Washing dishes with a sponge may not be doing as good of a job as you think — especially if you’re not changing your sponge often enough. According to a study conducted in 2017, you should actually be switching out sponges much more frequently than you likely are. In fact, the researchers behind the study suggest using a new one after only one week’s time.
The reasoning behind the frequent sponge swaps stems from the fact that sponges “represent the biggest reservoirs of active bacteria in the whole house.” They can also house RG2 bacteria, which are associated with food-borne disease in humans, even once they’re sanitized using the microwave method.
If all of that information has you ready to ditch your kitchen sponge for good, there are alternatives to classic sponges that will get your dishes clean without all of the germs:
1. Silicone Sponge
While this may resemble a typical sponge, it’s actually made of silicone, which is less likely to hold bacteria and will, therefore, last longer around your kitchen. In fact, the manufacturer of this Peachy Clean Silicone Scrubber says it will last up to three months in your home, which means you’ll be using fewer sponges and, as a result, cutting down on waste.
This product also has the added benefit of coming with a light peach scent and boasting a majority of 5-star reviews from those who have tested it out. Reviewers point to the silicone sponge’s durability and lack of mildew smell as great reasons to make a purchase and ditch your typical sponge for good. It’s available for just $9.95 on Amazon.
2. Silicone Sponge With Bristles
This silicone version has next level scrubbing power thanks to the silicone bristles. While one writer who tested the product for Apartment Therapy had a hard time getting the soap to stay on the sponge due to its slippery silicone nature and therefore didn’t necessarily love washing the dishes with this product, the writer did recommend using this sponge to clean your countertops and other flat surfaces in order to keep your space tidy. You can get a 3-pack of these kitchen scrubbers by Lubrima on Amazon for $6.70.
A quick-drying brush option could be a great alternative to a sponge given that the lack of moisture makes it more difficult to harbor bacteria. This one from OXO comes with a drip catcher to both keep your counter clean and help the brush to dry quickly. It also holds soap in the top section, making it an all-in-one, easy-to-use dish scrubbing tool. It receives marks from customers who have tried it due to its smart design and bristles that are the perfect firmness for all cleaning needs. It’s available for $9.99 on Amazon.
4. Tawashi Vegetable Scrubber
This Japanese tool is meant to be used to scrub and clean vegetables, but it’s proven to be quite versatile. Those who have tried using this biodegradable option around the home say there’s no turning back.
A writer who tested the product for Epicurious wrote, “I was skeptical of even including it in my review since it isn’t for dishes, until I tried it. On dishes? Dreamy. On the sink? Sexy. On the underside of a decade-old Le Creuset pasta pot whose burner scars I’d written off as permanent? Impressive. The sponges are gone. I am doing dishes, happily.”
Convinced you should take this for a test run? It’s available for just $5.49 on Amazon.
You may be used to seeing these as a cleansing option for your bathing needs, but these versatile loofah sponges can be used to clean your dishes, too! Due to the porous nature of the loofah, they dry up quickly and house fewer bacteria. According to the product description on Amazon, they last from 4–6 weeks, plus they can go directly into the compost bin when you’re done with them, as they’re biodegradable. People who tried the product were surprised to see how well it worked, getting off tough-to-clean dish residue without scratching their dishes. A 4-pack is available for as low as $12.34 on Amazon.
6. Swedish Dishcloth
This sponge-like dishcloth might become your favorite kitchen companion. These cloths are what would happen if you combined a sponge and a dishcloth, but they dry super quickly, making them less likely to house bacteria. They can also be cleaned in the dishwasher or washing machine, making it easy to keep them sanitized.
Those who have purchased and used the cloths can’t say enough good things about them:
“It’s flexible like a cloth when wet/damp and can clean any surface or tight spot,” reads one Amazon review. “Great for wiping shower/bathroom fixtures dry. Because it’s so easy to clean with soap and water in the sink or boil to sterilize, there’s no need for a dozen to have a clean sponge/cloth all the time, or to do dirty rag laundry regularly. Great product.”
A 10-pack is available for $19.99 on Amazon.
Do of these items make you want to switch your sponge out once and for all?
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