• Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Sponges in 2021 (Trader Joe's, Scotch-Brite, and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Sponges in 2021 (Trader Joe's, Scotch-Brite, and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Sponges in 2021 (Trader Joe's, Scotch-Brite, and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Sponges in 2021 (Trader Joe's, Scotch-Brite, and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Sponges in 2021 (Trader Joe's, Scotch-Brite, and More) 5

Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Sponges in 2021 (Trader Joe's, Scotch-Brite, and More)

When consciously cutting down on plastics and making more Earth-friendly choices, it’s important to analyze even the small things. Plastics have a way of sneaking into even the most benign-sounding items. Sponges, for example, are named after an animal, but most of our cleaning sponges are actually made up of plastics.

Luckily there are a number of new–as well as very, very old–options that are just as good at cleaning and infinitely better for the environment than typical plastic-based sponges. In this guide, we’ll go over the factors you should look for when choosing an eco-friendly sponge. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites (like Pura Naturals' Stink Free Sponge) to help you get started.

Experts featured in this article

Shirley Mak
  • Last updated: 06-09-2021
  • 30,287 views
Table of Contents

Compare the Best Eco-Friendly Sponges

Image
1
Pura Naturals Stink Free Sponge 1

Pura Naturals

2
Miw Piw Whole Natural Loofah 1

Miw Piw

3
Teal Trunk Silicone Sponge and Scrubber 1

Teal Trunk

4
Kolo Nature Zero Waste Unsponges 1

Kolo

5
Lather Natural Sea Wool Sponge 1

Lather

6
Trader Joe's Pop up Sponges 1

Trader Joe's

7
Natural Sponge Sea Sponge 1

Natural Sponge

8
Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Natural Fiber Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge 1

Scotch-Brite

9
STK Heavy Duty Silicone Scrubber Sponges 1

STK

10
Twist Loofah Sponge 1

Twist

Name

Stink Free Sponge

Whole Natural Loofah

Silicone Sponge and Scrubber

Nature Zero Waste Unsponges

Natural Sea Wool Sponge

Pop up Sponges

Sea Sponge

Greener Clean Natural Fiber Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge

Heavy Duty Silicone Scrubber Sponges

Loofah Sponge

Features

Plant-Based and Designed to Inhibit Bacteria

Three All-Natural, Organic Loofahs

Gentle Silicone Scrubber With Two Surfaces

100% Recycled, Compostable Plant-Based “Unsponge”

A Super Soft, All-Natural Sponge

A Simple, All-Plant Sponge for Household Cleaning

Rougher Sea Sponge Great for Tough Jobs

Made from Recycled Paper and Agave

Heat-Resistant, Odor-Free Sponges for the Kitchen

A Hand-Stitched, Two-Sided Sponge

Price$17.96$13.95$14.89$15.00$15.00$17.97$9.05$10.48$19.95$5.74
Main materialsCellulose, walnutLoofahSiliconeCotton, juteSea spongeCelluloseSea spongeCelluloseSiliconeCellulose, loofah
Scouring padWalnutNoSiliconeJuteNoNoNoAgaveNoLoofah
Size3.5 x 4 in. and 3.5 x 5 in.8-10 in.3.1 x 4.7 in.4 x 4.5 in.5 in.3.25 x 4.25 in.6-7 in.3.7 x 4.3 in.3 x 4.25 in.2.8 x 4.3 in.
Antibacterial-freeYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Link

Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Sponges

Here's the list of our 10 favorite eco-friendly sponges, chosen for their superior materials, lack of antibacterial ingredients, and more.


※These rankings were decided based on user reviews and popular rank lists from Amazon gathered on June 15th.

1

Pura NaturalsStink Free Sponge

6 pack

$17.96

Main materialsCellulose, walnut
Scouring padWalnut
Size3.5 x 4 in. and 3.5 x 5 in.
Antibacterial-freeYes
2

Miw PiwWhole Natural Loofah

3 pack

$13.95

Main materialsLoofah
Scouring padNo
Size8-10 in.
Antibacterial-freeYes
3

Teal TrunkSilicone Sponge and Scrubber

2 pack

$14.89

Main materialsSilicone
Scouring padSilicone
Size3.1 x 4.7 in.
Antibacterial-freeYes
4

KoloNature Zero Waste Unsponges

3 pack

$15.00

Main materialsCotton, jute
Scouring padJute
Size4 x 4.5 in.
Antibacterial-freeYes
5

LatherNatural Sea Wool Sponge

$15.00

Main materialsSea sponge
Scouring padNo
Size5 in.
Antibacterial-freeYes
6

Trader Joe'sPop up Sponges

12 pack

$17.97

Main materialsCellulose
Scouring padNo
Size3.25 x 4.25 in.
Antibacterial-freeYes
7

Natural SpongeSea Sponge

$9.05

Main materialsSea sponge
Scouring padNo
Size6-7 in.
Antibacterial-freeYes
8

Scotch-BriteGreener Clean Natural Fiber Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge

12 pack

$10.48

Main materialsCellulose
Scouring padAgave
Size3.7 x 4.3 in.
Antibacterial-freeYes
9

STKHeavy Duty Silicone Scrubber Sponges

10 pack

$19.95

Main materialsSilicone
Scouring padNo
Size3 x 4.25 in.
Antibacterial-freeYes
10

TwistLoofah Sponge

$5.74

Main materialsCellulose, loofah
Scouring padLoofah
Size2.8 x 4.3 in.
Antibacterial-freeYes

How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Sponge – Buying Guide

Here, we'll be introducing the following four important points to check when you choose an eco-friendly sponge.


Points to Consider:

  1. Pick a Material Based on Toughness and Disposal
  2. Look for an Attached Scouring Pad Made of Plant-Based Fibers
  3. Select the Right Size Sponge for the Job
  4. Ensure Your Sponge is Antibacterial-Free

1. Pick a Material Based on Toughness and Disposal

The material your eco-friendly sponge is made from is going to be what determines the most important aspects of your sponge–how hard it scrubs, how long it lasts, and how Earth-friendly disposal will be.

Cellulose Sponges Are Soft, Readily Available, and Familiar

Cellulose Sponges Are Soft, Readily Available, and Familiar
As it stands, a lot of normally available commercial sponges are made from cellulose and hemp fiber, plant-based materials that will naturally biodegrade over time. These are your typical kitchen sponges with the larger, more irregular holes.
The ones with tiny holes are probably made from polyurethane. However, generic cellulose sponges sometimes also include polyester, which is a form of plastic. So to ensure that you’re getting unadulterated plant materials, be sure to read the label.
These sponges are soft and great for surface cleaning and dishwashing, although they don’t have a lot of hard scrubbing power and tend to have a shorter lifespan—if you’re using them in the kitchen, you really shouldn’t use one for more than a couple weeks before switching it out.

Loofahs are Mildly Abrasive and Compostable

Loofahs are Mildly Abrasive and Compostable
Loofahs are plants that are closely related to cucumbers. To create that spongey texture, they’re dried out and essentially left to become plant skeletons.
Loofahs are mildly abrasive and make great cleaning sponges in the place of green scouring pads or mild steel wool. They’re also gentle enough to use for body exfoliation in the shower. If you get a whole loofah, you can just cut it into smaller pieces and use it as you need it.
As long as you let it dry out properly between uses, each piece will last about three months before it starts to break down, at which point you can feel free to just toss it into your compost pile!

Sea Sponges Are Super Absorbent, Gentle, and Last for Years

Sea Sponges Are Super Absorbent, Gentle, and Last for Years
Humans have been using sea sponges to clean for millennia. In fact, the word “sponge” comes from the animal. While they aren’t exactly vegan, sea sponges are sustainably harvested from aquatic farms in a way that allows the organism to keep growing and has little negative environmental impact.
They’re super soft and extremely absorbent—one sponge can hold an entire cup of water—which makes them great for cleaning up countertop messes or even washing your car. Naturally, they are compostable and biodegradable, but you won’t have to worry about that for a while as they can last several years of use.

Silicone Sponges Are Durable and Recyclable

Silicone Sponges Are Durable and Recyclable

For something a little different, why not try a silicone sponge? They’re gentle but can also be used as scouring pads depending on how the silicone is shaped.

They’re also naturally bacteria-resistant and can withstand years of use, so you don’t need to worry about them breaking down and entering the waterways. When you're ready to get rid of it, just look for a recycler that accepts silicone.

2. Look for an Attached Scouring Pad Made of Plant-Based Fibers

2. Look for an Attached Scouring Pad Made of Plant-Based Fibers
Conventional scouring pads are great for scrubbing off tough messes, but they’re usually made from plastic, which breaks down as you use it and slips down the drain.
Fortunately, there are some plant-based scourers that do the job just as well without contributing to microplastic pollution. So if you’re looking for a sponge that’s also got a little grit to help you clean, look for sponges with scouring pads made from materials like coconut husks or walnut shells.

3. Select the Right Size Sponge for the Job

3. Select the Right Size Sponge for the Job
Just because a sponge is eco-friendly doesn’t automatically make it the best sponge for you–you need to think about what you’re scrubbing too! So just remember that if you’re looking for a sponge to clean the bathtub, you’ll probably want it to be on the larger side.
Conversely, if you find yourself cleaning a lot of cups, for example, a smaller sponge will fit more easily and allow you to clean more thoroughly. Luckily, a lot of eco-friendly sponges–loofahs and cellulose sponges in particular–cut down very easily and can be used in a wide variety of spaces.

4. Ensure Your Sponge is Antibacterial-Free

4. Ensure Your Sponge is Antibacterial-Free
Sponges are moist and full of holes–the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Which is why many conventional sponges are treated with antibacterial chemicals. 

And while they kind of work to keep your cleaning device clean, they’re also harmful to the environment, particularly marine life. So to avoid any of these unwanted chemicals, be sure to check that your sponge is untreated.

How to Clean Your Sponge

How to Clean Your Sponge
Since you’re looking for a sponge that isn’t antibacterial, you have to know how to keep it clean. A lot of us have learned that microwaving a sponge will kill the bacteria, and that’s true–mostly.
In fact, microwaving your sponge does kill all the weaker bacteria, but it also leaves behind the stronger, more dangerous ones and gives them more opportunity to grow. Dishwashing and tossing them in the washing machine with your laundry can do the same. So what’s the best way to avoid spreading germs around your house?
Make sure your sponge has an opportunity to dry as thoroughly and as quickly as possible. Don’t try to stretch the life of your sponge too long–if it’s starting to smell funny or looks a little ratty, it’s time to retire it. For some cellulose sponges, this could mean as often as every week if you use it for dishwashing.
If you’re reluctant to throw it away too quickly, rotate it to a part of the house where using an old sponge isn’t going to do any harm. Say, using an old dish sponge to clean the bathtub, for example.

Looking for More Eco-Friendly Cleaners?

Looking for More Eco-Friendly Cleaners?

Your sustainable journey likely doesn't end with sponges. Here are even more cleaning tools to help you reduce your carbon footprint!

Summary

Sponges are something that you use every day and can go through pretty quickly. So even though changing your sponge may seem like a small step, it can really add up, especially if it means switching from one that’s completely plastic to one that’s fully biodegradable or recyclable.

Author: Jacqueline Oshiro

Get Expert-Approved, Sustainable Care for Yourself, Too!

You've taken care of the messes around the house (or maybe you're using one of these for bath time), but is your skin taken care of? Shirley recommended a great selection of sustainable skincare brands, including Yay for Earth, so you can make self-care time into planet-care time as well.

Expert's
pick

Related Articles

Popular Articles

  • 8 Best Saline Solutions for Piercings in 2021 (NeilMed, Recovery, and More)
    8 Best Saline Solutions for Piercings in 2021 (NeilMed, Recovery, and More)
    New piercings are exciting but require a little extra care. Anyone who's gotten professionally pierced has probably been instructed to use saline solution. Saline is the best way to clean fresh wounds, helping your body's natural healing processes avoid running into any speedbumps. When deciding what solution to get, you are choosing a product that will have direct contact with your healing tissue, so you want the best!So, we did the research to find the most trustworthy products available. Our top pick is NeilMed's Piercing Aftercare Fine Mist. This simple saline solution is frequently recommended by piercers. Plus, it has a fine mist nozzle for better reach and coverage. Scroll through the rest of our list to find the solution that suits you, and check out the buying guide if you're not sure what to look for!
    Household goods
    11,803 views
  • Top 15 Best Japanese Gel Pens in 2021 - Tried and True! (Muji, Pentel, and More)
    Top 15 Best Japanese Gel Pens in 2021 - Tried and True! (Muji, Pentel, and More)
    The smooth writing tip, the way it glides over the paper, and the beautiful, vibrant colors are just parts of what is attractive about gel pens. And nowadays, there are plenty of them on the market today. Even the smallest improvement in design and the faintest sparkling of genius can make a difference between them. So this time around, we ordered the 15 most popular gel pens from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested for the following:How the Grip FeltBalanceThe Color, Feel, and Depth of the InkHow the Nib Felt against PaperHow Smudgeproof it wasDesignThis is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese gel pens. With tip contributions from lettering artist Mhelanie, we also prepared a buying guide.
    Household goods
    36,824 views
  • Top 9 Best Retainer Cleaners in 2021 (Dental Hygienist-Reviewed)
    Top 9 Best Retainer Cleaners in 2021 (Dental Hygienist-Reviewed)
    If you’ve ever worn a retainer or clear aligner, there have definitely been times when you’ve noticed strange odors or unsettling build-up on it, no matter how well you’ve rinsed or brushed it. But it’s not your fault. Retainers are full of nooks and crannies that can be hard to clean, so it’s a good idea to look for a cleaner that’s specifically made to handle that task. But it can be hard to pick and find what will work for youIn this guide, prepared with Dental Hygienist Jaeyoung Yoo, we’ll go over the factors you should consider when choosing a retainer cleaner that’s right for you, plus a tip for keeping your retainers in tip-top condition. We’ve also got a list of our 9 favorites to help you get started, with guardClean's Mouthguard, Aligner and Retainer Cleaning Spray taking our number one spot. Read on to find out why!
    Household goods
    30,488 views
  • 9 Best Compostable Trash Bags in 2021 (BioBag, Green Earth, and More)
    9 Best Compostable Trash Bags in 2021 (BioBag, Green Earth, and More)
    The health of the environment is more important now than ever, and alternatives to plastic are popping up everywhere. A great step to take towards minimal waste living is to make your waste itself more eco-friendly. One way to do this is by switching out your plastic trash bags for compostable ones. These bags are made out of materials that will break down and leave less of a footprint on the environment. We've done the research on compostable trash bags and what real people who use them had to say about each product. Based on this information, we've curated a list of the nine best compostable trash bags this year. Our favourite is Bag to Nature's Compostable Kitchen Bags! Read to the end to check out our tip about how to stop your garbage from smelling, as well.
    Household goods
    50,529 views
  • Top 10 Best Hot Water Bottles in 2021 (Fashy, Peterpan, and More)
    Top 10 Best Hot Water Bottles in 2021 (Fashy, Peterpan, and More)
    From aches and pains to cramps and cold toes, sometimes it’s nice to have a little bit of extra heat for some quick relief. While hot water bottles might seem old fashioned, they’re simple, easy to use, and you don’t have to worry about accidentally starting a fire or tripping over cords as you do with electric heating pads.There aren’t too many options out there, but you still want to look for a product that is both high-quality and fits your needs. In this guide, we’ll go over the factors you should consider when choosing the right hot water bottle for you. We’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started on your search, including our favorite by HomeTop. Read on for more great options!
    Household goods
    12,595 views
  • Top 10 Best Non-Toxic Candles in 2021 (GoodLight, Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, and More)
    Top 10 Best Non-Toxic Candles in 2021 (GoodLight, Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, and More)
    Traditional candles–particularly the scented ones–can often leave you with a headache or your bookcase covered in soot. This is not exactly the relaxing environment you’re looking for. So we researched materials and pored through Amazon reviews and came to the conclusion that the best candles for you and your home are non-toxic and free from paraffin, phthalates, and lead. These candles are often soy- or beeswax-based and scented with all-natural essential oils. We kept all of this in mind as we hand-picked the best non-toxic candles on the market! Discover why Old Factory's Scented Candles were our favorite, and explore other options using our handy buying guide at the end. Also, check out our tip on how to best use your candle at the very bottom of this article!
    Household goods
    33,638 views
  • Top 10 Best Pencil Holders in 2021
    Top 10 Best Pencil Holders in 2021
    If you're a student, artist, or stationery collector, you may find that you have too many pens and pencils and your desk can easily become a mess. Why use a boring cup to hold them when you can get a multi-functional pencil holder with organizational features?That's why we've searched Amazon and found 10 pencil holders that reviewers love. Our top pick is the Desk Organizer from Marbrasse since it's very durable, has a large capacity, and has many slots for organization. For more of our selections, please read on! Also, check out our buying guide for some tips on how to choose the best pencil holder for you.
    Household goods
    567 views
  • Popular Expert Picks

    Search by Category