16 Best Eco-Friendly Sponges
There are plenty of small and easy ways you can live a more eco-friendly life. For example, if you’re trying to work toward a more sustainable kitchen, making the switch to one of these best eco-friendly sponges is a great place to start.
There are so many options to choose from, it might feel hard to know which one to get. This list of the best eco-friendly alternatives to sponges goes over the details of a variety of sustainable options so you can decide which ones will best suit your needs.
Are Sponges Eco-Friendly?
At one time, sponges were made from natural materials. However, today those ubiquitous green and yellow kitchen sponges are made from synthetic materials that won’t biodegrade and can contribute to microplastic pollution.
Plus, synthetic materials aren’t the only bad thing plastic sponges have against them. One study found that kitchen sponges harbor massive amounts of bacteria. In fact, kitchen sponges are one of the biggest holders of active bacteria in the entire house. Yes, even higher than your toilet!
And what do you do with these bacteria breeding grounds? You use them to wipe down your countertops, appliances, dishes, and more. This means you’re spreading bacteria all over your kitchen!
Experts say you should throw away your kitchen sponge every two weeks, but creating that amount of waste is certainly not the way to live a sustainable life. However, when you choose one of these eco-friendly sponges, you’re getting a sponge made from sustainable materials. Plus, once the sponge reaches the end of its useful life, you can simply compost it.
1. Wooden Dish Brush
This wooden dish brush is an outstanding alternative to sponges and something that we use in our kitchen every day. It’s perfect for cleaning pots, pans, dishes, sinks, and more.
The handle is made of sustainable beechwood, and the brush bristles are made of thick, wear-resistant sisal. Once the sisal head has worn out, you can simply save the handle and pop on a replacement head.
Plus, to help reduce your waste even more, the wooden head and sisal bristles are 100% compostable. Simply remove and recycle the metal staples and then send the head to an industrial composter or bury it in the backyard.
2. Loofie Scrubbers
These Loofie scrubbers are another one of our favorite eco-friendly sponges that we use in our kitchen. Just like those green and yellow kitchen sponges, these Loofie scrubbers have a soft side that’s good for wiping away messes and a rough side that can scrub away tough messes.
However, unlike traditional sponges, Loofie scrubbers are 100% plastic free! If you need to clean your Loofie scrubber, you can microwave it for 10 seconds or stick it on the top rack of your dishwasher.
When it’s worn out, it’s fully biodegradable, so you can compost it or bury it. It will decompose in about a month.
Best of all, these Loofie scrubbers come from one of the best zero waste online shops, so you know you’re getting an order that’s completely free of plastic!
Related: How to Shop at a Zero Waste Store
3. Wooden Pot Scrubber
If you’re looking for a scrubber that can really power through tough messes on your pots and pans, you’ll love this wooden pot scrubber. It has a comfortable natural beechwood handle that’s easy to hold. It also has stiff but flexible union fibers that can handle heavy-duty cleaning.
Since this scrubber is so durable, you can use it for just about any scrubbing or cleaning jobs around your house, such as scrubbing bathroom tiles or cleaning out dirty sinks. Plus, since the scrubber is completely plastic free, you can bury or compost the wood and plant fiber parts once it’s worn out.
4. Copper Scouring Pad
I absolutely love these copper scouring pads for taking care of stuck-on food when I’m cleaning dishes. They’re made with fine copper threads that can gently remove even the most stubborn messes. Best of all, since copper is a soft metal, it cleans without scratching.
You can use the scouring pad to clean pots, pans, and stove tops. It can polish sinks and even remove rust. Plus, if it needs cleaned, it’s machine washable.
Since it contains 75% copper, many scrap metal recyclers will accept the pads when they reach the end of their useful life.
5. Curved Beechwood Dish Brush
This curved beechwood dish brush will help you tackle dirty dishes with ease. It has a sustainably harvested beechwood handle with an oil finish and Tampico fiber bristles that are durable and long-lasting.
The long, curved handle is ergonomically designed to make cleaning easier. It also has a hang loop that makes it simple to store and dry the dish brush. Plus, it contains absolutely no plastic!
If you decide to purchase this curved beechwood dish brush from EarthHero, make sure you use the code EARTHFRIENDLY to get 10% off your order!
6. Natural Loofah
Natural loofah is an excellent budget-friendly alternative to a sponge. It’s also amazingly versatile. You can slice the loofah to create any size you need.
Once you’ve sliced your loofah, you can add dish soap to it to wash your dishes, apply your natural cleaning products to clean your home, or even apply your body wash and use it to gently exfoliate dead skin cells.
Plus, since loofah is actually a natural gourd from the cucumber family, you can bury or compost it when it reaches the end of its usefulness. It will decompose in around 30 days.
Pro Tip: If you use a charcoal zero waste toothpaste and notice some dried splatter in your bathroom sink, a slice of this natural loofah is the perfect way to quickly and easily wipe away the mess.
7. Loofah Scrubber Sponge
If you like the idea of loofah but find it hard to use the slices, this loofah scrubber sponge is a fantastic alternative. This double-sided eco-friendly sponge has two pieces of loofah sewn together for extra durability.
It’s great for washing dishes, scrubbing your shower, and general cleaning around your entire house. Plus, it comes with a cotton loop that makes it easy to hang it up and let it dry between uses.
These loofah scrubbers are 100% plastic free, so you can toss them in your compost bin when they reach the end of their usefulness.
8. Loofah Scrubbers
What if you love the idea of loofah scrubbers, but you want something that looks cute so you can leave it out? Then you absolutely must check out the kitchen loofah scrubbers at Tiny Yellow Bungalow.
These scrubbers are made from 100% natural, non-toxic, and compostable loofah. They’re tough enough to clean stubborn spots on your dishes, yet gentle enough that you can also use them to clean your fruits and vegetables, glass, wood, stainless steel, and porcelain.
My personal favorite is the sunflower because it’s just so cheerful. But some other popular designs you might love include:
- Apple Loofah Scrubber
- Penguin Loofah Scrubber
- Owl Loofah Scrubber
- Pear Loofah Scrubber
- Hibiscus Flower Loofah Scrubber
- Mushroom Loofah Scrubber
- Eggplant Loofah Scrubber
- Cow Loofah Scrubber
9. Swedish Dishcloth
Swedish dishcloths are a fantastic eco-friendly alternative to sponges and paper towels. They’re incredibly absorbent, can hold up to 20 times their weight, and you can reuse them more than 200 times.
Plus, not only do they come in super adorable designs, but they’re also 100% all-natural, biodegradable, and compostable. If you need to clean or disinfect your Swedish dish cloth, you can microwave it, boil it, throw it in the washing machine, or place it in the top rack of the dishwasher.
10. Dream Cloths
Dream Cloths are part sponge and part cloth, which makes them an incredibly versatile option for all of your cleaning needs. You can use them to clean dishes, wipe up spills, clean appliances, wipe countertops, and more!
They’re extremely absorbent, they dry quickly, and they last for a really, REALLY long time. If they need cleaned, you can simply toss them in the washing machine or dishwasher. Plus, since they’re made from 100% plant-based materials, you can put them in the compost when they wear out.
Related: The Best Eco-Friendly Paper Towels
11. Cellulose Cleaning Cloth
You can use these cellulose cleaning cloths for more than just cleaning dishes. They’re gentle and super spongy, so you can also use them to wipe down countertops and clean your appliances.
They dry up to 10 times faster than cotton, so they won’t get stinky. If they get dirty, you can toss them in the washing machine or place them in the top rack of your dishwasher.
Plus, since they’re made of wood and cotton cellulose, they’re fully compostable when they reach the end of their useful life.
12. Pot and Pan Scrapper
It happens to the best of us. You’re busy cooking dinner, you get distracted, and the next thing you know you have a burned-on mess you have to clean up. When that happens, you can save yourself some time and hassle by pulling out this handy bamboo pot and pan scrapper.
Handcrafted from USDA-certified organic bamboo, this scraper has a different angle at each corner so you can get into a variety of hard-to-reach spots. The compact size fits perfectly in your hand to help scrap away stubborn foods without scratching the surface.
Plus, not only is bamboo naturally stain-resistant and anti-microbial, but it lasts for an incredibly long time. Of course, when it does reach the end of its useful life, it’s completely compostable.
13. Water Bottle Cleaning Brush
Making the switch to a reusable water bottle is an outstanding way to reduce your plastic use. And using glass baby bottles is extremely important for the health of your baby. But these types of bottles aren’t always the easiest to clean because of their shape.
That’s why you should get this plastic-free water bottle cleaning brush. It’s made from sustainably harvested, and untreated beechwood with bristles made of sanitized pig hair.
The head of this cleaning brush is narrow, so it easily fits inside water bottles, baby bottles, mugs, glasses, and more. When it reaches the end of its useful life, you can recycle the steel wire and compost the wood and bristles.
14. Bamboo Sisal Bottle Brush
Do you like the idea of the water bottle cleaning brush, but you need something that’s vegan? This bamboo sisal bottle brush is the perfect option.
It has just the right shape for cleaning glasses, mugs, mason jars, and bottles. The brush has a handle made from sustainable bamboo and the bristles are plant-based. Plus, since all of the materials are completely natural, it’s fully compostable at the end of its useful life.
15. Biodegradable Sponge
With a spongy side made from all-natural wood pulp and a scrubby side made from coconut shell fiber, these biodegradable sponges will help you do everything from scrub pots and pans to wipe down countertops. Even though the scrubbing side is durable enough to get your dishes and kitchen clean, it won’t scratch your surfaces.
Plus, not only are the materials used sustainably sourced and renewable, but they’re also 100% biodegradable and can be composted when the sponge has reached the end of its usefulness. They also ship in a paper box to help you eliminate as much plastic waste as possible.
16. Coconut Scrubbers
If you’re looking for eco-friendly sponges that can handle those tough jobs, check out these coconut scrubbers. These scrubbers are made from waste coconut coir and natural rubber, which means they’re 100% plastic-free and biodegradable.
Since they’re flexible, they can easily get into corners that rigid brushes can’t handle. They’re also perfect for removing stuck-on food and grease, yet they’re still gentle enough that they won’t scratch your surfaces.
The Best Eco-Friendly Alternative to Sponges
You don’t have to deal with germ-spreading plastic sponges in your kitchen. Instead, make the switch to one of these best eco-friendly kitchen sponges. Then you can enjoy the ease of natural cleaning without any waste!
More Outstanding Eco-Friendly Living Tips
Did you enjoy learning more about the best eco-friendly sponges? Are you interested in discovering even more helpful tips that can help you live an eco-friendly life? Then please be sure to check out some of these other popular posts: