That sponge sitting on your counter (or worse, in the bottom of your sink) is probably harboring a lot of bacteria. A study from a few years back on used kitchen sponges “found 362 different species of bacteria, and locally, the density of bacteria reached up to 45 billion per square centimeter.” Gross. So, what can you do? You can use a new sponge every week, which is fine, but it’s kind of wasteful to go through 52 sponges a year. One approach is to use washcloths, but that can be somewhat inconvenient, as you’ll have to do a lot of laundry. That’s why an increasingly popular solution is to use a silicone sponge. They’re similar in shape and size to a regular sponge, but they’re reusable for much longer.
The characteristic that makes sponges so good at lathering soap is also what makes them get so gross — with tons of small pores and holes, they can take on a lot of moisture and soap for easy cleaning. But those holes are also great hiding places for bacteria. Silicone sponges, on the other hand, are non-porous. That means there’s less space for bacteria to hide. Plus, silicone sponges are easy to clean, and silicone is a very durable and heat-resistant material.
Of course, they’re not a perfect solution. Since they’re non-porous, they can take more work to get a lather going. They can also get slippery, and since silicone sponges are less flexible, they may be hard to use for glasses and bottles. But overall, they can be a better approach once you get used to using them. A silicone sponge can also be great in the shower as an alternative to a loofah, which has some of the same sanitary problems that sponges do.
We’ve rounded up some of the best silicone sponges you can buy online.
1. Peachy Clean Silicone Scrubber
These silicone scrubbers from Peachy Clean feature a similar porous structure, like regular sponges, allowing them to absorb more soap for efficient cleaning. But, since they’re made from silicone, they’ll stay cleaner for longer. Each pack includes three scrubbers, which have a pleasant peach scent — they’re made in the Peach State, too.
2. Sur La Table Silicone Sponge
This silicone sponge from Sur La Table has two different textures on either side, mimicking traditional dual-sided sponges. One end has longer bristles, and the other has hard beads. The curved shape is designed to make it easier to hold as well. Since it’s dishwasher safe, the sponge is easy to keep clean.
3. Tooletries Body Scrubber & Hook Set
BEST SHOWER SCRUBBER
This scrubber from Tooletries comes is a good option for the shower. The large hexagonal shape makes it easy to reach a greater surface area, and the back of the scrubber has a silicone grip to make it easier to hold. It also comes with a hook that can be attached to your shower wall, and the top of the scrubber has a cut-out for easy hanging.
4. STK Heavy Duty Silicone Scrubbers
These scrubbers from STK have a similarly porous structure to traditional sponges, making them more absorbent, while the silicone material is durable and resists bacteria build-up. Plus, it’s a good value, because 10 sponges are included.
5. Sur La Table Silicone Cleaning Mitt
EASY TO HOLD
Sur La Table’s mitt isn’t great for catching baseballs, but it is good for catching food particles. One side has a sleeve for your hand, and the other has small silicone bristles for scrubbing plates and pans. It’s somewhat large, so it may not be ideal for cutlery or cups, but it’ll be handy for bigger jobs.
6. Kuhn Rikon Stay Clean Silicone Scrubber
This scrubber from Kuhn Rikon has bristles on both sides, and the curved shape is designed to make it easier to grip from the middle. The scrubber has an impressive 5,000 bristles for effectively removing food particles. It’s available in a range of colors, such as red, blue, green and orange.
7. Kitchiny Silicone Bottle Brush
BEST FOR BOTTLES AND GLASSES
This silicone brush from Kitchiny is over a foot long, making it great for cleaning big water bottles. The soft bristles flex so they can fit into tight spaces, such as the small mouths of S’Well bottles. Plus, you can use it for glassware that’s hard to clean with a regular sponge.