5 Types of Cleaning Sponges

Overhead still life showing the different types of sponges

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Cleaning sponges are not "one size fits all." In fact, there is a surprisingly large array of sponges available for cleaning jobs, and each kind has its own particular strengths. 

Review these five main types of cleaning sponges to determine the right one for your next task.

  • 01 of 05

    Cellulose Sponges

    Overhead still life of cellulose sponges

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Cellulose sponges are some of the most common, low-cost sponges on the market. Their bright colors and hand-sized shapes make them a great choice for lots of different types of chores. Cellulose sponges are inexpensive, provide good absorbency, and last through tough chores.

  • 02 of 05

    Abrasive Sponges

    Overhead still life of abrasive sponges

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Abrasive sponges can be cellulose sponges with an extra abrasive material attached or can be just a thin sheet of abrasive material. These sponges are great for use on outdoor grills and some patio furniture. Abrasive sponges are intended to remove stuck-on food or debris and are a great tool for removing baked-on food on pots and pans. It's important, however, to avoid abrasive sponges when cleaning delicate glass or pots with a non-stick coating that can be damaged by abrasive material.

    A lot of these sponges are color-coded according to their level of toughness. Unfortunately, there is no standard between companies or even within a single brand for the color-coded system. Your best bet is to carefully read the packaging to determine if the abrasive sponge is right for your surfaces.

  • 03 of 05

    Compressed Cellulose Sponges

    Overhead view of compressed cellulose sponges

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Compressed cellulose sponges are sometimes called pop-up sponges. These sponges are dry and have all of the air sucked out of them prior to packaging. The sponge rehydrates when you place it in water, popping up into a normal cellulose sponge. Compressed cellulose sponges can be attractive to some buyers because they are not usually treated with soap or biocide substances, although it's best to check the manufacturer's product description to make sure. However, compressed cellulose sponges can often be more expensive than other sponges.

  • 04 of 05

    Natural Sponges

    Closeup still life of a natural sponge

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Natural sponges are actually harvested from the ocean. They are generally more expensive to purchase and are not as easy to find as other sponges, although home improvement and paint supply stores usually have them in stock. These super-absorbent sponges are great for washing windows and cleaning up large spills. Natural sponges are durable and can last a long time when properly cared for.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Dry Sponges

    Overhead view of dry sponges

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Dry sponges are made of a rubber mixture with soap added to keep the sponge moist in the packaging. These sponges are meant to be used dry, which makes them a great option for cleaning surfaces that cannot tolerate moisture and water.

    Dry sponges are frequently used to clean soot from surfaces after a fire. They can also be used to clean wallpapered walls and fabric window coverings.

    Store dry sponges in tightly sealed plastic bags to keep them from hardening.