Essential Tools

The Magical Sponge That Makes Dishwashing a Breeze

June 20, 2018

Do you love your kitchen sponge? Funny question, I know. I bet most people wouldn't give their kitchen sponge much thought. Most sponges are serviceable enough on their own to go unnoticed until a telltale point reveals itself—an off smell or a lackluster cleaning job, perhaps—signaling it's reached the end of its lifecycle.

I've never really been brand loyal when it comes to the sponge world. For the most part, I lean on the big guns found in most supermarkets across the U.S.; sometimes I'll dabble in a natural-looking sponge the color of kraft paper. But I always grab the ones with a scrubby side. I wash my dishes by hand nearly every day, so it's important that my sponge is ready to work.

Truth be told, I definitely don't replace my sponges as often as I should. I'll be the first to admit it: Laziness and forgetfulness trump my fear of germs every time. With frequent and heavy kitchen activity, I'll likely replace my sponge every four to six weeks—that's usually when the sponge gives me signs it's ready to retire, like a worn-down scrubby side or a potent odor. During the colder months, when I'm braising in big pots, and baking up oozy, cheesy lasagnas and gratins, the signs come sooner. There's nothing like getting that first net of melted mozzarella on your sponge after cleaning a lasagna pan; hot water only seems to make the spidery web of cheese worse. It's the inevitable beginning of the end for a sponge.

When I came upon a new sponge by Skura Style last year, it didn't take me long to realize what a superior cleaning sidekick it was. Unlike a traditional cellulose sponge, the Skura sponge is made of an antimicrobial polyurethane foam, a material that is reported to significantly reduce the spread of E. coli by up to 90 percent, according to a recent study. (A previous report found cellulose sponges to be 200 thousand times dirtier than a toilet seat—GAH.)

An Enchilada Pan Has Nothing on This Sponge

Warding off the spread of dangerous bacteria is compelling enough, sure, but I needed to know if it was up to snuff in getting a sink full of dirty, greasy dishes back to their gleaming glory.

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Top Comment:
“But yeah, a subscription sponge service will probably be a big hit with Millennials. Forget that first house down payment! Over five years say goodbye to $715. And $715 invested in a Nasdaq index fund returning 10% every year would be worth $1150 after five years. Cost of rag? Zero dollars.”
— 702551

Not only did it perform (eggy fry pans and cheesy lasagna casseroles, be damned!), even after repeated, pretty aggressive use over a few weeks, the integrity of the foam stayed intact with no trapped bits of food and zero smell. Pretty game-changing, if you ask me! The "scrubby" side also has a fade technology, where the "S" pattern fades with use, a helpful visual cue to nudge you along for a replacement since there's no smell or deterioration of the sponge itself (mine probably faded faster than normal—what can I say, I'm an ardent scrubber).

This sponge will tell you when it's time to give it the boot. Photo by Skura Style

The subscription sponge service will send you four sponges either monthly or every other month for $12/shipment (use code "SPONGE" for $5 off of your first shipment). Skura, Swedish for “scour” and “scrub," has found a fan in this dishwashing-lover.

Do you have a favorite sponge? Let us know what it is below!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • BerryBaby
  • Delanie Anne Miller
    Delanie Anne Miller
  • 702551
  • ktr
  • Smaug
Hana is a food writer/editor based in New York.


BerryBaby June 21, 2018
No need to scrub tough baked on gunk. A simple solution that works magically. Fill pan or whatever has stuck on gunk with hot water. Submerge one Dryer Sheet and let it soak overnight. Next morning the gunk comes right off! Used this method on very baked on barbecue sauce in a glass baking dish. It was coated with the sauce and it just fell right off in the morning it was fabulous to have it all just lift off!
Delanie A. June 20, 2018
Sponges are gross--even if you change them frequently in the American Dream of filling landfills.
I'll stick with my spaghetti scrub
702551 June 20, 2018
Like ktr and Smaug, I use a combination of knitted washcloths and rags (usually old face towels). There's no hesitation in swapping them out since they're just going into the next load of laundry.

But yeah, a subscription sponge service will probably be a big hit with Millennials. Forget that first house down payment!

Over five years say goodbye to $715. And $715 invested in a Nasdaq index fund returning 10% every year would be worth $1150 after five years.

Cost of rag? Zero dollars.
ktr June 20, 2018
That $12 will buy you a giant spool of cotton yarn that can be made into enough washcloths to last you years, even with frequent washings. I last made a pile of them before my now 6-1/2 year old son was born. And I was just thinking yesterday that I need to make new ones because they are finally starting to fall apart.
ktr June 20, 2018
I prefer to knit or crochet washclothes. I can toss them in the wash and reuse them.
Smaug June 20, 2018
My favorite sponge is none- rags are cheaper, more effective, and washable. Dish sponges are one of those triumphs of salesmanship that industry loves.
Joe June 20, 2018
Sounds great but is it biodegradable or recyclable? Otherwise your just contributing to polluting the planet.