A good kitchen sponge should effectively clean dishes and cookware, and it’s certainly a bonus if it can be used on other surfaces as well. While a sponge can be a helpful household tool, it can also harbor odors and bacteria. “Sponges start smelling due to bacteria growing on debris that clings to sponge surfaces, especially when the sponge is wet,” says Marilee Nelson, co-founder of Branch Basics. Nelson says that properly wringing out a sponge and storing it in a container with drainage holes will help postpone this growth, but replacing your sponge on a regular basis is the best option.
To help you do that, we searched high and low for the best dish sponges, evaluating them on the following criteria: material, design features, value, and dishwasher compatibility. We also included options you can buy in bulk so you can regularly replace this handy cleaning tool.
Our top pick, the O-Cedar Multi-Use Scrunge, has a dual-sided design for versatile cleaning, and it doesn’t hold odors or scratch cookware.
Here are the best dish sponges on the market.
O-Cedar Multi-Use No Scratch Scrunge
Dual-sided for versatile cleaning
Pricier than other options
The O-Cedar Multi-Use Scrunge earns the top spot in our roundup, thanks to its longevity, absorbency, and impressive scrubbing power. This sponge features a soft and rough side, making it ideal for a variety of dishes and cookware. Not only is it effective at removing stuck-on grime, the sponge itself also washes out easily without leaving any yucky residue behind. This cellulose sponge is non-abrasive, which means it can be used to clean non-stick cookware and bakeware. You can also use it to scrub chrome fixtures and other kitchen surfaces that could stand a wipedown.
These sponges come in packs of four or six, and they’re a bit pricier than most of our other options. However, because they last a long time, you won’t have to replace them as often. According to the manufacturer, they last 20 percent longer than regular scrub sponges and should be replaced every 30 to 60 days. Since they are odor-resistant, they shouldn’t pick up any funky smells during that time frame. These cellulose sponges can be composted, which is great, but note that they are packaged in plastic.
Price at time of publish: $11
Amount: 4 to 6 | Material: Cellulose | Dimensions: 4.4 x 2.63 x 1.18 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Not listed
MR.SIGA Non-Scratch Cellulose Scrub Sponge
Safe to use on most surfaces
Available in non-scratch or heavy duty
Not as durable as others
This 12-pack of sponges is very affordably priced and performs just as well as the competition. Mr. Siga sponges feature an effective, dual-sided design: The softer cellulose side gently wipes away dirt, while the scrubber thoroughly cleans without scratching. Since they’re non-abrasive, they're safe to use on non-stick cookware and most other surfaces. They have a thick and absorbent texture, which is great for picking up food and dirt particles. No cleaning instructions are provided, but cellulose sponges can be sanitized in the dishwasher or microwave.
These multipurpose sponges can also be used to clean sinks, stoves, bathroom fixtures, and other surfaces. Just be sure to test the scrubber to avoid any potential damage. When it comes to durability, these sponges get mixed reviews. Some reports say they fall apart really quickly–in less than a week in some cases. On the upside, the sponges are inexpensive, so replacing them isn’t a costly investment. They’re available in three colors–blue, green, and yellow—and you can choose from non-scratch or heavy-duty options.
Price at time of publish: $12
Amount: 12 | Material: Cellulose | Dimensions: 4.13 x 3.34 x 0.82 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Not listed
Miw Piw Natural Loofah Dish Sponge
Plant-based and biodegradable
Won’t trap food particles
Built-in hanging loop
Lasts longer than most sponges
Falls short of one-year lifespan
Not dishwasher safe
This plant-based sponge is made from loofah fibers and is 100 percent biodegradable, making it our top choice for a zero-waste dish sponge. The unique texture of this loofah softens up in water but remains tough enough to remove stuck-on crud. Thanks to a four-layer design, the fibers are dense enough that food doesn’t get caught in them. According to the manufacturer, the sponge should last for a year before needing to be replaced. However, we found some reports of disintegration within a month or two. It can be sanitized periodically with boiling water.
The teardrop shape allows access to tight corners and makes it comfortable to hold. The sponge is small enough to fit into deep cups, and it’s safe to use on non-stick cookware and glass. It also has a built-in loop at one end so you can hang it up to dry. Best of all, this three-pack of sponges is shipped in eco-friendly, brown paper packaging to further reduce waste.
Price at time of publish: $10
Amount: 9 | Material: Loofah fibers | Dimensions: Not listed | Dishwasher Safe: No
Scrub Daddy Sponge Set
Versatile, ergonomic design
Won’t scratch cookware
Thoroughly cleans utensils, cups, and glasses
Can feel stiff and scratchy at first use
This smiley-face sponge may seem kitschy, but the innovative design allows it to clean a variety of kitchen items. It comes in packs of three, and each sponge is a different color, which helps prevent cross-contamination when cleaning different surfaces. The eyes provide an ergonomic grip for your fingers, making the sponge easy to maneuver. Thanks to a flexible design, the Scrub Daddy can mold into tight corners and deep cups. The mouth is ideal for cleaning both sides of spoons, spatulas, and other utensils. The texture of the sponge will automatically adjust, based on the water temperature. It gets softer in warm water and stays firm in cooler water, which allows for more intense scrubbing.
In the manufacturer’s lab tests, the Scrub Daddy has proven to resist odors for up to eight weeks. You can also run it through the dishwasher for a deep cleaning. It is safe to use on a variety of surfaces, including glass, cast iron, and non-stick cookware. Measuring one and a half inches thick, its unique texture allows you to clean the sides and depths of glassware simultaneously. We read some reports that the Scrub Daddy feels stiff and scratchy initially, but it softens up over time.
Price at time of publish: $10
Amount: 3 | Material: Foam | Dimensions: Not listed | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best Sponge Cloth
Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths
Gray color hides stains
Easy to wash
Can sometimes feel slimy
Hard to store
These sponge cloths from Food52 are highly absorbent and fully compostable, making them a solid eco-friendly option. They are made of durable plant-based fibers–70 percent cellulose, 30 percent cotton—and printed with water-based inks. These cloths feature a modern grid pattern and are a light gray color, which is ideal for concealing stains. They are also fast-drying, which is another big plus. Our tester says that they usually dry completely within two hours. Not only do these cloths work well for dishwashing, they also can be used as surface wipes, too. Measuring 6.75 x 8 inches, note that they are larger than most dish sponges.
There are various ways to sanitize the cloths–you can throw them in the washing machine, heat them in the microwave, or run them through the dishwasher. The cloths come in packs of ten and cost significantly more than standard sponges, but they will last a lot longer. According to the manufacturer’s website, these sponges can be washed up to 300 times before you need to replace them, and our product tester, Deanna McCormack, vouches for their durability: "These last just as long as the non-natural cloths I’d been using, and they’re much better for the environment when I do have to toss them."
Our tester only notes a few potential drawbacks: The cloths get very stiff when they dry and might feel a bit slimy when they’re damp.
Price at time of publish: $15 for Set of 4
Amount: 10 | Material: Cellulose, cotton, and water-based inks | Dimensions: 6.75 x 8 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge
Dual-sided for versatile cleaning
Removes stuck-on grime
Requires frequent replacement
This heavy-duty kitchen sponge packs some impressive cleaning power on dishes and cookware. It has a dual-sided design, with a soft sponge on one side and a scrubber on the other. The scrubber does a great job of removing stuck-on messes, while the sponge thoroughly cleans more delicate surfaces. The sponge doesn’t disintegrate or fray after repeated use, and it seems to resist odors pretty well. For hygienic purposes, the manufacturer recommends that you replace the sponge at least every three weeks. It is sold in packs of nine and 24, which should last you a good amount of time.
The Scotch-Brite sponge is safe to use on non-coated cookware, and it can be used on a variety of other surfaces, including oven grates and concrete floors. The pointy corners come in handy for accessing hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Even though the sponge is thick and absorbent, it's malleable and easy to maneuver. Keep in mind that although the scrubbing fibers are made from 100 percent recycled content, the sponge is not recyclable at the end of its lifespan.
Price at time of publish: $4
Amount: 9 | Material: Recycled content | Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.7x 0.6 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Scotch-Brite Dobie All Purpose Pads
Won’t scratch cookware
Mesh removes tough stains
May get discolored
If you want a light-duty sponge that can tackle everything from dirty dishes to caked-on grease, the Scotch-Brite Dobie has got you covered. These scoring pads are made of polyurethane and covered in mesh, giving you plenty of elbow grease to remove tough stains without scratching your cookware. They are safe to use on stainless steel, Teflon, and Silverstone-coated cookware. The mesh texture of this pad is very effective at grabbing food and dirt, while the foam core maintains a soapy lather and makes the pad comfortable to hold.
We found a few complaints that the pads start to discolor after scouring cruddy pans. However, throwing them in the dishwasher for a deep clean should restore their bright yellow coloring. They aren’t limited to the kitchen either. You can use them to clean bathrooms, carpets, and even cars.
Amount: 3 | Material: Polyurethane | Dimensions: 4.3 x 2.6 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Scrub-It Multi-Purpose Scrub Sponges
Ideal for tough jobs
Can be used on various household surfaces
Machine-washable and dryer-safe
Some found it flimsy
Scrub-It combines a microfiber sponge with a scouring pad for optimal cleaning power in the kitchen, bathroom, and anywhere around your house that could use a scrubdown. The microfiber sponge is ideal for cleaning glassware and ceramic, while the scrubber is designed to tackle tough kitchen messes. In addition to cookware, this sponge can be used to clean a variety of household items, including toilets, sinks, and stoves. Made of high-quality polyester, polyamide, and polyurethane, it will last longer than your average cellulose sponge.
For easy cleaning, this sponge is both machine-washable and dryer-safe. It comes in a pack of six and is available in two sizes: small and large. Featuring an hourglass shape, this sponge fits nicely in your hand and is easy to maneuver.
Price at time of publish: $26
Amount: 6 | Materials: Polyester, polyamide and polyurethane | Dimensions: 6.1 x 3.3 x 0.7 inches (small) x 6.7 x 4.3 x 0.7 inches (large) | Dishwasher Safe: Not listed
Peachy Clean Kitchen Scrubber
Pleasant peach fragrance
Highly resistant to odors
Won’t scratch surfaces
Made in the USA
Peach smell dissipates over time
Less absorbent than other sponges
Infused with a soft peach fragrance, these kitchen sponges create an aromatic dishwashing experience. These silicone scrubbers are resistant to odors and won’t build up any musty smells over time. They are non-abrasive, which means they can be used on non-stick cookware, stainless steel, glass, and ceramic. Although these sponges are great for scrubbing dishes, pots, and pans, they fall a bit short on absorbency, so they're not the best option for wiping down countertops.
Peachy Clean sponges are dishwasher-safe, making them a breeze to clean. Each cardboard box includes three scrubbers. This product was invented and patented, and is manufactured, by a family-run business in Georgia, and it derives its name from the Peach State.
Price at time of publish: $7
Amount: 3 | Material: Silicone | Dimensions: Not listed | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Dishwand
Impressive scrubbing power
Has a scraper for stuck-on messes
Precise soap control
Soft-touch, non-slip handle
Must purchase brand-specific refills
This heavy-duty dishwand from Scotch-Brite has some great features to help get your dishes sparkling clean. It’s used in conjunction with a cellulose scrub pad, and it’s equipped with a scraper to remove stuck-on messes. A button on the handle allows you to control the amount of dish soap that’s dispensed, and a valve prevents the soap from leaking. The soft handle provides a comfortable non-slip grip, which won’t slide out of your hands when wet.
For added convenience, the sponge heads are replaceable, so you don’t have to replace the entire brush when they wear out. The handle easily unscrews, so you can refill the soap container as needed. It also features a loop at the end, so you can hang it up to air dry, which is a great way to prevent odors from forming. This dishwand is compatible with all Scotch-Brite dishwand refills, including Greener Clean and non-scratch options, further enhancing its versatility.
Price at time of publish: $7
Amount: 1 dishwand | Material: Not listed | Dimensions: 2 x 4 x 11.25 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Not listed
Our top pick for a kitchen sponge is the O-Cedar Multi-Use Scrunge, because it’s absorbent and effective and doesn’t hold odors. It has a dual-sided design that’s gentle on dishware but tough enough to tackle stubborn grease and grime. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, the MR.SIGA Non-Scratch Cellulose Scrub Sponge is also very effective at cleaning a variety of surfaces. Just be aware that it’s not as long-lasting as other brands.
What to Look for in a Kitchen Sponge
There are several types of sponges to choose from, but cellulose and microfiber sponges are currently the most popular options.
- Cellulose: Since cellulose sponges are made from plant-based fibers, they are usually more eco-friendly than other materials. When properly cared for, they are reusable for up to six months. They are also usually biodegradable and can be composted at the end of their lifespan.
- Microfiber: Microfiber sponges are made from synthetic materials such as polyester, polyamide, and polyurethane. They are effective at absorbing dirt, and they tend to last longer than sponges made from other materials.
A dual-sided sponge provides more versatile cleaning options than a simple sponge made of one material. The softer side of a dual-sided sponge can be used on more delicate items, while the rougher side can tackle heavy-duty grease and grime. Other sponges, such as the Scrub Daddy, are specifically designed to get deep into cups and thoroughly clean utensils.
To determine which sponge offers the best value, consider the cost, and compare that with the amount in a package. You also need to factor in the lifespan of the sponge: Some last for a week or two, while others are reusable for up to six months or a year with proper care.
Some sponges are intended to go in the dishwasher, but others are not. You can refer to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to determine whether your sponge is dishwasher-safe. If it is not, you may be able to sanitize the sponge using a bleach mixture or full-strength vinegar solution. Proper sanitation will prevent odors and bacteria from forming, but it’s best to swap the sponge out in the time frame recommended by the manufacturer.
How often should you replace your kitchen sponge?
The longevity of kitchen sponges varies widely based on their construction and how frequently you use them. Some can last a week, while others promise to clean for an entire year with proper care. Not all sponges are created equally, so refer to the manufacturer's recommendations on when to replace them.
How do you make a kitchen sponge not smell?
"The fact that sponges usually do not fully dry out makes sponges a breeding ground for germs,” says Marilee Nelson, co-founder of Branch Basics. To prevent bacteria from forming and creating a funky smell, remove any food particles from the sponge, and wash it thoroughly with soap and hot water between uses. Nelson also suggests placing the sponge in a container with drain holes so the sponge can dry out between uses. Avoid using sponges to wipe up any raw egg spills, raw meat juices, or any other substances that might carry bacteria. Instead, use a disposable paper towel. Most importantly, replace your sponge often, especially if it's beginning to smell.
How do you clean and sanitize a kitchen sponge?
There are several ways you can do this. Some sponges can be placed in the dishwasher for a deep clean. You could also wet the sponge and place it in the microwave for 30 seconds, but make sure the sponge is very wet–otherwise, it could burn or catch on fire.
A bleach or vinegar soak is another effective way to kill bacteria on the sponge. You can soak the sponge in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water for two minutes and then wring it out and let it air-dry. You can also soak it in pure vinegar for five minutes and then rinse and air-dry it.
Nelson recommends the boiling-water method, which involves placing the sponge—cleaned of all food residues—in boiling water for five minutes. Afterward, you can dip it in cool water, twist the excess water out, and place it on a sponge holder with drainage holes.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Sage McHugh. She has been writing about and testing cleaning products for The Spruce since 2019. For this roundup, she considered dozens of kitchen sponges, carefully evaluating the material, design, and cleaning ability of each product. She also took hundreds of customer reviews and write-ups from third-party websites into account. For expert insight on kitchen sponges, she interviewed Marilee Nelson, a cleaning expert, environmental consultant, and certified building biologist, and co-founder of Branch Basics.