Drop that nasty kitchen sponge! 5 alternatives to use instead – Kempii

Drop that nasty kitchen sponge! 5 alternatives to use instead

Ever thought of a kitchen sponge alternative? If you haven’t yet, you might do after reading this. You may not be aware, but your green and yellow kitchen sponge is the grimiest thing in your house; it’s been scientifically proven to have more germs than your toilet.

If that isn’t scary enough, there’s more bad news. They’re also harmful to the environment; they’re made from synthetic fibres that pollute waterways and aren’t biodegradable, so they’re sitting in landfills around the world.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, there are some awesome sponge alternatives out there to help you clean your kitchen the eco-friendly way; so what can you use instead of a sponge?

Here are 5 alternatives to your kitchen sponge:

#1: Unsponge

Handmade, durable and an awesome sponge alternative; once you unsponge, you won’t go back. The Unsponge is washable, reusable and heavy duty; it contains a scrubbing side made of rough hessian (burlap) to get rid of all those stubborn stains.

Kitchen Sponge Alternatives
Above: Instead of sending micro-plastics down the drain, try a kitchen sponge alternative like this Unsponge by Rowen Stillwater 

 #2: Swedish dishcloths

The Swedes are smart people; not only did they come up with Ikea but they also invented the Swedish dishcloth. Originally invented by a Swedish engineer in 1949, the Swedish dishcloth works like a dream in the kitchen. It’s made from 70% wood cellulose and 30% cotton making it long lasting and biodegradable. It absorbs 15 times it’s weight so is a great alternative to kitchen sponges, it dries quickly which means less bacteria and can be washed around 200 times so it’s extremely durable. If you haven’t discovered the Swedish dishcloth yet then you’ve been missing out.


Above: Swedish dishcloths are made of 70% wood cellulose and 30% cotton, and are completely compostable.


#3: Natural dish brushes

Natural cleaning brushes are a great alternative to kitchen sponges; they will get rid of all those stubborn stains. The handles are generally made from sustainably sourced wood, while bristles are made from natural fibres like coconut. There’s a huge variety available; you can get brushes for pots, dishes, bottles, straws and so much more, so why not make the swap?

Natural Dish Brushes

Above: Natural dish brushes will decompose without contributing to waste at the end of their life


#4: Bamboo cloths

Bamboo reusable towels are a great sponge alternative. They’re strong, absorbent and substantially more eco-friendly. Each bamboo sheet can be washed and reused about 100 times making them perfect for spills, dust and so much more.

Bamboo Cloths

Above: Bamboo cloths are the perfect, washable, reusable, zero waste option to replace typical kitchen roll


#5: Linen dishrags

Giving your towels, sheets and clothing a second life is great for the planet and for your pocket. Cut them up to replace those nasty kitchen sponges. They’re machine washable and long lasting; clean your kitchen on a budget.

Linen dish rag

Above: Pure linen naturally deters bacteria as it dries very quickly


Use these 5 alternatives to replace your kitchen sponge; they’ll keep your kitchen sparkling clean, preventing germs and bacteria from spreading, as well as benefit the planet by saving all those kitchen sponges going to landfill and polluting our waterways. 

And once you've banished the plastic kitchen sponges, check out our alternatives to cling film, to really get your waste down!



What can you use instead of a sponge?

Here are 5 alternatives to your kitchen sponge: #1: Unsponge. #2: Swedish dishcloths. #3: Natural dish brushes. #4: Bamboo cloths. #5: Linen dishrags.

How often should you throw out a sponge?

Experts recommend throwing out your dishwashing sponge every 2 weeks - all the more reason to switch to reusable!

Are kitchen sponges bad for the environment?

Green-and-yellow plastic kitchen sponges are harmful to the environment; they’re made from synthetic fibres that pollute waterways and aren’t biodegradable, so they’re sitting in landfills around the world.

How long do sponges take to decompose?

As green-and-yellow kitchen sponges are made of plastic, they can take hundreds of years to decompose. What's worse, even before they're thrown out, they shed microfibres into our waterways.

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  • Useful info.
    We have often wondered about alternatives. You didn’t mention natural sea sponge; we tried it once but this is surely completely unsustainable & environmentally destructive if expanded into the industrial level of extraction rates needed. The problem is also that the part abrasive plastic sponges are very effective at removing tough deposits that most cloths or scrubbing brushes (plastic or natural) struggle to do. We clearly have been keeping our sponges too long, like months, to get the most out of them! That said we do rinse items after washing. Sponges do get very manky, fit only for floor spills. You used to see the quite effective aluminium “swarf” pads quite often, which would seem to be recyclable but I don’t know how they are made – i.e. do they contain any plastics to hold them together? It will be good to see the back of the green abrasive faced sponges as they are excellent for ruining plastic bath, sink & worktop surfaces, as they scratch the finish so that it always gets & holds dirt. The green & other colours (graded by abrasiveness) are used to clean & prepare surfaces for paint, varnish & other industrial purposes. Hopefully this usage will also be reduced or stopped eventually.
    Re. bedsheets etc., how many people actually have pure Linen? As lovely & Eco as Linen is, Polycotton rules that market. Of course reusing the polycotton is a good thing anyway. A lot of our old clothes & sheets eventually get used in my workshop. Useful for paint & glue spills, oily machinery & hands etc. So many of our clothes contain or are totally artificial plastic fibres. It’s often hard to find an item you like that is totally natural. Even “simple” cotton jeans now have stretch plastics in them which just adds to the problem of cotton production (vast water use) & recyclability.
    We will be trying out your recommendations.

    Rob on

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