Some people love to wash dishes. Others simply tolerate the task. Either way, an effective sponge, like our favorite Scotch-Brite Dobie All Purpose Pad(available at Amazon), is a sink-side staple.
The best sponges make short work of a dirty kitchen, from the spills on your countertop to the sauce you accidentally burned all over your nice pan. They aren’t exciting, but everyone legitimately needs one.
That’s why I found myself scrubbing bakeware, silverware, and bowls with the top sponges on the market, all in the name of finding you the absolute most effective option. And when the soap suds subsided, a clear winner surfaced: One sponge to clean them all.
(Once you've finished scrubbing those dishes, you need somewhere to put them so that they dry quickly. Check out our article on the Best Dish Racks for more info.)
Here are the best kitchen sponges, in order:
Scotch-Brite Dobie All Purpose Pads
Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge
Scrub Daddy Color Sponge
O-Cedar Multi-Use Scrunge Scrub Sponge
Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge
Life Miracle Nano Sponge Cleaning Sponge
Peachy Clean Antimicrobial Silicone Scrubber
Kuhn Rikon Stay Clean Silicone Scrubber
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If you want a basic sponge that can handle everything from burnt cooking mishaps to standard dirty dishes, Dobie has your back. I looked forward to using this little yellow rectangle during every stage of testing because I knew it would get the job done as painlessly as possible. It’s too soft to scratch your cookware but textured enough to remove tough stains. It’s also thin enough to really get into the narrow corners of a pan.
The one area where the Dobie fell short was absorbency. It won’t sop up a spill with great efficiency, but as a result it also doesn’t stay perpetually damp, which is a plus as far I’m concerned—bacteria love a good damp sponge. Use the Dobie for most of your dish scrubbing needs, and grab a more absorbent sponge or towel for any tasks that require absorbency.
Scotch-Brite is a classic for a reason—it works. There’s nothing exciting about it (I mean, it’s a sponge), but it gets high marks all around. It’s not quite as good as the Dobie at scrubbing tougher stains, but it’s pretty close—and unlike the Dobie, it can soak up a little more liquid. And true to its name, whatever the cleaning job, it leaves nary a scratch.
Hi, my name is Kori Perten, and I hate washing dishes. As the former Home and Outdoors editor and cooking expert at Reviewed, I’ve done a lot of cooking and baking—which also means I’ve washed a lot of pans, utensils, and bowls. It’s always my least favorite part of preparing food. This means that I have a vested interest in finding the best kitchen sponge, because frankly any tool that makes clean-up easier gives me more time and energy to enjoy the most important activity a person can do in their kitchen: eat.
A good kitchen sponge can clean the crud you burned onto a baking pan or crusty plates you left in the sink for a little too long. It can absorb a spill or two, and it won’t scratch cookware or disintegrate too soon. It doesn’t need to be beautiful or fancy, it just needs to work.
I tested nine of the best sponges on the market and scored them based on cleaning power, absorbency, and drying speed. I cleaned bowls, spoons, and stainless-steel muffin tins coated in foods like burnt egg and burnt tomato sauce, as well as egg and sauce that had been left to dry for 24 hours. All this scrubbing gave me an idea of how well each sponge handled tougher and easier stains, small corners, and irregular shapes.
To measure absorbency, I weighed each sponge before and after they were fully saturated with water. I squeezed them out, then measured them again to see how much water they hung onto, additionally noting throughout testing whether any sponges seemed perpetually sodden.
I swiped sponges across a nonstick cookie sheet to see whether they scratched it, additionally noting any scratches that appeared during other tests. Finally, I knocked a few points off sponges that seemed worse for the wear after testing and added points for sponges that were comfortable to hold.
Other Kitchen Sponges We Tested
Scrub Daddy Color Sponge
It may seem gimmicky, but if you can get past the first day of use with this sponge, it’s worth having in your arsenal. The first few times you use the Scrub Daddy, it will feel stiff and scratchy, but thankfully it softens with use to become a tool that will clean the toughest crud off your dishes. That said, the round shape and larger size mean the Scrub Daddy won’t be able to reach any burnt-on bits in the smaller corners of your baking pan, so you may want to keep a second, smaller sponge around for daintier jobs. Theoretically, the Scrub Daddy’s grinning mouth is ideal for cleaning spoons, but during testing, I found its main appeal was visual—it’s awfully cute when cleaning a spoon looks like you’re feeding a smiley sponge man.
I scrubbed and squeezed this happy camper for multiple days of heavy use without wear and tear, though Amazon reviewers have reported an eventual disintegration over time. It’s not a perfect tool, but it is surprisingly effective—plus, according to the packaging, you can run it through your dishwasher for cleaning.
This is a basic, effective sponge. Comfortable to hold, decent at scrubbing, fairly absorbent, and all-around good at doing what sponges do. The scrubby side is gentle enough that it won’t scratch your dishes, but rough enough to clean the gnarliest singed egg pan. It’s nothing special, but therein lies the key to its success—a sponge doesn’t need to be flashy, it just needs to get your plates and countertop clean.
Scotch-Brite’s heavy-duty offering was one of the most successful sponges I tested when it came to removing stains. However, it scratched the crap out of almost everything I used it to clean. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using this Scotch-Brite’s scrubby side on a nonstick or stainless-steel pan, whether you’re wiping gently or with vigor. Either way, you’re going to end up with a series of fine scratches. There’s a time and a place for a rough sponge, but the place for this one probably isn’t your kitchen sink.
This is less of a sponge and more of a giant pillow with a soft side and a rougher side. It has been sitting sodden on my counter for days, and I despair that it will ever dry. The soft side is matted, its damp fur tangled around bits of egg and unidentifiable crumbs. The rough side is gently stained. Touching it is so unpleasant that I saved it for last during every part of testing.
Does it clean well? Honestly, yes— if you can get past its soggy texture. NanoSponge’s claim to fame is that you don’t need to use soap with it. I found this was true for more basic stains, but I wanted soap when something was really burnt onto a pan, and frankly, I don’t understand why I’d want to go without the sanitary properties of soap. It’s a little too big to effectively clean corners, but otherwise worked a charm. Regardless, I hated touching it so much that I’d never voluntarily use it.
Fair warning: This sponge inexplicably smells like artificial peach, though thankfully the cloying scent gets more subtle over time. It’s certainly unique, with a springy texture that can handle easier messes but struggles with tougher stains. It’s not absorbent, but it dries super quickly. There’s nothing worth hating about the Peachy Clean (apart from the initial peach scent), but it’s also not effective enough to bother purchasing.
I wanted to like this unique silicone sponge, but my testing notes for the Kuhn Rikon are peppered with words like “weird,” “gross,” and “SO BAD.” It actually did a decent job removing caked-on sauce from a bowl, but just try to use it to clean an egg pan and you’re out of luck. You’d see more success using your bare hands. It’s slippery as soon as you stick it in the water, it makes an unappealing squelching noise as you rub it fruitlessly on dirty cookware, and it absorbs no liquid whatsoever. No thank you.
Kori began her journalism career as a teenage fashion blogger and has enjoyed covering a wide variety of topics ever since. In her spare time, she’s an amateur poet, avid reader, and gluten-free cake baker extraordinaire.
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