Low Waste Cleaning: Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths

Highly absorbent compostable cleaning cloths for every surface

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

4.8

Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths

Food 52 Wash Cloths

The Spruce / Deanna McCormack

What We Like
  • Fully compostable

  • Very absorbent

  • Grey color hides stains

  • Easy to wash

What We Don't Like
  • Dries stiff

  • Can sometimes feel slimy

  • Hard to store

Bottom Line

If you clean spills and wipe surfaces daily and are looking for a no-waste alternative to paper towels that is a combination of a sponge and cloth, you’ll love how these Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths perform and look and how easy they are to disinfect between uses.

4.8

Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths

Food 52 Wash Cloths

The Spruce / Deanna McCormack

We purchased the Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths so our reviewer could put them to the test in her home. Keep reading for our full product review.

I make it a priority in my home to reduce plastic and landfill waste when I can, and I’m always on the hunt for good alternatives to household items that get a lot of use, like plastic snack bags and paper towels. For cleaning my kitchen countertops, tabletops, pots, and pans I’ve already swapped out paper towels for cloth sponges—but I end up tossing them out every few weeks (or even less) when they get smelly. When I had the opportunity to test Food52’s Compostable Sponge Cloths, I was excited to see how they compared to what I already use. You might not think there’s a lot to consider when buying a compostable cloth, but while testing I looked closely at things like lifespan, odor, material, drying ability, cost, and care.

Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths

The Spruce / Deanna McCormack

Unlike the cloths and sponges you can purchase at your local grocery or superstore, the Food52 Five Two Sponge Cloths are fully compostable. You can compost them through your local composting program or using an at-home home compost (which I did), and they will break down in just six weeks. I used these cloths daily for approximately four weeks, washing them about once a week, and they barely showed signs of wear. In my opinion, 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. The website says you can wash them up to 300 times before you will need to start with a new cloth.


Each sponge measures 6.75 x 8" and is relatively thick—the perfect size for me to handle and clean small areas when needed.

Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths

The Spruce / Deanna McCormack

The cloths themselves are made of sturdy plant-based fibers; 70 percent cellulose and 30 percent cotton and are printed with water-based inks. Holding and using these sponges, I wouldn’t notice a difference between them and the non-natural cloths I’m used to. The only caveat is that I did notice they have a slimy feeling if you use them on certain spills or don’t let them dry all the way. When I put these cloths to the test for spills and cleaning, I was pleasantly surprised at how much liquid they can hold. According to the Food52 website, they can hold up to 16 times their weight in water.

I used these cloths daily for approximately four weeks, and they barely showed signs of wear.

After testing them around my house, I agree they’re very absorbent and can clean up most messes with a single swipe. Each sponge measures 6.75 x 8" and is relatively thick—the perfect size for me to handle and clean small areas when needed. I tried the cloths with household multipurpose cleaning products like Lysol and on glass with Windex. The cloths did great with these products and didn’t leave streaks.

Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths

The Spruce / Deanna McCormack

After cleaning with these cloths, I wring them out and hang them over my in-sink storage to dry. They would usually dry completely in about two hours. If you don’t have a place to drape these to dry, they would be hard to store. One thing I don’t love is how these cloths can dry to be super stiff. If I wasn’t careful, they would end up in weird shapes, and then I’d have to wet them before wiping a spill. As far as care goes, when I noticed that a cloth was starting to stain or smell, I followed the instructions on the website for cleaning them. I tested running them through the dishwasher, adding them to a load in the washing machine, and heating them in the microwave for 3 minutes. Personally, I liked the dishwasher method best because it was most convenient, and I didn’t have to worry about cleaning chemicals or food stains getting on my clothing.

They have a modern grid design and are a slight grey color that hides stains nicely.

Aesthetically, I like the look of these sponge cloths. They have a modern grid design and are a slight grey color that hides stains nicely. There are two of each of the five colors in the pack of 10. I like that these sponge cloths come in a pack of 10 because I won’t have to replace my supply any time soon. Also, having more cloths means I can use them for more things around the house. For example, I put one cloth in my bathroom, one in my kitchen, and kept one aside for my windows. These double up as both dish sponges and surface wipes.

Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths

The Spruce / Deanna McCormack

Frequently Asked Questions

Are these cloths safe to use with cleaning products like bleach?

Yes! According to the Food52 website, the colorfast prints are safe to use with bleach. I tested them with other cleaning products (natural and non-natural) and had no issues with breakage.

Are these cloths worth their price?

Since these cloths come in a pack of 10 for around $30, they work out to about $3 per cloth. Other similar compostable cloths can cost up to $7 per sponge, so the Food 52 Five Two cloths are a much better value. Comparing the Food 52 cloths to regular reusable sponge cloths, they are a few dollars more per cloth but worth it in my mind because of their lesser environmental impact and high quality.

Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths vs. Ten & Co. Sponge Cloth

One of the biggest competitors for Swedish-made compostable sponge cloths is the Ten & Co. Sponge Cloth. They have a similar lifespan and absorbency to the Food52 cloths but come in cuter patterns. They also claim to be naturally anti-bacterial and less odorous due to their quick drying ability. That said, I’d choose the Five Two Sponge Cloths because they are only around $3 per cloth whereas the Ten & Co. cloths are $6 each.

Final Verdict

Buy them!

Overall, I loved the Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths. They are powerfully absorbent, and I feel good knowing they are earth-friendly and fully biodegradable. The patterns are cute and modern and hide stains, and the cloths perform equal or better than the non-natural sponge cloths I usually buy. They cost a little more per cloth but are totally worth it.

Specs

  • Product Name Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths
  • Product Brand Food52
  • Price $29
  • Product Dimensions 6.75 x 8 in.
  • Color Blue, Red, Pink, and Yellow
  • Materials 70% Cellulose, 30% Cotton and Water-Based Inks