Helping the Planet: 17 Eco-Friendly Kitchen Sponges You Didn't Know Existed

If you are sick of buying sponges, you should definitely try out eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen sponges.

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Helping the Planet: 17 Eco-Friendly Kitchen Sponges You Didn't Know Existed

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Green Hive is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. To understand our thorough approach to rating brands and products, explore our comprehensive methodology.

There are eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen sponges that you didn't know about! Kitchen sponges are one of the most disposable items in your home, but they can also be eco-friendly or at least last much longer without having the same environmental impact as plastic sponges.

Before diving into the best eco-friendly alternatives, let's answer some questions.

Are dish sponges bad for the environment?

Yes, dish sponges are bad for the environment because they have a short lifespan. Kitchen sponges in green and yellow are detrimental to the environment; they're constructed of synthetic fibres that pollute waterways and aren't biodegradable, so they're ending up in landfills all over the world.

How long do plastic sponges take to decompose?

Green-and-yellow kitchen sponges are composed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which makes them resistant to biodegradation. They may take hundreds of years to decompose, and even before they're discarded, they shed microfibres into our waterways.

Traditional sponges are made of two separate layers of man-made polymers that are glued together. The softer layer, which replicates the feel of a natural sponge, is generally composed of polyurethane or another foamed polymer; while the scratchy, thin, dark green scouring pad layer is comprised of harder polyethene mesh.

The first type of these bi-functional dish sponges was patented by 3M as a car cleaning sponge, or bug sponge: the hard layer of the sponge was created to remove stubbornly-difficult-to-remove insects that collect on your car's exterior.

Natural sponges, which have been used for thousands of years as cleaning, padding and decorating tools, are the soft fibrous skeletons of sea creatures of the phylum Porifera which means ‘pore bearer’. However, by the 1950s these had been overfished so heavily that the industry almost collapsed, and most sponge-like materials are now synthetic, made from either cellulose or plastic.

Are there biodegradable sponges?

Nowadays, eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen sponges exist. There are natural sponge counterparts made from nettles or sea kelp that can be less likely to contain bacteria and mould than their green and yellow cousins. They're also much easier on the environment because they biodegrade quickly once disposed of in a landfill site.

So without further ados let's cover our favourite kitchen sponges.

Completely compostable sponges

Compostable sponges are a great alternative, made of plant-based ingredients so you don't have to be dependant on any product linked to the production of fossil fuels.

Plantish - Pop up Sponge Collection

Plantish Pop-up Sponge Set are a wonderful, green substitute for conventional sponges. Drawing inspiration from the beloved Swedish Dish Cloth designs, these sponges are not just a treat for the eyes, but they're also super practical and efficient. Made from 100% vegetable cellulose, these sponges feel just like traditional ones but without the plastic waste. They are completely plant-based, plastic-free, and compostable, making them a sustainable choice for my cleaning needs.

What I love about these sponges is their built-in scrubbers. They are effective at tackling tough stains and grime, yet gentle enough not to scratch my fine china and glasses. The natural cellulose sponge creates generous foams and lather, making it powerful enough to cut through greases and grime. Another great feature is their quick-drying ability. The vegetable cellulose fiber is naturally durable and breathable, allowing the sponge to air dry quickly without collecting nasty smells.

These sponges are truly multi-purpose, meeting all my daily cleaning needs from washing dishes and utensils to cleaning kitchen countertops and sinks. The Plantish Orange Pop up Sponge is also an excellent addition to any kitchen. It's effective, durable, and eco-friendly - a perfect choice for conscious consumers!

Compostable Cellulose Sponge - Eco-Sal

These durable, absorbent, and biodegradable eco sponges are a fantastic option to traditional petrochemical synthetic sponges. These eco sponges are wonderful for cleaning all over the house, from bathroom surfaces to kitchen worktops to plates and daily spills.

Sponges can absorb and hold up to 10 times their own weight in water, allowing them to survive a variety of tough cleaning tasks! They're sanitary, long-lasting, environmentally responsible, reusable, and completely biodegradable. This 100% cellulose sponge fibre is derived from natural wood. That means no tiny particles of plastics!

Between uses, keep your cellulose sponge as dry as possible to prevent unpleasant germs from accumulating on it. Alternatively, soak them in boiling water for a few minutes, wrap them in a damp towel and microwave for 20 seconds, or pop them into the dishwasher with a drying cycle.

Walnut Scrubber Sponges

A sponge that is too rough can scratch your dishes, while one that is too soft won't get the job done.

Full Circle's walnut scrubber sponges are made with a hard side and a soft side for optimal cleaning performance. The abrasive texture of the walnut shells provides just enough friction to scour away stubborn dirt without scratching delicate surfaces. This makes our products perfect for household use–from pots and pans to countertops!

The walnut scrubber sponges come in two different sizes so you can choose the right tool for every cleaning task. Not only will they help you clean faster, but they'll also save you money on paper towels because their absorbent sides soak up messes like magic! No matter what kind of mess you're facing, Full Circle has got your back with this innovative product!

Best sustainable cloth alternatives to sponges

These eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen sponges can be used for months before needing replacement, great news for the environment!

Full Circle Tidy Organic Cotton Dish Cloths

Full Circle - Tidy Organic Cotton Dish Cloths

It's hard to keep your kitchen clean when you're cooking, especially if you're trying to do it in a healthy manner.

We all know that organic cotton is better for the environment than synthetic materials like polyester or nylon.

Full Circle Tidy has designed an eco-friendly solution with their 100% Organic Cotton Dish Cloths. These cloths are made from long-lasting, absorbent cotton and they come in 3 different colours (white, black & natural). They are specially designed with loops on one side of the cloth so that you can scrub away without worrying about them falling apart while cleaning up. Unlike most dishcloths, these ones don't scratch delicate surfaces like glassware or china plates because they have been woven instead of knitted which means there aren't any loose threads sticking out that could damage your dishes over time.

Ecologie by Danica - Avocado Reusable Swedish Dishcloth

Resuable Swedish Dishcloth from Ecologie by Danica

The regular microfiber Dishcloths are a nightmare to clean and use. They get dirty, they smell bad, and you have to wash them constantly or else your dishes won't get clean, Moreover, microfiber is made from synthetic materials, typically a polyester-nylon blend, therefore, incredibly hard to recycle.

Luckily there are solutions out there! These dishcloths absorb up to 15 times their weight in water; that's more than any other cloth on the market. These dishcloths are 100% plant-based, made of 70% cellulose and 30% cotton, and are completely compostable when their useful life is up. Additionally, they are incredibly absorbent, quick-drying, and machine washable, so you may reuse them repeatedly.

The answer is simple - Swedish Dishcloth by Danica will revolutionize how you do dishes while saving time and money. You'll never want another brand again once you try this eco-friendly product.

Skoy Scrub Non-Scratching

The Skoy Scrub is different from other dishcloths or sponges because it's made of 100% cotton fibers with a non-toxic hardener added to the mix. This makes the scrub last longer than your average kitchen towel but also gives you better results when cleaning up messes around the house. You can even clean up spills on your stovetop without worrying about scratching any surfaces!

If you want something that will work well as an everyday kitchen tool for wiping down countertops and getting stuck on food off pots and pans then this is definitely worth checking out! These are easy to store away since they dry super fast once washed (in fact we recommend hand washing them instead of putting them in the dishwasher). Plus these things are machine washable so you can use them for a long time without worrying about replacing or cleaning them. And if that's not enough then just know these eco-friendly cloths are made to clean up messes while reducing your carbon footprint on the environment and achieving a zero-waste lifestyle without adding landfill waste.

Eco-friendly sponges alternatives

Here you can find our favourite brands of brushes, definitely a great alternative to normal sponges.

Eco Roots- Plastic-Free Wooden Dish Brush

Tired of using the same old dish brush that's covered in bacteria and gunk?

Eco Roots Wood Dish Brush is made with natural materials to make it earth-friendly and sustainable. The German beech wood is sourced from a certified sustainable forest, and the bristles are made of sisal, which is a Mexican plant agave with large fleshy leaves. Sisal is a thick hard fiber, wear-resistant, and very easy to clean.

You'll never have to worry about your dish brush again! Not only will this brush last longer than any other brush you've ever used, but it's also super easy to clean. All you have to do is rinse the bristles with clean water and hang dry naturally - it's that simple!

Eco Roots - Dish Scrubber

Tired of using those harsh, scratchy dish sponges?

Eco Roots' Dish Scrubber is perfect for getting rid of all the tough food stains and grease without having to use any harsh chemicals or plastics. It's also made out of natural materials so it's good for the environment!

Not only will this dish scrubber help you clean your dishes better than ever before, but it will also make your kitchen look nicer and more organized. No need for those ugly, bulky sponges anymore - this dish scrubber is the perfect replacement!

Loofah dish sponge is another valid alternative to conventional sponges

They are eco-friendly and biodegradable.

The best part is that you can use it as a replacement for traditional sponges or brushes! You just have to rinse it off after use, let it dry then replace it the next time you need it. If your loofah sponge starts smelling too much like old food, just boil it in some water with a few drops of your favourite essential oil to keep it fresh! Our best picks are:

Loofie Scrubbers by Etee

Etee Loofie Scrubbers are made from cellulose (the stuff that plants are made of!), so you can feel great about using them! They won't scratch up your dishes or ruin non-stick cookware. The loofah side is perfect for scrubbing off baked-on food, while the cellulose side is soft enough to wipe away messes without scratching.

We've got a better sponge alternative than those old green & blue plastic ones! The Etee Loofies will do everything those sponges could - plus more! Throw one into the microwave with some water and you've got yourself a hot sponge without the bacterias.

Loofah Natural Kitchen Sponges

Loofah Natural Kitchen Sponges! These 100% natural loofah kitchen sponges are the perfect replacement for plastic ones, and they come with low waste packaging too! Made from loofah (a plant!) these compostable sponges will help you clean up while reducing your carbon footprint at home or on the go! Plus, they come in a pack of 3 pieces so you can use them for everything from dishes to body scrubbing. Each sponge is sewn with 100% cotton thread making them fully compostable when their time comes.

Best eco-friendly dish sponges

Here are some alternatives to normal sponges, the following are made of sustainable material, long-lasting products without harmful chemicals.

Two Acre Farm Eco Sponge

We all know that we should be using reusable and natural cleaning products, but it's hard to remember to actually do it.

If you could make this chore a little bit easier and more convenient for yourself, would you? Wouldn't it be great if there was a way that you could clean your dishes with less effort? Or how about if there was an alternative to plastic sponges which are not biodegradable and often end up in landfills or the ocean?

This Eco Sponge is made out of fair trade recycled coffee sacks and cotton, so you can feel good about using this sustainable product. This sponge is 100% biodegradable! You can put our cleaning tool into your washing machine or dishwasher when it gets dirty or just throw it into your compost bin at the end of its life cycle (it won't smell). Also comes in a set of two with a paper sleeve! And if you're worried about germs, don't be - these are cleaned before being sent off to you!

Marley’s Monsters Washable Sponge

You want something that works well but also doesn't hurt the environment by adding waste.

Marley's Monsters Washable Sponge was created with your needs in mind! The mesh scrubbers are made from recycled materials and washable, durable cotton terry cloth on one side and soft flannel on the other. This combination of materials allows you to clean any surface without damaging it or adding more plastic to landfills! They are perfect for cleaning dishes, pots & pans, countertops, bathtubs & showers as well as floors! Each sponge measures 4" x 5 1/2" so it will fit perfectly into your hand while being large enough to tackle any task at hand.

Rowen Stillwater Unsponge - Upcycled Coffee Sack

The Rowen Stillwater Unsponge is made from 100% recycled coffee sacks and will last for 4-6 months before you'll need to replace it (or even longer if you're using it less often). By purchasing this sponge instead of one made out of plastic, you are doing your part in reducing landfill trash.

Great for heavy-duty dish scrubbing or cleaning, you should also be able to reuse this sponge several times before needing to replace it with another one. This means that over time, your Coffee Sponge could save you money on replacement sponges!

Plus, by supporting small businesses like Rowen Stillwater, you are helping make the world a greener place—one small purchase at a time!

Scrubbies compostable washing up pads

These compostable washing up pads are made of cotton with a hessian backing (hemp would be great too). They use organic vegetable dyes to colour them naturally - no nasty chemicals, only sustainable materials! And they're 100% biodegradable; simply throw your used pad into your home compost bin or worm farm when it's finished with and let nature do its thing.

You can now clean up without feeling guilty about throwing away a traditional sponge that takes years to break down in landfills or oceanic gyres. With these handy little pads, you can make a difference every time you wash up!

Best eco-friendly scrubber alternatives to sponges

Scrubbers can be a great alternative to common sponges,  especially eco-friendly scrubber alternatives made from recycled materials.

EcoCoconut Scrub Pads

Scrubbing and cleaning can be a chore. It's hard to get into all the nooks and crannies of your cookware, especially when you're using rough materials like steel wool or scouring pads that scratch nonstick surfaces.

At EcoCoconut, they've created an eco-friendly scrub pad made from 100% biodegradable coconut coir and tree rubber latex, which is stronger than any other plant-based material on the market. This combination makes our scrub pad strong enough to remove even stubborn stains while being gentle enough for use on delicate glassware and nonstick pans without leaving scratches behind.

The environmentally friendly product also comes in a convenient dispenser box so you don't have to worry about running out of pads mid-clean!

EcoCoconut Scrub Pads are perfect for anyone who wants a safe, reliable way to clean their home without worrying about toxic chemicals or harsh abrasives damaging their possessions or irritating their skin, definitely a great sustainable alternative.

Plastic-Free Coconut Dish Scour Pads

We're living in a world where we have become so accustomed to using plastics that it is hard for us to imagine life without them. But, the truth is that our planet has been suffering from this addiction for years now. As such, we need to start finding ways of reducing our dependence on these harmful materials as soon as possible and opt for environmentally friendly materials.

These No Plastic coconut sponges will help you do exactly that! They're made from totally natural ingredients and they'll help you keep your kitchen clean while keeping your impact on the planet small at the same time! It's an easy way of making sure that you don't contribute towards one more piece of waste which might end up in our oceans or other ecosystems.

Bamboo Pot Scrapers

Plastic pot scrapers are wasteful and costly.

These plastic-free bamboo pot scrapers have a life of their own! Made from certified organic bamboo, they’re strong enough to handle the toughest jobs in your kitchen.

They’re also biodegradable, so when you throw them away, they won’t be around for hundreds of years like plastic scrapers will be. And if you aren't convinced yet…these scrappers are dishwasher safe!

The sustainable bamboo utensils are made by hand with love out of 100% renewable materials that grow back quickly without harming our planet or its inhabitants. They use no dyes or stains because we believe our products should stand out naturally as well as perform flawlessly for many years to come.

Safix Natural Non-Scratch Multi-Purpose Coconut Scrub-Pad

It can be difficult to scrub your dishes without scratching them or using harsh chemicals that are bad for you and the environment.

Safix all-natural coconut sponges offer a safe alternative to traditional sponges and scrubbers. They're durable enough to tackle any job in your kitchen, from cleaning pots and pans to removing burnt-on food from baking sheets. And they don't scratch delicate surfaces like glassware or fine porcelain when used with only water!

You'll also save money on soap because these pads require less of it than regular sponges do - just add some dish detergent directly onto the pad itself rather than pouring it into your sink basin first! The best part? These non-scratch pads are made entirely out of 100% biodegradable materials that compost easily once you're done using them.

How to Choose a Nature-Friendly Sponge - Buying Guide

I'm sure you're aware of the various alternatives listed above, each having its own set of advantages. Here's how to choose the finest environmentally responsible sponges.

Consider the following points:

  1. Determine the material's toughness depending on the type of sponge.
  2. Choose the appropriate size of the sponge.
  3. Make sure the sponge is antimicrobial and made with natural materials
  4. Pick a material based on the type of use.

The sponge's sustainability and durability are determined by the material it is made of. Cellulose and hemp fibre are standard materials for sustainable sponges. Polyurethane is used to produce the one with small holes. Always acquire unprocessed plant ingredients if possible.

  • Loofahs are quite abrasive and biodegradable. They're an excellent alternative for green scouring pads. When you're finished, throw it in the garbage.
  • Coconut husk or walnut shell is used to make plant-based scrubbing pads. They do not cause microplastic pollution.
  • Hemp fibers are one of the most durable and robust natural plant fibers. It is mould and mildew resistant.
  • Cellulose sponges are heat resistant and absorb water just as well.

Select the size that is appropriate for you

It's possible that a little sponge may be the greatest option, but it is not necessarily so. A tiny sponge might fit in your hand, but using it might be difficult. Larger scrubs are hard to handle.

Make sure your sponge is antibacterial

Sponges are typically wet and have voids that serve as ideal breeding grounds for germs.

To keep your sponge clean, check the antibacterial qualities of the products to avoid mould and bacterial development. Make sure that the materials have not been treated.

What are the best methods for cleaning, maintaining, and disposing of your eco-friendly sponge?

If your chosen eco-friendly sponge isn't antibacterial, there are a few things you can do. Many persons microwave sponges to destroy germs, which is effective, but it also exposes them to potentially harmful bacteria. Dishwashing and putting them in the washing machine may have the same effect.

Make sure you clean and dry your sponge as soon as possible. Don't try to use any sponge for more than a couple of days - if it begins to smell or develop mould, it's time to replace it. Every other week, some cellulose sponges need to be replaced.

You may also utilize old sponges for other activities that won't cause damage, such as cleaning your bathtub!

Eco-friendly alternative FAQ section

What can you use instead of a sponge?

There are six different alternatives to your kitchen sponge: #1 Swedish dishcloths. #2 Bamboo sponges. #3 Bamboo pot scrubbers. #4 Natural dish brushes. #5Unsponge. #6 Cellulose Sponge Scourers.

Are there biodegradable sponges?

There are several natural replacements for your plastic kitchen sponge that biodegrade naturally. Sisal, which is derived from the agave plant in Mexico, and coconut fibers - the unusable portion of the coconut that would otherwise go to waste - are two of our favourites.

How long do sponges take to decompose?

A plastic sponge, such as the green-and-yellow kitchen sponge, take hundreds of years to decompose. Even before they're disposed of, they shed microfibres into our waterways.

Are kitchen sponges bad for the environment?

Green and yellow plastic kitchen sponges are environmentally harmful; they're composed of synthetic fibres that pollute waterways and aren't biodegradable, so they accumulate in landfills all over the world.

How often should you throw out a sponge?

According to experts, replacing your dishwashing sponge every two weeks is essential. It's even more motivation to go with reusable!

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In Conclusion

We all know that the human race needs to make a major shift in how it consumes and buys. There are many ways you can start, but one of the easiest is by replacing some of your more polluting items with sustainable ones like those found at Green Hive. For example, if you’re looking for new sponges or dish soap try our natural alternatives! You may be surprised just how much better they work than conventional products.

And best yet? These products will not harm waterways or marine life! The time has come where we need to take responsibility for our actions as consumers demand change from companies who don't care about sustainability - do your part today by making these changes yourself!


Microfiber. (2022, June 9). Wikipedia.Org. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from

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