Courtney Allan

Home & Garden

IKEA product designer claims that her $1.49 design is the “world’s best”

IKEA product designer claims that her $1.49 design is the “world’s best”

Iina Vuorivirta “loves doing the dishes” and it was this passion that took the IKEA product designer to the ultimate level.

She was given a brief from Ikea to make “the best dish brush in the whole world”, which is a dream come true for the designer.

“It still makes me a little bit shaky,” Ms Vuorivirta said to

The brush that you can buy for a low $1.49 from the furniture giant might not look like much, but it took a full 18 months of design, testing and iteration to meet five requirements set by IKEA.

These elements are:

  • Form
  • Function
  • Low price
  • Quality
  • Sustainability
 Vuorivirta worked across the whole product range but said that her favourite products are “these kind of everyday life little heroes that you sort of take for granted, but when you have them right it’s a fluid part of your daily routine”.

She spoke at IKEA's recent Democratic Design Days conference in Almhult and went into detail about the extensive testing the dish brush went through.

“It was a long learning curve, together with a big amount of people to get this thing done,” she said.

“We made it out of recycled plastics. I even designed air bubbles inside the handle to be able to maximise the material but not (compromise) when it comes to the ergonomics, how it feels to handle, how balanced it is, and how it of course looks.”

Photo source: IKEA

The brush went on sale in Australia in April and has since sold 20,000 units. Ms Vuorivirta said that a lot of thought went into the whole process.

“With this one we didn’t only want to make the best dish brush in the whole world but also we were really being picky when it comes to the price tag,” she explained.

“This will be the dish brush for the many people and the price tag also needs to be according to that. So it was a long journey. But it still makes me really happy.”

IKEA is known for the obsessive and minute changes that are made across its entire range which is used to drive down costs.

“You would be surprised if you knew how much time we spent on each single detail of a product,” said Henrik Heegaard, product design manager and co-create Ikea manager. “Cut down assembly by five seconds, cut down the time it takes from the start of the production line to the end, these things make the whole difference.”

Heegaard also explained that the recent addition of sustainability to the design requirements of Ikea have meant that sometimes, the company may compromise on price.

“Where we look at products where we supply high volumes, of course we are very, very keen on making sure that is planet-positive — how can we go from virgin plastics to recycled plastics, for instance — and today that is more expensive,” he said.

“There we go in and say, you know what, here we take our responsibility and put recycled plastic in there since this is a need our customers have. Then there's also times where we need to have a very specific price point where we just need to try harder to add in sustainability."