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14 Different Types of Dish Washing Brushes and Sponges

Various dish washing brushes and sponges

Many of us use dishwashing brushes and sponges are a regular basis. One of the things I dislike the most about kitchen sponges is that they stink after a few days.

Fortunately, there are many other options available that I can use to wash my dishes. I prefer to use one of the many other options.

If you are tired of the smell that comes from your kitchen sponge, check out the article to find out all the different types of dishwashing brushes and sponges.

Related: Types of Dishwashers | Selecting the Right Type of Dishwasher for Your Home | Dishwasher Dimensions | The History of the Dishwasher | Types of Hand Soap | Why Do Dishwashers Smell? | Do Dishwashers Save Water?

A. Types of Sponges

1. Rubber Sponges

A close look at gray rubber sponges.

Rubber sponges are made out of rubber, just as you might suspect based on the name. It can be used on a surface that does not need to be wet to clean.

These may also be referred to as dry sponges. You can dampen the sponge and use a little bit of liquid soap before you wipe down your surfaces.

2. Cellulose Sponges

A close look at a cellulose sponge.

Cellulose sponges are the most common sponges you will find on the market. They are incredibly functional and affordable. They are incredibly porous and can hold on to water.

It holds on to a lot of food. These sponges are not easy to rinse out and are a breeding ground for bacteria.

3. Microfiber Sponges

A microfiber sponge in neon green tone.

Microfiber sponges can be used for any and all dishes. It is perfect for any surface. Microfiber is a soft sponge that remains soft.

Even though it is soft, it effectively removes all food, even what is stuck on, from your dishes. It dries quickly, leaving little time for bacteria to grow.

B. Different Dish Washing Brushes and Sponges

1. Palm Brush

OXO Good Grips Palm Brush Storage Set,Black,1 EA

A palm bush is intended to fit in the palm of your hand. It is shaped perfectly so it can fit in corners and make all your cleaning easy and fast.

There are two types of palm brushes, one that dispenses soap and one that does not hold soap. Regardless of which of the two kinds of palm dish brush you pick, they have some of the same features.

They both provide heavy-duty scrubbing capabilities, so they can be used on grills and caked-on pots and pans. They can even remove the stickiest substance from your dishes. The brushes are flexible and can be rinsed clean.

2. Palm Dispenser Brush

OXO Good Grips Soap Dispensing Palm Brush

The palm dispenser brush has two sections with the top section that holds dish soap as well as dispenses it. It dispenses small amounts of soap at a time, so a large amount is not dumped on your dishes. When you push the button on top of the kitchen brush, it dispenses soap.

You easily unscrew the top of the soap dispensing brush to refill the soap. The cap of the palm dispenser has rubber with the intention of reducing the possibility of leaks.

3. Non-Dispenser Palm Brush

A non-dispensing brush with a wooden handle.

This palm brush looks similar to the soap dispenser type of brush, but it does not hold dishwashing soap. Instead, this palm brush comes with a dish where the dishwashing soap sits. You can dip your brush into the dish.

There are springs inside the brush that help create the suds and put the soap on the brush. It can sit on your countertop when you are not using it. It does not take up much space when not in use.

The brush can sit in the base, and dry when you are not using it helps eliminate bacteria from growing.

4. Non-Scratch Scrub Brushes

Multi-Purpose Scrub Sponges for Kitchen by Scrub- it - Non-Scratch Microfiber Sponge Along with Heavy Duty Scouring Power - Effortless Cleaning of Dishes, Pots and Pans All at Once (6 Pack , Small)

Non-Scratch Scrub Brushes are a combination of scrubbers and sponges. They usually have one side that is a cellulose sponge, and the other side is a scrubber.

They are tough enough to remove stuck on food but will not scratch your pots and pans. The soft side can be used on your most delicate glasses.

The scrubber side of the brush sometimes has lines on it. These lines stop food from getting stuck on the sponge. They also help eliminate odor.

These sponges can be washed in the dishwasher, but you will still need to replace them on a regular basis.

5. Dish Wand Sponge

A dishwand sponge with spares.

A dish wand sponge is a combination type of product. The handle of this dish sponge holds dishwashing soap. This handle eliminates the need for you to mess with the dish washing soap when you want to wash dishes.

This dish wand sponge helps keep your kitchen sink neat and clean.

These dish wand sponges come with two different types of brush head, which are a nylon brush and a foam sponge. These heads are replaceable and can be found in your local store.

You can also find these replacements online. You can also change them out based on your particular need at the moment.

The wand sponge has a closure at the bottom, which is where you fill it with dish washing soap. It has a button that you have to push to let the soap come out to wash the dishes. You do have to keep this wand upright in a drying rack when you are not using it, so the soap does not leak out when not in use.

6. Nylon Brush

46615 Hyde Tools Nylon Wire Brushes - Pack of 6 (Nylon)

The nylon brush has soft bristles that can be used on nonstick cookware.

7. Foam Sponge

A stack of colorful foam sponges.

The foam sponge can be soft or have a scrubber depending on your needs.

8. Loofah Natural Scrub Sponge

Natural loofah sponges in a basket.

Loofah sponges are not just for cleaning your body. They can also be used for dishes. While this may not be known as one of the most common uses, they work well on dishes.

These sponges foam well and quickly. Loofah sponges can be used to scrub pots and pans, but it also gentle enough to be used on your glasses.

Loofah sponges are biodegradable and can be composted as soon as it needs to be replaced. These loofahs are zero waste.

It is important that you allow these sponges to dry completely between uses. You will need to replace the loofah sponges often.

9. Bottle Brush

Gloved hands washing the dishes with a bottle brush.

A bottle brush is an important piece of kitchen equipment that you need to clean your bottles. Even bottles that you use only for water still need to be cleaned regularly.

Your bottles can trap bacteria and allow them to grow. A bottle brush is the best way to clean your bottle thoroughly.

Bottle brushes have flexible necks that allow the brush to blend and clean all parts of the bottle. Despite it being flexible, the bottle brush is strong and durable.

The bristles on a bottle brush are nylon, but some nylon bristles are stiffer than others. The handle of the brush has a hole allowing you to hang it. These brushes are dishwasher safe.

10. Stainless Steel Cast Iron Chainmail Scrubber

A close look at a stainless steel chainmail cast iron pan scrubber.

A stainless steel cast iron chainmail scrubber is perfect for cast iron pans. Cast iron is a fantastic type of pan, but there are many rules you have to follow when you use them.

All of the rules may make it difficult for you to use cast iron. For example, you cannot soak cast iron, and you should not put it in the dishwasher.

This chainmail scrubber is stainless steel that is rust proof. It will help you remove the caked on food without causing any damage to your pan. This chainmail is dishwasher safe.

It can be used on glass pans, cookie sheets, Dutch ovens, and pizza stones. In many cases, the chainmail comes in a package that contains two sizes of chainmail.

11. Silicone Sponge

A close look at a yellow silicon sponge.

Silicone sponges are not porous, so they will not hold on to bacteria and odor. This lack of bacteria means they will not stink the same way as a cellulose sponge does.

If you have ever noticed a nasty smell coming from your sponge, that will not happen with this type of sponge. These silicone sponges are food-grade material.

You only need to replace these sponges when they start to fall apart, which is usually after a few months. A conventional sponge must be replaced every couple of weeks.

These sponges are ideal for removing food particles that are stuck on your dishes, including pots and pans. They can also be used as a potholder when you have to touch a dish that is hot. A silicone sponge can also be used as a vegetable silicone scrubber.

They are dishwasher safe and dry quickly. A silicone sponge may be slippery and slip out of your hand when you are washing dishes.

12. Reusable Straw Cleaner Brush

A close look at a set of reusable straws and its cleaner brush.

Reusable straws have been gaining popularity. They are environmentally friendly and more cost-effective. When you use reusable straws, you must clean them.

If you do not clean them, bacteria can build up on the straw. The tube of the straw is a great place for food and other junk to get caught and stuck. If you do not clean it out, it can come out while you are drinking your next beverage of choice.

A cleaner brush is dishwasher safe so that you can clean the brush. These brushes are usually about eight inches long and have two different size heads. The smaller brush is intended to clean thinner straws such as metal ones.

The bigger brush is great for smoothie straws or those that come with water bottles. These brushes are usually made from nylon and stainless steel that is food grade. These brushes can be used on the softest of straws.

13. Stainless Steel Sponge

A close look at a circular stainless steel sponge.

Stainless steel sponges are the perfect sponge for pots and pans with hard core stuck on food. These types of dishes require you to work hard to clean the food off the dishes.

These scrubbers are made from 410 stainless steel. The stainless steel is coiled tightly and woven together to create a sponge.

These sponges are not that big but are circular in shape. The circle shape makes it ergonomically friendly and easy to hold in your hand. They are flexible and simple to use.

It has a number of uses other than removing food from your pots and pans. It can also be used in ovens and on tools.

14. Dish Scrubber with Handle

A hand holding a dish scrubber with a red tone.

These dish scrubbers have a long handle that helps you get deep into your dishes without having to stick your hands deep in the water. This handle allows you to keep your hands away from the nasty warm water and dirty dishes. This type of dish scrubber can help protect your skin.

The scrubber handle fits comfortably in your hand as it has an ergonomic shape. It allows you to get a grip on your brush handle to let you scrub your dishes effectively. This helps you clean your sticky and stubborn messes.

The better you take care of your dish scrubber means the longer the scrubber will last. The bristles easily get clumped with food. The handle of the scrub brush gets slippery, and it may be different to hold.

C. History of Dish Washing Brushes and Sponges

A vintage photo of a woman washing the dishes.

For generations, people used rags or pieces of cloth to clean their dishes. At one point, any material that would hold water would be used. The first known dish brush dates back to 1857 when the first brush factory was constructed.

The first known brush, the Lola Brush, was born at a 1934 trade show. In 1937 Otto Bayer, best known for founding the Bayer Company, accidentally invented polyurethane foam. This material was used to make the first sponge.

While scientists kept pushing to create a foam, they created what they thought was a defective batch of foam that had too many bubbles.

The result was something that was similar to sea sponges. A sea sponge was used in the Middle Ages to wash their body.

As technology improved, the sponges of today were created. Dish brushes have advanced over time to become the brushes that people love today.


How long should I keep a sponge before I replace it?

It truly depends on how often you use your sponge to wash dishes that determines how often you replace your sponge. If you wash dishes every day, you should consider replacing your sponge every month. If you notice that your sponge has an odor to it, then you should replace it sooner.

How do I keep my sponge clean?

There are a few ways you can clean your sponge. You can throw your sponge in the dishwasher when you wash your dishes. You can actually throw the sponge in the dishwasher every time you run it.

If you do not have a dishwasher, you can use hot water with a dash of bleach in it. This will help to kill any bacteria.

You can choose to throw your sponge in the microwave for two minutes on high. This can help to kill the bacteria.

You want to make sure that they sponge is damp before putting it in the microwave. You should ensure that there is no metal in the sponge.

What is cleaner a sponge or a dishcloth?

A sponge is not any cleaner than a dishcloth. The choice between the two really comes down to personal preference. Bacteria grow on either of them because all it needs it something moist and warm.

You can often find dishcloths that are better looking than many sponges. You can wash your dish clothes in the washing machine with your next load of laundry.

You can wash it with your whites to use bleach and hot water. You can also leave your dishcloth in the sun to remove bacteria.

Should I use brushes instead of sponges when washing the dishes?

Brushes tend to be more hygienic than sponges and dishcloths. You can clean brushes easily and they dry quickly. If you are worried about germs, this may be the best option for you.

They can be awkward to hold and use, which is why some people choose not to use brushes. Sponges are much easier to hold on to.

What is the best dish brush?

One of the best dish brushes is not your ordinary brush. The Full Circle Good Kitchen dish brush pushes the boundaries in every way. It has a bamboo handle and the durable bristles are made of BPA free recycled plastic. The brush gives you the ability to effectively clean your dishes and the bristles will not fall out.

How can I prevent my sponge from smelling badly?

In addition to cleaning your sponges regularly, you can soak them in a 50 percent white vinegar and 50 percent water mixture. Let your sponges soak in this solution overnight to prevent them from smelling. Before you put the in the solution, be sure to rinse them and wring them out several times to remove as many food particles and water as possible.

What are the alternatives to using a sponge?

Sponges can be a breeding ground for bacteria if you do not clean them properly and frequently. Most of us think of cellulose sponges when we hear the name. You could consider a microfiber sponge alternative, if you really love sponges, but want something healthier.

This type of sponge dries faster which gives bacteria less time to form and grow. There are also silicone sponges to consider if you love sponges but are looking for a change. While a silicone sponge is not going to get out the most caked-on food, it is ideal for every day use.