You walk into your kitchen after a week-long vacation and notice something you hadn’t before. A funk smell you can’t seem to find. 

The garbage disposal is clear and you took out the trash before you left, but there’s definitely a funky smell lingering in the kitchen.

It isn’t until you go to wash out your coffee thermos that you realize what it is: your sad, crumpled up gray sponge, sitting in a puddle of last week’s dishwater. Gross.

Finding the best sponge for your cleaning task is just as important as keeping that sponge clean. Who wants their cups to smell worse after washing?

Here are the best sponges for cleaning and how to keep them from becoming a science experiment gone wrong. 

The Best Types of Sponge for Cleaning

Not all sponges are made alike. Some are great for cars but wouldn’t put a dent in that crusty cake tin. You’ll usually spot a sponge next to the sink, but some work better in different applications.

Best Sponge for the Kitchen

When looking for the best sponge to scrape food gunk down the kitchen sink, look for:

  • Absorbency: Balance your need for sudsy dishwater with the sponge’s drying time. If it takes a long time to dry out, bacteria has more time to grow. A natural sea sponge is the most absorbent, holding about 15 tablespoons of liquid. A Scrub Daddy Original is the least, holding only three. 
  • Durability: If the sponge rips to shreds after cleaning one spaghetti dinner, it might be too soft for the kitchen. Cellulose or polyester sponges are durable options.
  • Versatility: A cellulose or polyester kitchen sponge with an abrasive scrubbing pad on one side provides the best of both worlds for tough, caked-on food and more delicate, scratch-prone dishes. Most kitchen sponge brands color code the scouring pads to indicate levels of grittiness.  

Best Sponge for Delicate Fixtures and Materials

  • Natural Sponge: This soft, eco-friendly option is the best sponge for cleaning cars, windows, your body, or other surfaces you’d like to keep scratch-free. They’re highly absorbent and make loads of bubbles in soapy water to remove oil and dirt with ease.
  • Dry Sponge: A lesser-known option is a dry sponge. As you may have guessed, these are used without water to clean wallpaper, fireplaces, and fabric covered fixtures like lampshades. Seal them in plastic between uses to keep them from getting too dry, as they will become hard and unusable when left out.

Best Sponge Overall

Most sponge brands hold up pretty well in the kitchen if you treat them right. Always thoroughly ring out your sponge after every use. As in,  squeeze it until your hand kind of hurts and nothing really drips out. 

Remember, if it smells, there’s bacteria.

You may choose to soak your sponge in a mixture of bleach and water at a ratio of 1:9 for 30 seconds to kill all the bacteria. Or, submerge it in a bowl of water and microwave for 2-4 minutes. 

The best sponge overall is a Scrub Daddy. It doesn’t get clogged up with food and dries quickly to limit bacteria growth. Plus it’s really cute.

Clean House

Sometimes, making your house really shine takes more than finding the best sponge for the job. 

If you live in the Houston area and don’t feel like going out to find a Scrub Daddy of your own, hire The Home Keepers to make your home sparkle just like it used to.