Ditch your current dish sponge for these eco friendly kitchen sponge alternatives. They are compostable, biodegradable, sustainable and better for the environment.
What’s wrong with the yellow sponge you use now? Well, it is made of synthetic materials, usually polyester for the soft, squishy section and polyurethane for the more abrasive side. That means it is made of plastic.
Plastics are not compostable or sustainable. They also break down into microplastics which are quickly becoming an air, water, and soil pollutant. Minimize your environmental impact and try these alternatives instead.
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Kitchen Sponge Alternatives
#1. Wood pulp sponges
These look and feel like the regular sponges you use now, except they are made from all-natural wood pulp. So when you’re done with them, you can add them to the compost bin or send to an industrial composting facility. They will break down into natural products and won’t be harmful to the environment.
#2. Coconut fiber sponges
My parents have been using coconut fibers to wash their dishes for as long as I can remember. Funny enough, the fibers are proven to be antimicrobial on their own. This study from 2014 explains more. It showed how the fibers were effective at destroying bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and yeasts like Candida albicans.
Imagine having a dish sponge that is antimicrobial without the soap! And when they’re worn and no longer useable, my mom rinses the fibers out and adds them to the garden.
Nowadays though, the fibers are often compressed and shaped to resemble the scrubbers we use today. You can find lots of options on Amazon here. And the Zero Waste Store and Zero Waste Outlet also carry coconut fiber sponges. Compost them at the end of their life.
Ever heard of a tawashi? It’s a Japanese term used for scrubbing brushes. Traditional ones are made with palm fibers from coconut or hemp which are held together by metal wire.
You can find tawashis on Amazon. Some even come with metal hooks so you can hang them over the sink to dry. Others even come with a wooden handle attachment. At the end of their use, remove the wire and repurpose and compost the fibers.
Loofahs are dried fruits that become fibrous, firm and look like sponges. That means they are all-natural, plant-based, and compostable. When they absorb water, they become soft and squishy making them wonderful kitchen sponge alternatives.
#4. Wood brushes
If you want to keep your hands out of the suds, then try using natural brushes with fiber bristles. The handles are often made from stainless steel or sustainable wood like bamboo or beechwood. As for the bristles, they are usually made from coconut, palm or union fibers.
I’ve owned several of these throughout the years. They’re great for my sensitive hands and can last for about 6 months. I usually disinfect them once a week or so by boiling them in hot water for a couple minutes before draining and leaving them to dry completely.
#5. Swedish dishcloths
Swedish dish cloths are made with wood (or cellulose) fibers and cotton. They are really absorbent and act like all-natural, eco-friendly sponges but they also behave like microfiber cloths. Just without the microplastics falling off and entering the water system.
When you’re done with the dishcloths for good, they are compostable. So pop them into your compost bin or send them off to your local composting facility.
#6. DIY kitchen sponge alternatives
Natural fibers aren’t the only materials you can use to scrub your pots and pans. You can also repurpose your old clothing like tshirts, dresses and more. Form them into cloth tawashis (instead of the traditional coconut fiber ones) and scrub away. Permacrafters has a nice video tutorial using old stockings.
Other natural materials like jute can also be used. And you can get crafty by crocheting them or trying macramé. Check out Crochet All Day’s tutorial with twine.
What else do you use on your dishes? I’d love to hear more about it in the comments.