escalators Have Brushes

source: Youtube/BRIGHT SIDE

Do you remember those childhood days when you thought the brushes on the sides of escalators were there to clean your shoes? I can vividly recall believing in that peculiar notion. However, as it turns out, the truth behind the presence of those seemingly ordinary “escalator brushes” is far more intriguing than my childhood assumptions.

So, what exactly are these brushes for? Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t there to give your shoes a quick polish. Instead, they serve a crucial role as a safety feature, acting as both a warning sign and a buffer. In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, accidents can happen, and escalator brushes play a pivotal role in preventing potential mishaps.

Every escalator is equipped with these unassuming brushes, strategically placed along the sides. The small gap, known as the skirt, between the moving stairs of the escalator and the sides, leads down into the intricate machinery that propels the escalator forward. It’s in this tight space that various objects, ranging from bags and jackets to even toes, can get wedged, posing a serious threat to both the proper functioning of the escalator and the safety of individuals using it.

Imagine the scenario: a child’s jacket gets caught in the gap, or someone’s toe accidentally slips into the dangerous space. The power of the escalator is enough to cause significant damage to body parts and disrupt the smooth operation of the machinery. This is where the ingenious design of escalator brushes comes into play.


The brushes act as a safety standard, effectively preventing foreign objects from entering the gap or, in case something does find its way there, deflecting it away from the crucial gears and motors. In essence, these unassuming brushes act as guardians, ensuring that the escalator continues to function properly and, more importantly, that individuals remain safe from potential harm.

So, the brushes serve as a barrier, protecting us from the unexpected and averting accidents that could result in injuries or escalator malfunctions.

Now that I know the true purpose behind these seemingly plain escalator brushes, I can’t help but appreciate the thoughtful engineering that goes into making our everyday experiences safer. Next time you find yourself riding an escalator, take a moment to glance at those unassuming brushes on the sides, and remember that they are there not just for show but as a vital component of the escalator’s safety mechanism. It’s a small detail that makes a significant difference in our daily lives, ensuring that we can step on and off escalators with confidence, knowing that we’re protected by more than just a simple cleaning device.