images72 / Shutterstock

5 Sponges You Should Never Wash Dishes Without

Dishwashing isn’t everyone's favorite task, but it’s a necessary (and frequent) chore in kitchens everywhere. Fortunately, the best dishwashing sponges can make the task faster, easier, and more effective.

When shopping for a sponge, consider what kinds of tasks you need it to tackle, as some sponges are best for only washing dishes, while more absorbent ones can also mop up spills. If you’re looking for a tool to handle both dishwashing and cleaning counters, you should look for a two-in-one cellulose sponge (that’s the soft, fluffy kind of sponge) with a scouring pad on one side. Use the soft side to gently clean dishes or wipe down countertops, and the scouring pad to scrape tougher messes from dirty cookware (though you should always be careful not to scratch nonstick surfaces). Natural sponges are an eco-friendly option for anyone who needs an absorbent sponge to clean up dishes and spills.

Many people also find it useful to also have a dish scrubber on hand. True to their name, dish scrubbers are designed to scrub sticky food off dishes and cookware. They tend to be firmer and typically dry quickly without absorbing as many odors. Non-absorbent silicone sponges won’t harbor bacteria like traditional sponges and can last longer than their porous counterparts, but they’re best suited for light dishwashing, not heavy duty scrubbing. Lastly, while not quite a sponge, a dish brush can make it easier to scrub the bottoms of tall and narrow items, such as bottles.

Here are the best sponges on Amazon to tackle dirty dishes effectively and quickly so that you can spend less time at the sink and more time with your family.


The Best Dishwashing Sponge With A Scouring Pad

It's easy to take a good sponge for granted, but the Scotch-Brite non-scratch sponge is enormously popular because it's legitimately great for most dishwashing and kitchen-cleaning tasks.

The Scotch-Brite brand is produced by the reputable 3M company, and the sponges are a bargain for the quality you get. They feature a soft, absorbent cellulose sponge on one side and a scouring pad on the other. The scouring pad manages to strike a rare balance of being super effective against tough messes without scratching delicate surfaces. These sponges are also dishwasher safe, so if you notice your sponge retaining odors, you can pop it in the dishwasher for deep cleaning.

Positive Amazon review: “This sponge absorbs just as well as any other, but the scrub pad is what makes this a must have for washing dishes and pots and pans. It is safe for Teflon coating but tough enough for steel and aluminium. The scrub pad also lasts longer than any other I've used. Scotch Brite pads also stay bonded to the sponge better than any other.”


The Best Dish Scrubber

The Scrub Daddy scrubbing sponge just isn't like other scrubbers. That's in part because it's made from FlexTexture foam, which feels firm when used in cold water but softens when exposed to warm water. The adorable little scrubbers don't absorb as much moisture as fluffier sponges and they dry quickly, which means they can resist odors for up to eight weeks. And their colorful smiley face design isn’t just cute — it’s also practical. You can slip your fingers through the eye holes for a better grip, and the mouth can clean both sides of a utensil at once. Another bonus of the cute design: It just might make dishwashing an appealing chore for older kiddos.

The Scrub Daddy sponges are safe to use on over a dozen different surfaces, including glass, cast iron, nonstick surfaces, and copper.

Positive Amazon review: “Scrub Daddy sponges are AMAZING!!! They easily (with almost no elbow grease) remove everything. (Even if you let your dishes sit until the following day). In addition, they do not scratch pots and pans as some abrasive sponges are wont to do. [...] These sponges also hold up really well.”


The Best Silicone Sponge

The Peachy Clean silicone scrubber is perfect for anyone who wants to try out a silicone sponge. Silicone sponges don't actually absorb water or sop up spills the way other sponges do, so they aren't right for all tasks. That said, their inability to retain moisture means they dry quickly and don't get stinky, so you can use them until they start to fall apart.

One Amazon reviewer pointed out that these silicone scrubbers aren't great at distributing soap evenly due to their lack of absorbency. That's not going to be a deal breaker for everyone, but these sponges might be best for folks who are more accustomed to first filling the sink with soapy water and scrubbing dishes, rather than those who wash one dish at a time under the faucet.

Peachy Clean silicone scrubbers are made in the USA and scented with a peach fragrance. They're super gentle and shouldn't damage porcelain or nonstick surfaces.

Positive Amazon review: “The product is exactly what it advertises: no odor, no funky dye leaking out, and it cleans better than any scrubber or sponge I have ever used [...] It does not scratch any surface. I managed to easily remove coffee and tea stains from my grandmother's cups in no time. Even the heavy duty scrubber sponges had not managed this task. And the old porcelain was undamaged.”


The Best Natural Sponge

These Norpro natural sponges are made from all-natural cellulose and are a fantastic option for anyone who likes to use eco-friendly products. The sponges arrive compressed to save space. When you're ready to use one, just dunk the sponge in water and watch it expand to its full size. The organic sponges are very absorbent, gentle on delicate dishes, dishwasher safe, and compostable.

The package includes 12 sponges (which should last you a while!), all of which are manufactured in the U.S.

Positive Amazon review: “I love these sponges. Unused, they're easy to store and once wet they hold a lot of liquid. Perfect for wiping down or doing dishes and easy to sterilize in the dishwasher. A 12 pack means they will last a long time, and they're natural to boot!”


The Best Dish Brush

While not, strictly speaking, a sponge, the OXO Good Grips dish brush serves an identical function. It features nylon bristles that are safe for nonstick surfaces and it also has a built-in scraper to remove baked-on messes. The long handle is perfect for reaching into cups or jars and has a no-slip surface to keep it securely in your hand even when it's wet. The brush has a little hole so that you can hang it up to dry, and it's safe to run through the dishwasher, too.

Positive Amazon review: “It's long enough to wash glasses and water bottles, but tough enough to scrub off grease and grime from baking dishes. The straight plastic cleat at the end of the brush is great for scraping off burnt on/stubborn bits from plates and dishes. [...] The bristles are just right -- not too stiff, not too soft. I've had other cleaning brushes that are too hard and flick soap and water all over the place.”

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle's editorial and sales departments.