We Asked 3 Cleaners to Name the Best Sponge — Here Are the Surprising Results

published Oct 16, 2023
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Credit: Emma Fiala

Without the right tools on hand, hand-washing your dishes can be time-consuming and, honestly, a little gross. Now that I’ve landed on an all-time favorite dish soap (looking at you, Dawn Powerwash), I’ve been on the hunt for a go-to sponge. My standards? I want a dish sponge that’s absorbent enough to hold plenty of water and soap, just abrasive enough to scrub stuck-on food residue without damaging my dishes, and, most importantly, one that doesn’t stink up my kitchen

To do some recon on the best sponges out there, I tapped a few professional cleaners who use them on the regular. The three cleaners I interviewed had a clear favorite — but there were also a few runners-up to consider if you’re looking for something different. Let’s take a look!

The Overall Favorite: Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge

It might not be super fancy, but this Scotch-Brite classic came up multiple times when I asked cleaners which sponge they rely on the most. The consensus is that Scotch-Brite is a reliable, affordable brand, but a few unique features make this specific sponge stand out. 

Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning, says an abrasive scrubbing sponge like this one comes in handy for pots and pans, or for dishes you’ve let sit one too many days. “This sponge has a green abrasive side that’s great for tackling tough kitchen messes,” she says. “It’s durable and readily available in practically all grocery stores.”

Muffetta Krueger, owner of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants, appreciates the non-abrasive side, which won’t damage delicate surfaces while cleaning. She’s also noticed it lasts a long time compared to other sponges because it’s designed to endure tough scrubbing. A big bonus: Krueger says the sponge dries really quickly, which prevents bacterial growth (read: bad kitchen smells). 

Favorite Runners-Up 

Want another option? The cleaners I interviewed shared a few other favorite sponges.

Scrub Mommy

Delah Gomasi, managing director and CEO at MaidForYou, is a fan of the Scrub Mommy line for several reasons. While it’s a bit pricier than the ScotchBrite sponges, Gomasi says the Scrub Mommy is consistently effective on dishes of all kinds. “It’s effective for removing pent-up stains and grime from dishes and kitchen countertops,” she says. 

It’s also versatile: The Scrub Mommy is unique because it has a side that changes textures depending on the temperature of water you’re using — firm in cold water and gentle in warm. Plus, with its signature happy face design, this sponge is fun to look at and use.

Full Circle in a Nutshell Walnut Scrubber Sponge 

If eco-friendliness is a priority for you, then you might want to consider natural fiber sponges. Toner likes this earth-friendly sponge, which is made of cellulose for light scrubbing and ground walnut shells for a more abrasive scrub. “It’s tough on grime and stains while also being gentle on the environment,” she says.

A Smart Tip 

It’s a good idea to keep a couple of sponges on hand, so you can customize your sponge to the type of job you’re tackling (and protect your sponges from overuse). Toner recommends a more abrasive option for stuck-on gunk (think: pots and pans with dried food residue or baking sheets with burned-on gunk). For lighter messes like wiping down counters or cleaning dishes, non-scratch sponges are a solid pick.