You may be brand-loyal to your sparkling water or your sunscreen, but what about your kitchen sponge? If the thought of hand-washing a stack of dirty dishes for 20 minutes is making you squirm right now, it’s possible that reaching for the cheapest sponge you can find at the grocery store might not be the best method going forward. We’re not always saying that a more expensive product, by default, will always be better — it’s just that you don’t have to settle for a hellish dishwashing experience if you don’t want to!
It’s worth bearing in mind that whatever type you prefer (whether for its pleasurable tactility or preferred scrub-abrasiveness), with few exceptions, it’s a good idea to find a sponge that you’re okay with replacing on a semi-regular basis. A study from Scientific Reports on the extensive microbiomes that proliferate on well-used kitchen sponges suggests that users should replace their sponges on a weekly basis. Read up on the rest of that study, if you need further convincing that leaving a wet sponge in the bottom of your sink isn’t the most disgusting thing imaginable.
So roll up your sleeves, cue up a podcast (Song Exploder is the perfect dishwashing accompaniment), and reach for one of these eight user-favorite kitchen sponges.
DishFish Dual Scrubber Sponge (Four-Pack)
The DishFish is one of the best kitchen sponges to use because of its unique tactility. It’s pretty plush for a sponge, comprised of open-cell foam that helps it retain its shape and dry quickly. The foam also absorbs dish soap wonderfully, instead of it sliding right off. This dual-sided sponge is gentle, as advertised, working just as well on heavy-duty cookware as it does on delicate glasses.
Though the foam is soft, its fish-like form is more rigid than most, preventing it from slipping around in your hand while you’re trying to scrub out a tough spot. The sponge’s “fin” can be gripped with the fingers, to give the user more control and also get the job over with faster.
Scrub Daddy (Pack of Four)
The Scrub Daddy, a Shark Tank success story, is hailed by users for its unique design and versatile scrubbing texture. Warm water will soften this sponge up, while cold water will keep it taut, enabling it to work with appropriate scrubbing power on nearly any material. The eyeholes of the Scrub Daddy can be used as grips for fingers, and its mouth is adept at scrubbing smaller utensils.
The Scrub Daddy can also be used outside of the kitchen, if you want to relegate sponges in the pack to scrubbing sneakers, wall scuffs, and bathtub rings!
Scotch-Brite Scrub Dots Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge (Six-Pack)
As far as bargain picks go, Scotch-Brite’s Scrub Dots Sponges are the ones that we find best strike the balance of cost-and-cleaning-effectiveness. These blue, wavy sponges remain rigid even after wetting and lathering them up, letting users get a better handle on their dish load. The Scrub Dots do require a little extra elbow grease to tackle baked-on gunk, but work just fine as a more gentle alternative to other scrubbers.
We’ve found that as soon as the sponge begins to wilt, or seems to not maintain the rigidity it did in its first few uses, that’s a good indicator of when to toss and move onto the next one in the pack.
Nano Sponge Kitchen Cleaning Sponges. Everyday, Medium Sized, Heavy Duty Household Kitchen and Dish Sponge. 2 Pack. 4.5 x 3
The Nano Sponge is made of a proprietary Nanolon fiber that is woven in two different textures on either side — one soft and the other more abrasive. Because these are cloth sponges, they have a little more longevity than foam, and some users note that they clean them weekly in their dishwasher.
These sponges have about a month-long lifespan, as long as they’re cleaned, and are touted by reviewers for being safe to use on virtually any cookware material or kitchen surface
O-Cedar Multi-Use Scrunge Scrub Sponge (Pack of Six)
The Scrunge is Amazon’s reigning sponge champion, with 80% of its current 1,414 reviewers giving it a five-star rating. The scrubber part of this sponge is more substantial than other picks, at about 1/4 of an inch thick, and has a unique, rippled texture for scrubbing off gunk without scratching up cookware surfaces.
Users especially love how absorbent this sponge is, and feel like they don’t have to continually add dish soap to it, since the sponge nicely retains it through the washing process.
Twist Scrub Sponges (Six-Pack)
Now that we’re informed on how gross our old foam sponges can get, there’s much more incentive to throw them out sooner … but isn’t that super wasteful? It is, but you can always repurpose your old kitchen sponges for cleaning other areas of the home before tossing them for good. And thankfully, the Twist biodegradable sponge also exists!
While these sponges aren’t quite as durable as some of the others that we’ve mentioned, they do get extra points for being eco-friendly. They’re dye-free and made of plant-derived cellulose fiber, and are also dishwasher-safe, so you can sanitize them easily. Best of all, they are biodegradable and hand-sewn together (instead of glued), so you can drop them in the compost bin after thoroughly rinsing them out.