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You probably have used or even still have a green and yellow sponge drip drying in your sink, but did you know that it is made from plastic that sheds microplastics in your dishwater?
Yup. It’s true. We can all make little changes, such as swapping out our traditional sponges for zero waste natural cleaning sponges, and make a massive difference for the environment and ourselves.
Zero waste sponges help you clean your home in an eco-friendly way. Whether you choose one that is biodegradable, natural, or organic, there are plenty of green options for effective cleaning sponges.
The Best Eco Friendly Sponges
With so many sponges, we've put this handy guide together to help you choose the right tool for the job. And make sure you take a look at the guides at the bottom of this post. There's a ton of information on choosing and shopping for an eco sponge.
At Zero Waste Store, you can find two main eco-friendly sponges, a biodegradable kitchen sponge that is perfect for getting that pesky dried-on spaghetti off and a konjac facial sponge, a fantastic sponge dedicated to your skincare routine.
The konjac facial sponge is made with a vegetable-based facial cleanser with a helping hand from charcoal to help improve acne-prone skin. It is also 100% biodegradable and lasts 3-6 months.
As for the biodegradable kitchen sponge, it is plastic-free and made from 100% wood pulp. This sponge is especially great for dishes, countertops, and bathtubs and is best paired with natural cleaning products.
It absorbs 10x its weight in liquid and is perfect for everyday use. They are available in a 1-Pack, 2-Pack, or 4-Pack. Each sponge will last approximately six months and can be washed in the dishwasher. It can be placed in your outdoor compost at the end of its life.
If you need something more substantial, give the Biodegradable Coconut Kitchen Scourers a try. These are excellent replacements for dish brushes. They are abrasive but won't scratch your pots, pans, or dishes. They come in a pack of five.
About Zero Waste Store
Zero Waste Market is an excellent resource for all things zero-waste living. They have a large variety of products at great prices. They are a package-free company with no plastic, and they are also carbon neutral. All the products are vetted to ensure they follow the same guidelines and values that Zero Waste Market upholds.
SuperBee’s Kitchen Luffa are cute, come in lots of beautiful prints, and are handmade in collaboration with One Sky, a foundation supporting displaced women and their families from Myanmar. But they are also effective and worked wonderfully on everything from a plate stained with melted chocolate to drops of pancake batter on an electric stovetop (which are notoriously pesky to remove, so remember to wipe off right away!).
Moreover, the Luffa was not stained by the chocolate, and any remnants from the sponge were easily washed away when finished. Best of all these eco-friendly scrubbers contain only 100% natural loofah and upcycled cotton offcuts from SuperBee's beeswax wrap production.
Compostable and biodegradable, we would definitely recommend over stainless steel scrubbers. Just make sure to soak them in water for a few minutes before their first use, and you're all set!
3. Public Goods
If you are shopping for natural sponges, Public Goods offers a sustainably sourced sea sponge from Greece (sustainably harvested) and the classic walnut scrubber sponge.
The Sea Sponge is the perfect substitute for plastic shower puffs. They are antibacterial and antifungal, which is ideal when using them on your skin, making them one of the best eco friendly bath sponges!
It's also fully biodegradable, which we love.
The Scrubber Sponge is made from natural vegetable cellulose on the one side and walnut on the other side. Walnut is naturally abrasive, making it perfect for tackling the most challenging kitchen job, you know, the ones that need a little more elbow grease!
It's ideal for countertops and can be used anywhere in your home, including the bathroom. It's hypoallergenic and free from harmful chemicals like triclosan, found in most conventional sponges. They can be purchased individually or in a pack of three.
About Public Goods
Public Goods make it easy for your to shop for eco-friendly products for your home. On each product page, they tell you what's in it, what's not, what makes it sustainable, and how to use it.
All their bottles are made from sugarcane, all paper products are tree-free, and all orders are shipped carbon-free and in 100% recycled packaging.
Organic sponges are the way to go when looking for an alternative to your traditional sponge. Grove Collaborative has a few options, from coconut scrubbers to soap dispensing dish sponges and even makeup blending sponges.
The Walnut Scrubber Sponge has durable walnut shells and recycled plastic fiber on the one side, making getting off stuck-on food a breeze. While the other softer side ane from 100% plant-based cellulose, both are sustainably sourced. These eco friendly kitchen sponges are vegan and contain no dyes or solvents. It's available in a two-pack and a six-pack.
The Coconut Scrubber Sponge is made from ground coconut shells with recycled fibers and 100% all-natural plant-based cellulose, non-toxic adhesive on the other. These eco sponges can be used for heavy-duty messes on cookware, glassware, countertops, and appliances. It comes in a set of two.
You also have the choice of two scouring pads; one made from coconuts and the other from walnuts. Both are not compostable as they contain recycled fibers. But they are non-toxic, which is a bonus!
They also carry a wide variety of scrubber brushes and brush replacement heads. You can subscribe and save 20% on all your orders to save more money.
About Grove Collaborative
Grove Collaborative is driven by a sustainable future and creates and curates over 150 brands that meet their standards. Every shipment is carbon neutral; by 2025, they plan to be 100% plastic-free. As a bonus, they also hold a B-corp certification.
Marley’s Monsters is one of our favorite zero-waste online shops offering home essentials like paper towel alternatives, zero-waste cleaning essentials like rags and cloths, and even zero and low-waste bathroom accessories like tree-free toilet paper.
If you are looking looking for heavy-duty kitchen sponges that pack some impressive cleaning power on dishes and cookware Marley's Monsters, has a range to choose from, depending on your needs.
The washable sponge is made of two vegan fabrics. On the one side, you will find 100% cotton terry cloth, and when you flip it over, you will find 100% cotton flannel and 100% polyester mesh. The flannel and polyester come together to give it its scrubbing power. These are perfect for cleaning a hazy mirror.
The center of the sponge is made from recycled materials that are hypoallergenic and mildew resistant. These are available in singles or a three-pack, and you can choose from fur fun colors.
They are machine washable, wash with like colors, and don't tumble dry be careful when washing knives and blades as they can tear or puncture the sponge.
The Scrap Felt Dish Cloth is a creative way to reuse scrap fabric. They "melted multiple layers of flannel strips together to create a new, absorbent fabric. We cut and sew this new fabric into Scrap Felt Dish Cloths."
Each one is unique and versatile and can be used as a multi-purpose cloth, to polish silver or scrub counters, and even grout. They can go in the machine and the dryer. Select a rainbow print or order the surprise print. So fun!
Next up, the Chenille Washable Sponge is made from 100% cotton chenille fabric and filled with 1" thick, mildew-resistant, washable, hypoallergenic foam made from recycled materials! These are perfect for washing dishes, glasses, countertops, and more.
The Cotton Chenile Cleaning Cloth is made from natural fiber and is perfect for all household chores. Made of one-ply 100% cotton chenille with a soft towel side and a scrubbier woven backside. Can be used as a mop head attachment, an oversized washcloth, or for general cleaning. Features a 100% cotton loop for easy hanging, storage, or drying.
These are ideal for washing up all kinds of messes and making a fantastic cloth to clean the toilet. Just make sure to keep it separate from all the others. These can also be used as eco friendly body sponges.
And finally, to get that icky stuff of pots and pans in hard-to-reach places, look no further than the Scrap Felt Scrubbers. These are double-sided and made from multiple layers of scrap flannel strips that are felted together to create a new, absorbent fabric they call Scrap Felt.
They back this with rugged burlap from upcycled coffee bags to create these handy, zero waste Scrubbers. Available as a 2-pack in Surprise Prints or Rainbow solid colors.
Scrap Felt Scrubbers are unique, totally upcycled, and super versatile. These multi-purpose tools can absorb spills, polish silver, or scrub pots and counters. Marley’s Monsters eco-friendly sponges for dishes will make the perfect addition to any sustainable home.
About Marley’s Monsters
Marley’s Monsters rose to fame thanks to their Unpaper Towel, which revolutionized how many of us green-clean our homes. They have continued to shake up natural cleaning with their selection of reusable, eco-home goods for babies, moms, and the home!
They can be used on non-stick cookware, copper and stainless steel, and glassware, and since they are non-scratch, you can even use them on kitchen counters, windows, etc.
They harden when they dry, so add water and soap, and you'll be ready to clean like a champ! Ensure you keep them dry between uses, and don't leave them soaking in water. They come as singles or in a pack of two.
When your sponge is at the end of its life, it is 100% biodegradable, just cut it up into small pieces and put it directly into your compost bin.
SWOP stands for Shop Without Plastic; no plastic is what you will get here. Founded by avid outdoors people, SWOP took 2.5 years to create. A lot of time has been spent to ensure that this company embodies a life without plastic. They say it only takes a few plastic-free items to make a difference in the world!
Full Circle Home has five variations of non-toxic, eco-friendly sponges. Here's what you need to know:
- The Suds Up Sponge is a soap-dispersing dish sponge with a replaceable head. It's made from Bonterra™ plant plastic, cellulose, and recycled plastic. It's also free from Triclosan.
- The Laid Back 2.0 is also a soap-dispersing dish sponge, but it's made with Bamboo, cellulose, and recycled plastic. The difference between these two is the shape of the handle. Both refill packs come with two replaceable heads.
- The Walnut Scrubber Sponge is made from walnut shells, cellulose, and recycled plastic.
- The Plaine Jane contains zero plastic. It's made with one smile thing, all-natural cellulose. It's 100% Compostable, including the packaging! And is non-toxic and free of triclosan and other harsh chemicals. Comes in a three-pack.
- The Refresh Sponge is made with cellulose on the soft side and recycled water bottles on the other. That's what gives it its abrasiveness.
Full Circle Home knows what they are doing where cleaning supplies are concerned. All of the items listed above will do a great job at getting your dishes spik and span. I love that they have so many options, depending on how you wash your dishes. They are odor-resistant and won't pick up any funky smells.
All the sponges are thick and absorbent, which is excellent for picking up food and dirt. Cellulose sponges can be sanitized in the dishwasher or microwave.
About Full Circle Home
Full Circle Home offers various products for various uses to ensure a high-quality, sustainable lifestyle. This company is B-corp certified and a Plastic Bank Partner. Your new sponges will arrive in a recycled box and recyclable packaging, don’t forget to look at the rest of their great products!
If you need to save space in your kitchen, then Blueland's Pop-Up Sponge is ideal for you. It's ⅕th the size of a regular sponge! All you have to do is add water, and it pops up! It's a plant-based super absorber and arrives flat and compact for easy storage.
It's made of FSC-certified plant cellulose. You can throw it in the dishwasher or boil it to sanitize it easily. Vegan, gluten-free, soy and nut-free, and Leaping Bunny certified, this sponge will leave your dishes shining. It's available in a 3-pack, 6-pack, and 9-pack.
The Scrub Sponge is another cleaning champ. It's got a loofah side for scrubbing stuck-on food and a 100% FSC-certified cellulose side for washing away grime. Hand-sewn with cotton thread for strength instead of plastic glues or adhesives it the perfect plastic-free cleaning sponge.
So what should you look for when shopping for a biodegradable sponge?
It all comes down to what it is made up of. Most traditional sponges are made of polyurethane, a petroleum-based ingredient in English. It’s they are made from oil-based (fossil fuel) plastic.
A natural sponge will be made of materials like vegetable cellulose, wood pulp, walnut shells, coconut coir or husks, hemp, loofah, and natural latex.
Each has its benefits and is suitable for various cleaning and personal use. They also do not harbor bacteria the same way sponges do.
These materials naturally break down and "biodegrade," leaving nothing behind, unlike your conventional sponge, which can leave toxic chemicals and microplastics behind as they slowly break down over hundreds of years.
Some companies offer sea sponges as an alternative to the green and yellow sponges we are used to seeing on shelves. These multicellular animals need to be sustainably harvested to make them eco-friendly. Since that might be hard to prove, I recommend you avoid these, especially if you are a vegan. If you purchase a sea sponge, look for the FSC certification.
Are the companies Certified B Corp? This ensures a sustainable supply chain. It’s essential to know how your fabric is made, where it comes from, and under what working conditions. There are a lot of brands out there paying much less than livable wages and under harsh working conditions that violate tons of labor and human rights laws.
What is the brand’s corporate responsibility?
What extra measures do they use to ensure sustainable practices? Companies passionate about change often give back to their communities and enrich the towns and villages where they employ citizens. They go the extra mile and offset their carbon emissions. The packaging is biodegradable or recyclable.
Benefits of using natural sponges
There are lots of benefits to using a natural sponge, whether it’s a sea sponge, organic, or biodegradable, but the most significant advantage by far is the environmental impact using a natural sponge has.
Microplastics can’t always be filtered out of our waterways by treatment centers, and not all water filters are made equally, and microplastics can find their way into our food. This is a huge reason why using zero waste natural cleaning sponges are better for the environment and, ultimately you.
A final word on zero waste natural cleaning sponges
It’s time to ditch your traditional sponge and get a natural one! Save the plant and your skin with one of the many great options from the list.
A natural sponge is a must-have because they are an eco-friendly, cost-effective, and sustainable option for cleaning. Not only do they require little maintenance and last for a long time, but they also reduce the number of disposable cleaning products in our landfills.
Plus, they are made of natural materials like cotton and bamboo, making them safe and non-toxic. If you found this post helpful, please help someone by sharing this article – Sharing is caring 🙂!