The scary truth behind your dish sponges... they are GROSS! The facts are in and the dirtiest thing in your kitchen is your dish cleaning sponge. It is said to host more bacteria than your toilet bowl. Yuck.
While sponges are supposed to "clean" according to a study in Scientific Reports a dish sponge holds 82 billion strains of bacteria in 14 dish sponges. Some of the bacteria can cause diseases like E. coli and salmonella. So much for clean dishes. While there is a list of ways you might be able to keep them clean-er, the study also determined removing all the bacteria was not as easy as washing your sponge or putting it in a microwave.
If this information doesn't make you think twice about using your sponge, then let me also remind you that a sponge is made of plastic that also harm our environment. While sailing through Mexico I found countless sponges wash up to shore after the storms came through. See actual photo below of a sponge that washed up to shore.
So, now that you're ready to ditch the sponges forever... let's explore some other eco-friendly alternatives!
Eco-Friendly Dish Cleaning Alternatives
Wood Dish Brushes: These aren't as likely to host bacteria due to the fact that they don't absorb water and dry much faster than your traditional sponge. Much like our dish brushes, you can opt for ones that have wood or plant based fibers so you can easily throw these into the compost bin once they finally wear out. They can actually last up to a year which will in turn save you money AND time in running to the store for a sponge.
**Pro tip, leave your dish brushes out in the sun for a day to kill off any leftover food bacteria.
- Swedish Dish Cloths: This is one of my favorite new additions to our low-waste kitchen. I have been on the hunt for replacing paper towels and these cloths just might be the new solution. They are generally made from 70% wood cellulose and 30% cotton which makes it last and it is also biodegradable. So, if it ends up in the ocean it will actually break down! It absorbs water, spills, and stains like I have never seen but also dries incredibly fast so therefore, it doesn't leave the risk of hosting bacteria. They can be washed in your washing machine when they need a good clean. **Hint... this could be our next product launch!
Un-sponge: This is generally a sponge made of fibers that can be composted. You can make your own at home or purchase from local zero waste stores! While this option hasn't been my favorite due to the lack of scrubbing power, it still is a much better option that the ones you buy at the stores!
- Eco-Friendly Cellulose Sponges: These typically look like a traditional sponge only they are made up of cellulose which is compostable! They tend to last a bit longer than the plastic ones and don't often hold nasty smells. They are made from sisal agave fibers much like our Wood Dish Brushes and cellulose which comes from wood pulp.
Many of the factors listed above are why we strongly recommend ditching your sponges FOREVER. Both the planet and your health will thank you for it!
Head on over to our shop to check out our Wood Dish brush alternatives!