Brushes are common tools for use in industry and our daily life, performing a variety of tasks such as cleaning, scraping, applying and electrical contacts. Typical materials for constructing brush bristles include animal hairs, synthetic polymer fibres and metal wires (see, for example, ref. 1). The performance of these bristles has been limited by the oxidation and degradation of metal wires, poor strength of natural hairs, and low thermal stability of synthetic fibres. Carbon nanotubes, having a typical one-dimensional nanostructure, have excellent mechanical properties, such as high modulus and strength, high elasticity and resilience, thermal conductivity and large surface area (50-200 m2 g(-1)). Here we construct multifunctional, conductive brushes with carbon nanotube bristles grafted on fibre handles, and demonstrate their several unique tasks such as cleaning of nanoparticles from narrow spaces, coating of the inside of holes, selective chemical adsorption, and as movable electromechanical brush contacts and switches. The nanotube bristles can also be chemically functionalized for selective removal of heavy metal ions.