Clean Better: Scrubbing Sponges to Make Cleanup Way Easier

Rub-a-dub-dub, three ways to scrub.

byJohn Sass| PUBLISHED Jul 14, 2020 2:57 PM
Clean Better: Scrubbing Sponges to Make Cleanup Way Easier
Look at that sink sparkle. Karolina Grabowska

Traditionally, sponges were literally the processed skeletons of sea sponges—hardy little seas animals that live on the ocean floor. Ancient Romans even stuck these little guys on sticks and used them like toilet paper. While natural sea sponges are still in use today, most commercial sponges rely on other materials for max scrubbability. Here are three options to consider when selecting the right sponge for the job.

Two-sided product for gentle wiping or heavy cleaning.

Many conventional sponges are mostly cellulose plant fiber. This is basically processed wood pulp. Some heavy-duty sponges also have a rough side coated in minerals to increase scrubbing efficiency—especially useful for bigger cleaning jobs like removing baked-on food particles or tough grime. It’s a fine balance between efficiency and abrasiveness, especially when it comes to cleaning coated cookware or tools, so look for sponges labeled safe for those applications.

This option uses recycled materials and 100 percent plant-based fibers.

Many conventional sponges contain some plastic, so tossing out your sponge weekly adds to the burden on landfills. Greener sponge options rely entirely on plant-based fibers and may even employ recycled materials for manufacturing the sponge and its packaging. The rough side of such eco-friendly sponges often incorporates even more plant material—such as agave fibers—for heavy-duty scouring.

Throw this product in the washing machine to extend its life.

The other option for efficient scrubbing is a microfiber sponge. This is a plastic-based fabric, so these sponges are softer and maybe less abrasive for delicate surfaces. The main benefit of microfiber sponges is reusability since you can toss them in the washing machine and dryer to keep them fresher for longer.