The Best Kitchen Sponges for Every Budget | BuzzFeed Reviews
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Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge Sponge Daddy Sponge Jetz-Scrubz Scrubber

The Best Kitchen Sponges

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Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge

  • Comfortable and durable
  • Dual-function
  • Cellulose sponge
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Sponge Daddy Sponge

  • Easy to use, even in small, narrow dishes
  • Doesn’t hold onto stains
  • Basically never smells like mildew
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Jetz-Scrubz Scrubber

  • Durable for months
  • Stand up to the worst grime
  • Easy to clean and sanitize
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The humble sponge is the hardest-working tool in your kitchen, always there to suds a single plate or scrub up after an extravagant Thanksgiving. Choosing the right one can help you avoid smelly sponge hands, endless scouring, and that looming sense of dishes dread. Whatever you typically spend on sponges, our picks might just make you look forward(ish) to your next charred pot!

 

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Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge

Starting from $0.91/sponge

The Details

Size: 4.4” x 2.6” x 0.8” inches

Cellulose with synthetic scouring pad

Non-scratch

What / Who It's Best For

  • Anyone who looking for a basic, all-purpose sponge
  • People scrubbing pots and pans on the regular
  • People who aren't precious about their cookware (and don't mind a few scratches)

Why We Love It

Our $ pick, Scotch Brite’s Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge, has a little bit of everything. Its scrubby side can coax charred tomato sauce out of a stainless steel pan with very little elbow grease and without holding onto charred bits and tomato sauce for several days afterward (as long as you rinse it well under the faucet). Its spongy side quickly lathers and spreads them around so they can actually do their job. As we discovered in testing, multifunctional sponges are key — if you can’t scrub and make lots of suds with it, what’s the point? It’s also comfortable to hold, doesn’t start to look disgusting even after several encounters with excessively dirty pots, generally rinses clean of any food particles or stains, and dries quickly (which helps prevent bacterial growth).

Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Kitchen Sponge being squeezed

We tested each sponge, including seven options in the $ category, to see if they’d scratch common dishes like wine glasses, plastic melamine cups, and three types of pans: stainless steel, ceramic, and Teflon non-stick. While the Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge didn’t scratch anything when used to lightly scrub, when we put hardcore elbow grease into it (pretending to be muscular football players), it left thin lines on the melamine cup that were very visible in regular light, and a few slight scratches on the outside of the stainless steel pan that you could see by shining it in the light (the package does note that it’s not for use on stainless steel appliances). So if you have a dishes-do-er with running back strength in your house, and some melamine or stainless steel around that often requires intense scrubbing, consider yourself warned. (There were a couple of other sponges in this price category that didn’t scratch anything at all, but they all lacked a scrubby back — a total deal-breaker when you’re faced with a stubborn dish.)  

One of our editors (and their mom!) has used these Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges for most of their life, and says that they really do hold up to tough use, whether or not you have a dishwasher nearby. But if you don’t take care of them, they can start to stink (thanks, bacteria!) in as little as two or three days. To prevent that, when you’re done with dishes, completely rinse off any and all food residue (ideally with hot water), seriously squeeze out the excess water, and let it dry out completely overnight, every night. TBH, this basic “sponge hygiene” will help any sponge last longer.

Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Kitchen sponges aligned in a grid

Because the Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge is made from cellulose (as were all the sponges in this category), a material usually derived mostly from wood or plant pulp, they don’t last forever. Even if you squeeze them out every night, these are the kind of sponges that are best to replace every two weeks or so. And that’s as long as you clean them every three or so days (or at least once a week), either by running them through the dishwasher with a heat-dry cycle or wetting them and heating in the microwave for one minute.

Unfortunately, this sponge isn’t biodegradable — almost none of the more eco-friendly sponges held up well enough after use for us to recommend them. We’d hoped Scotch-Brite’s Greener Clean sponge might be the answer, but it didn’t hold its own against the worst cooked-on food. Because the scrub pad isn’t biodegradable or compostable, you’d still have to contribute to a landfill every time you replaced it, or somehow peel the scrub pad off of the sponge, and compost the sponge.

Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Kitchen Sponge being squeezed

But if you’re in the market for a basic, cheap sponge that’ll give you the most bang for your buck, we recommend picking up a pack of Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges! Don’t just take our word for it; see what a few of the more than 800 positive reviewers from Amazon have to say.

User Reviews

"We have been buying these sponges for a long time. They really are non-scratch and do a great job of getting stuck-on food off of our dishes. We buy them in bulk because I hate the smell of old sponges and because it's much cheaper than realizing you need a new sponge, running to the grocery store, and spending two times as much is necessary on one sponge and then repeating that process week after week. These sponges are cost-efficient and hold up fairly well, even with my husband using them so vigorously it's like he is attacking our dishes for daring to be used. Definitely a great value and something we will continue to buy."
— Valerie J From Amazon
“These are fabulous scrubby sponges! The quality of these are wonderful. I can use them on my nonstick pans and not scratch them at all. I don't scrub hard, but nonstick you really don't need to scrub anyway. On the set of pans I use most, I am not concerned about scrubbing hard at all, but even if I was, the strength of the scrubber side works wonderfully without scratching my pans. I also use this on my ceramic cook-top. I am not suggesting you do this on yours, but for me, a gentle scrub gets cooked-on foods off without causing damage. Again, your cooktop may or may not scratch, but on mine, these work great, The durability of the sponge is super! To clean them, I toss mine in the washer or dishwasher. I scrub floors, counters, baseboards, walls — basically anything dirty. These things don't break down for a very long time. I get the double pack of nine on Subscribe and Save. It's great to have them on hand for such an economical price! I highly recommend these.”
— LuvMyFamily From Amazon
“I cook a lot. My husband bought me all stainless steel skillets about four years ago. I use the Scotch Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge at least three times a day every day cleaning those pots and skillets, and I’ve never had a single scratch in on any of them. Plus, this sponge outlasts the entire box of steel pads that I used to go through weekly, which saves me money. When I clean my stovetop, I use the same sponge and it has never scratched or harmed the paint on my stove (or refrigerator)! Excellent product, great price, and best of all, it’s dependable each time I use it.”
— Kim From Amazon
"This sponge is a five-star award-winner in my kitchen! I use this sponge daily to wash my dishes — plates, glassware, silverware, pots, and pans. It cleans everything easily and holds up to sanitizing in the dishwasher or microwave. It is a great all-purpose sponge!
— Daisymae142 From Walmart

Sponge Daddy Sponge

Starting from $1.12/sponge

The Details

Size

Materials

What / Who It's Best For

  • People who want more results with less elbow grease
  • Haters of stinky sponges
  • People who favor performance over longevity

Why We Love It

What if you could have a sponge that scrubs like hell and holds onto soap longer than the cellulose sponges you’re used to, but still lets tiny bits of food rinse free and isn’t likely to stink up a storm if you get a little lazy about rinsing it one night? Well, you can — with the dual-sided Sponge Daddy, part tough plastic Scrub Daddy material, part sponge. It’s incredibly flexible, especially under hot water, so you can push it down into even the funkiest-shaped dishes to clean every nook and cranny. One small dose of soap can actually last through several dishes. And because it’s not made primarily from vegetable cellulose, it actually stands up to the bacteria that makes your hands stink, though you still should sanitize it regularly by dampening it and microwaving for one minute.

Sponge Daddy Kitchen Sponge Side View

We also just like the tactile feel of it: the contrast of the textures on the two sides, and their pleasant almost-slipperiness; the way the scrub side softens in warm water but firms up in cold; the extra bubbliness of the soap. Enjoying one of the physical sensations of washing dishes adds a little something that kinda makes it less of a chore. In our scratch tests, the tough side did leave a few barely noticeable lines on a melamine cup when we scrubbed super hard; with normal use, we can’t see this scratching much at all, as long as we used soap and water.

We also recommend this over the Scrub Daddy — which we tested for the $$$ group — mostly because of the additional sponge side, which is so good at making a small amount of soap last. It’s also easier to maneuver the Sponge Daddy into small cups than the bigger Scrub Daddy. That said, some of our testers sometimes found themselves in a Scrub Daddy mood: the lemon scent, the functional gimmicks (you can clean utensils in its mouth and use its eyes for a better grip), and the cheesy smile do make washing dishes more playful.

Unfortunately, the plastic scrubby side of the Sponge Daddy and the Scrub Daddy suffer from one flaw: if you scrub seriously stuck-on food off big pots frequently (say, multiple times a day, or potentially even every day), reviewers complain that the plastic bits start to break off. This shortens the life of the sponge and potentially adds more microplastics to the water system. If you’re in that boat, either downgrade to the $ pick and replace them more often, or stick around for the $$$ pick, which holds up through months of regular scouring.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly sponge, don’t even try to ask Daddy. Its website says the sponge is a “highly engineered cellulose” and the scrubbers are a “highly engineered polymer foam.” Between that and a close inspection of the sponge, it’s easy to see: yep, these seem to be made of two types of plastic foam, which likely come from crude oil. And even though it’s plastic, it’s *not* recyclable (probably because it’s foam).

Sponge Daddy Scrub Daddy Kitchen Dish Sponge standing up

Really, there’s not a high-performing eco-friendly sponge out there, at least not one that we found. Twist is perhaps the most well-known biodegradable sponge. Made from hemp, agave, and cotton, it meets the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for Biodegradable Plastics — meaning it and its plastic packaging should compost in “municipal and industrial composting facilities.” While we only tested the scrub sponge out of their line, we found it gross that the bright-white rectangle held onto the stains of almost every food it came into contact with. We also didn’t find the scrub side to be even close to as effective as others we tested.  

Full Circle’s Walnut Scrubber sponge, another eco choice, was uncomfortable to use because the scrubber itself felt too stiff for the sponge. It also stained quickly, and while its website says that the sponges will “completely break down when thrown away,” it doesn’t list a particular certification to back that up (they are a certified B Corp, though). Also not certified, at least not by ASTM or similar: Trader Joe’s Pop-Up Sponges, which also are made from natural vegetable cellulose. We did like the TJ’s sponge better, because its mellow yellow color doesn’t show stains like the bright-white Twist or Full Circle, it seems to hold soap longer, and it’s very comfortable to use. Its downfall: it lacks a scrubby side, an essential for most people washing dishes daily.

Sponge Daddy Scrub Daddy stacked on top of each other

But if you’re looking for a sponge that resists stink, helps you use less elbow grease when you need to get down and dirty with a charred pot, lets you use less soap overall, and is just, like, fun to use, we recommend giving the Sponge Daddy a shot!

User Reviews

“They’re excellent and really don’t get stinky at all. The scrubber part of it goes away first (mind you I don’t have a washer so I wash dishes a few times a day), so I have to stop using it for dishes after a month and a half to two months — but I used to throw away normal sponges every two weeks. It’s going to take me more than a year to use these three-packs of four. That’s how durable they are. No matter how dirty you get them or how much you use them they always stay clean, not smelly, and keep the shape. Big bonus: I don’t have to use as much detergent as with the normal sponges; these create much more foam on their own. I must add, I have had original Scrub Daddy as well. I’m not happy with it. It does everything as advertised, but since I used it so much, I widened the eyes and the mouth to the point it wasn’t usable anymore. I found the eyes and mouth very useful, but wouldn’t recommend it to someone who washes dishes every day like I do. Stick to these Sponge Daddys and you won’t be sorry.”
— Jelena Gabela From Amazon
“BEST sponges you’ll ever buy! I LOVE these and highly recommend them. It’s easy to see when you need to replace because the harder scrub half deteriorates. Never smells and it’s so soft. Does what I need it to do! Never going back to regular sponges.”
— Lucas From Target
“These have become my favorite sponges to use when washing dishes at home. Unlike most of the sponges I get from the store, this sponge doesn’t get smelly after weeks of usage. They don’t scratch up sensitive surfaces, yet they are still tough enough to get the grime off. 5/5 stars! I highly recommend trying these sponges out if you hate the gross smell of old sponges.”
— Customer From Amazon
“OMG! A sponge that doesn't hold smells or keep dirt. Where have you been in my life! I LOVE that they added a sponge. Picture this: You use the scrubbing away trying to clean something ridiculously hard, say, the stove after two months (lol, just an example). You get a pile of grime un-stuck but it’s still on your stove. Now what? Grab a paper towel and wipe it down some more? The Scrub Daddy won't pick up what you have broken up. With the sponge built in, you don't need two instruments anymore! However, I do wish the Scrub Daddy part was thicker. It's not attached as well as it could be, and I foresee it falling apart before it actually wears out. Same with the sponge itself, except that it is thicker than the scrubby part.”
— E G From Amazon

Sponge Daddy

More daddy for your dollar

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Jetz-Scrubz Scrubber

Starting from $5/sponge

The Details

Size

Materials

What / Who It's Best For

  • Frequent pan blackeners
  • People without a dishwasher
  • People concerned (ish) about the environment

Why We Love It

The Jetz-Scrubz Scrubber Sponge is the one sponge to rule them all. Some reviewers report that it lasts at least eight full months, and sometimes longer than that. Like the Sponge Daddy, both the scrub side and the sponge side are made of plastic or a plastic foam instead of cellulose — they hold onto soap longer and take much longer to smell funky. But unlike the Sponge Daddy, its scrubby side doesn’t slowly disintegrate into your sink (at least not for a good long while). It stays firmly attached to the sponge, ready to tackle whatever dirty dish you throw at it, one stuck-on-tomato-spot at a time.

Jetz-Scrubber Kitchen Dish Best Sponge being squeezed

And speaking of tomatoes: because the Jetz-Scrubz Scrubber Sponge is a fashionable black, nothing stains it. It doesn’t turn purple when you wash out your beet salad bowl, and it’ll still look brand new no matter how many charred surfaces you tackle. To keep the mildew smell at bay, you still have to rinse off any food particles and squeeze it out well so it can dry between uses, but if you get a little lazy about it once or twice, you can still reach for it without contaminating your hands with gross sponge smell. Then once a week or so, sanitize it by simply tossing it on your dishwasher’s top rack with the heat-dry setting. You also could probably launder it without fabric softener, if you don’t have a dishwasher.

Jetz-Scrubz argues that it’s eco-friendly because it can last so freaking long that you’ll cut down your landfill contribution at least somewhat. Not needing to toss a cellulose sponge every other week means there’s not nearly so many sponges in the trash, which makes sense. That said, it is made from a foam and plastic-like material, which we suspect is made from crude oil products — a non-renewable resource — as opposed to typical cellulose, which is made from fibrous trees and plants. On top of that, of course it’s not recyclable, and when/if it does start to disintegrate, it would be sending plastic down the drain.

For an ultimate pairing that could prolong the life of your Jetz-Scrubz Scrubber Sponge even longer, we suggest also picking up a pack of Trader Joe’s Pop-Up Sponges, which at the moment are $7.99 for 12 in stores (that’s $0.67/sponge). All of our testers enjoyed using the TJ’s sponges the most, hands down: they hold soap longer, like the Sponge Daddy, but feel incredibly comfortable to use. Plus, even though they’re not officially certified as biodegradable, the hearsay on the internet is you can compost them at home. The TJ’s lack of a scrubby side was ultimately a deal-breaker, because you can’t use it alone — but combine that comfort with the Jetz’s scrub powers, and you have a duo that could win the sponge Super Bowl.

Jetz-Scrubz Scrubber + Trader Joes Pop-Up Sponge Combo

Some reviewers find that the rectangular Jetz-Scrubz Scrubber Sponge is a bit too big to comfortably hold, so if you’re in that boat, they make the exact same scrubber in a small round shape that’s equally well-reviewed. And if you’re not convinced yet, see what the enthusiastic reviewers of Amazon have to say below.

Side note: when we first started looking at which sponges we wanted to make the cut, we decided dishwands might be the miracle upgrade we were looking for. They look like they make things just so easy, right? Just push a button and scrub your heart out. Except all our testers have to say is GTFO! They’re incredibly difficult to completely squeeze out, so they get smelly far too quickly, they offer only a single scrubbing surface (versus a scrub and a sponge side), and a couple of the ones we tested actually sent dirty dish water back into the handle’s soap reservoir as we washed. Ew.

 

User Reviews

“I have been buying these sponges for a few years now and you can't go wrong! They are a bit on the expensive side but they last forever!! No foul smell after a few weeks!!! They hold the dish soap suds, and the scrubber side does not fall apart after a few uses. I do dishes every day and one of these sponges will last me at least eight months, sometimes longer. There is not a better sponge for me, and I will not buy any other sponge.”
— Wendy From Amazon
“These sponges are great. They don't ever smell, they last a long time, and I love that they are black so they don't show discoloration on them. They are definitely worth a little extra money when I think about how often I normally need to change sponges... these hold up for months. I usually end up switching to a new one only ‘cause I feel I've been using it so long, not because it falls apart or smells... neither is a problem with these. Highly recommended.”
— LFP From Amazon
“NOT all sponges are alike — this one is phenomenal! Yes, I realize how pathetic it is to post a review about a kitchen sponge, but I just wanted to alert others that there IS a sponge out there that actually holds soap, cleans thoroughly without scratching, and lasts FOREVER without mildewing or shrinking to the size of a postage stamp. I've even given these out as presents ... and although each recipient's initial reaction has been lukewarm, everyone has come back later and thanked me profusely. I'll never use another type of kitchen sponge again!”
— MyVoice From Amazon
“These are the best. I previously used store-bought sponges to wash the dishes — never again. This has replaced at least a dozen regular sponges. I am still using the first scrubber and it has been over a year! Granted, I am single and don't use it as much as a normal family would. No stink, no falling apart, dries quickly. What more could you ask for? Oh, and made in the USA!”
— TidBart From Amazon

Jetz-Scrubz Scrubber

A perfectly pinnacle pick

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