• 18 Best Tried and True Japanese Kitchen Sponges in 2022 (Marna, Lec, and More) 1
  • 18 Best Tried and True Japanese Kitchen Sponges in 2022 (Marna, Lec, and More) 2
  • 18 Best Tried and True Japanese Kitchen Sponges in 2022 (Marna, Lec, and More) 3
  • 18 Best Tried and True Japanese Kitchen Sponges in 2022 (Marna, Lec, and More) 4
  • 18 Best Tried and True Japanese Kitchen Sponges in 2022 (Marna, Lec, and More) 5

18 Best Tried and True Japanese Kitchen Sponges in 2022 (Marna, Lec, and More)

You may think you know sponges, but it's easy to choose the wrong one with so many on the market. mybest wants to prevent the heartache of buyer's remorse! Our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Rakuten, and Kakaku.com for the best kitchen sponges to scrub your dishes with available online. We then picked out the most popular products and tested them.

We focused on 5 things:


  1. How well does it wash dishes?
  2. Is it comfortable and efficient to use?
  3. Does it produce a good foam?
  4. Does the foam last, or do we need more soap?
  5. Is it well-made and durable?

We then ranked the products and put what we learned into a buying guide to help you choose the best Japanese kitchen sponges available online.

Featured in this article

mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 06-01-2022
Table of Contents

Compare the Best Japanese Kitchen Sponges

Image
1
Marna Fish Sponge 1

Marna

2
Asahi Kasei Water Only OK! Acrylic Sponge 1

Asahi Kasei

3
Marna POCO Kitchen Sponge 1

Marna

4
TopValu Scouring Pad Sponge 1

TopValu

5
Kamenoko-Tawashi Kitchen Sponge Do (Rectangular) 1

Kamenoko-Tawashi

6
Lec Gekiochi-kun Kitchen Sponge 1

Lec

7
Ohe Awa Qutto Soft Sponge 1

Ohe

8
Ohe Sheepy Sponge 1

Ohe

9
Kikuron Revo Soft 1

Kikuron

Name

Fish Sponge

Water Only OK! Acrylic Sponge

POCO Kitchen Sponge

Scouring Pad Sponge

Kitchen Sponge Do (Rectangular)

Gekiochi-kun Kitchen Sponge

Awa Qutto Soft Sponge

Sheepy Sponge

Revo Soft

Features

mybest's Top Choice! This Cute Fish Is Perfect For All Washing Needs!

Save Detergent and Get Dishes Sparkling Clean!

A Sponge Plus Suction Cup Holder Create a Hygienic Design

Excellent Performance for a Great Price

An Antibacterial Sponge with Great Foaming Power

Easy-to-use Shape and Good Durability

A Very Good Sponge...if Only it Cleaned a Bit Better

A Great Choice if You Change Your Sponges Frequently

It Washes Gently without the Need to Scrub

Price$2.32$1.34$4.00$0.90$10.40$0.92$0.65$1.13$1.01
Japaneseマーナおさかなスポンジ 旭化成ホームプロダクツ水だけでもOK! アクリルスポンジマーナPOCO キッチンスポンジトップバリュスポンジたわし亀の子束子西尾商店亀の子 キッチンスポンジ Do 角型レック激落ち スポンジ アクリル不織布オーエ泡キュット ソフトスポンジ オーエクリーンフレンズ キッチン スポンジ ひつじキクロンレボソフト
Washing powerAAA+A+CBCA+A
Foam formationAA+BBA+CACD
Foam durabilityA+BBAA+BABD
Ease of useA+A+A+BBA+ACB
DurabilityAAA+BAAADA
Overall gradeA+A+ABBBBBB
Link

18 Best Japanese Kitchen Sponges

We picked out some of the most popular products and tested them for how well they cleaned, how they were to use, how well they produced foam, how long the foam lasted, and durability. Then, based on our tests and with the advice of our experts, we ranked the top 18 Japanese kitchen sponges available online.

Japanese prices for some of the products are given, but they've been converted into US dollars to make it easy for you.

1
Japaneseマーナおさかなスポンジ
Washing powerA
Foam formationA
Foam durabilityA+
Ease of useA+
DurabilityA
Overall gradeA+
2

Asahi KaseiWater Only OK! Acrylic Sponge

$1.34

Japanese旭化成ホームプロダクツ水だけでもOK! アクリルスポンジ
Washing powerA
Foam formationA+
Foam durabilityB
Ease of useA+
DurabilityA
Overall gradeA+
3

MarnaPOCO Kitchen Sponge

$4.00

JapaneseマーナPOCO キッチンスポンジ
Washing powerA+
Foam formationB
Foam durabilityB
Ease of useA+
DurabilityA+
Overall gradeA
4
Japaneseトップバリュスポンジたわし
Washing powerA+
Foam formationB
Foam durabilityA
Ease of useB
DurabilityB
Overall gradeB
5

Kamenoko-TawashiKitchen Sponge Do (Rectangular)

$10.40

Japanese亀の子束子西尾商店亀の子 キッチンスポンジ Do 角型
Washing powerC
Foam formationA+
Foam durabilityA+
Ease of useB
DurabilityA
Overall gradeB
6

LecGekiochi-kun Kitchen Sponge

$0.92

Japaneseレック激落ち スポンジ アクリル不織布
Washing powerB
Foam formationC
Foam durabilityB
Ease of useA+
DurabilityA
Overall gradeB
7

OheAwa Qutto Soft Sponge

$0.65

Japaneseオーエ泡キュット ソフトスポンジ
Washing powerC
Foam formationA
Foam durabilityA
Ease of useA
DurabilityA
Overall gradeB
8

OheSheepy Sponge

$1.13

Japaneseオーエクリーンフレンズ キッチン スポンジ ひつじ
Washing powerA+
Foam formationC
Foam durabilityB
Ease of useC
DurabilityD
Overall gradeB
9
Japaneseキクロンレボソフト
Washing powerA
Foam formationD
Foam durabilityD
Ease of useB
DurabilityA
Overall gradeB

Products That Didn't Make the Cut

And why they didn't quite make it.

Products That Didn't Make the Cut

These no-frills, basic sponges from Daiso come in a 6-pack for only 100 yen  in Japan. They are not very durable - they'll discolor quickly and lose their shape easily, but if you want a disposable product, they do their job well for the price.

Products That Didn't Make the Cut

As you may be able to tell from the retro packaging, these Kikuron A sponges have been around for 50 years. However, they apparently haven't kept up with modern advances in spongy technology. 


The high-density urethane does tackle dirt well in curves, but these are just too big for most uses in the kitchen. They may be better for larger washing jobs, or choose the mini size.

Products That Didn't Make the Cut

Ohe's Awa Qutto Net Sponge is advertised as creating a dense foam, and that part is true. In fact, the foam was just about spilling out of our hands! But the net doesn't help it clean, and the food remained after scrubbing several times. The net also discolors and frays easily.

Products That Didn't Make the Cut

Muji's 3-layer Urethane Sponge is white, which matches Muji's design ethos, but is just not a good choice for sponges. As soon as you wash something with turmeric or tomatoes, it's gross-looking. Also, the outer layers are both coarse, and it didn't clean well as a result.

Products That Didn't Make the Cut

Dainichi Corporation's Sun-Sun Sponge foamed well, and it has a soft side and coarse scrubbie side. But both sides are too soft, and it didn't transmit power to the dish surface. We had to push too hard and it still didn't clean well, especially when washing smaller things.

Products That Didn't Make the Cut

This sponge from Duskin doesn't foam well. It has a coarse surface and a fine surface, but we don't see the difference in performance. It just doesn't clean well.

Products That Didn't Make the Cut

This sponge from Marna is has the catchphrase "You can get a lot of use out of this!" but we probably won't; at least, not for oily dishes. It spread oil around and never got plates clean. However, it can be folded and is very durable, and it's good at removing stubborn stains like from tea or coffee.

Products That Didn't Make the Cut

Asahi Kasei's 3D Zubizuba Sponge is a net-like cloth which is perfect for washing cups and lightly-soiled dishes quickly, but it doesn't work on oily grime. Dirt passes through the holes and your hands get sticky. If you like the feel of washing with a cloth, it could be good (but get a different one for scrubbing).

Products That Didn't Make the Cut

This sponge from Daiso is designed to stick to your sink, which would be a really cool idea if it worked. If you stick it when it's wet, it will slowly slide down to the bottom of the sink anyway. And it means there is only one side usable for scrubbing. In addition, the sticky side deteriorates and affects the function overall. This technology clearly needs more development...

How We Tested the Sponges

How We Tested the Sponges

We put each product through tests to determine the following:


  1. How well does it wash dishes?
  2. Is it comfortable and efficient to use?
  3. Does it produce a good foam?
  4. Does the foam last, or do we need more soap?
  5. Is it well-made and durable?

Test ① Did it Clean Dishes Well?

Test ① Did it Clean Dishes Well?

We started our testing by smearing Japanese curry on a flat white plate to replicate tough-to-wash, oily dishes. We counted how many times the sponge needed to wipe in order to remove all the food residue.

Soft Sponges Remove Oil and Grime Best

Soft Sponges Remove Oil and Grime Best

We found that soft materials with fine pores were better at removing all of the oil. Products that were rough or scratchy to the touch didn't work as well. Tiny holes absorbed the debris and removed it from the dishes thoroughly. 


But that doesn't mean that all coarse sponges are bad; when used in the right way, they will remove burnt or caked-on grime well.

Test ② Did it Make a Dense Foam?

Test ② Did it Make a Dense Foam?

For this test, we put two drops of dishwashing liquid on each sponge and squeezed it 20 times to make it foam. We judged how many times it took to get a good foam, and what the quality of the foam was.

Want a Good Foam? Choose a Thick Sponge

Want a Good Foam? Choose a Thick Sponge

We found that thicker sponges usually produced more foam. Sponges that were at least one inch thick were ideal. Those with large openings produced foam with loose bubbles, and smaller pores made tiny, dense bubbles.


We were surprised that the shape of the sponge seems to affect foaming, too. Sponges that were too large for our hands or had a shape that was difficult to hold didn't produce good foam. Also, if they were too hard, our hands got tired trying to use them.

Test ③ How Long Did the Bubbles Last?

Test ③ How Long Did the Bubbles Last?

After we checked how much foam the sponge could produce, we left the foam on the sponge for one minute and checked how much the foam density had changed. Then we tried to use the sponge again to see if it could still produce more bubbles. We wanted to know if we could save dish soap by using these products.

If it Produces a Good Foam, it Will Likely Last

If it Produces a Good Foam, it Will Likely Last

We found that products which had produced a good foam in the first place also had a long-lasting foam. In other words, the more bubbles the sponge could produce the longer it took for the bubbles in the soap to disappear. 


The key seems to be the size of the holes in the material. Even with sponges that had a coarse texture on the outside, if one of the layers was a fine mesh, it was able to produce good results.

Test ④ Could it Be Used Comfortably on a Variety of Dishes?

Test ④ Could it Be Used Comfortably on a Variety of Dishes?

We wanted to know if the sponges would be good for everything from large plates to silverware. Could it get the edge of plates or glasses well? If it had a special function or feature, we tested that to see if it was actually worth it.

Sponges that Put a Lot of Thought into Design Really Work!

Sponges that Put a Lot of Thought into Design Really Work!

We found the products which had invested money in design were usually good at what they were designed for. Certain features made it very useful to clean small tableware and get into corners. 


We wondered at first whether the cute designs of some of the products actually served any function. But, in general, they did work better than the standard rectangular kitchen sponges. The protrusions and depressions could fit into the unevenness and gaps of certain dishes.


When it came to regularly-shaped sponges, the thinner ones could bend more easily to fit in more areas and around edges; but this meant that they were not as durable. The thick ones are more durable, and if they can bend easily, they're a good choice.

Test ⑤ Durability

Test ⑤ Durability

Speaking of durability, that was our final test. We wanted to check if there is any part that was likely to fray, lose its shape, or discolor easily.

Material, Price, and Color are Key Factors

Material, Price, and Color are Key Factors

We found the price and material made a big difference as far as durability. We also found the importance of choosing the right color to avoid having a stained sponge.


Products with a net generally didn't score high in this category. When used to wash sharp things such as graters or chopsticks, the net gets caught, frays, and eventually becomes useless. They don't hold up under intense scrubbing.


Urethane products tended to be more durable, but the cheaper ones were more likely to lose their shape. If a long-lasting product is important for you, we recommend spending a little more money and getting a dark color so that you won't have to replace your sponges so often.

How to Choose a Kitchen Sponge - Buying Guide

We recommend considering the following points when buying a sponge for washing dishes.

Choose the Right Material

Different materials will accomplish different things, so it's important to consider what kind of washing you require when choosing a sponge.

Urethane Foam Sponges for Maximum Foam

Urethane Foam Sponges for Maximum Foam

Urethane foam sponges are resilient and flexible. They are usually made of different layers, one that has small holes, and another with coarser material. The finer material will produce a good foam, while the other adds strength.

Cellulose Sponges are Great for Utensils, Counters, and the Environment

Cellulose Sponges are Great for Utensils, Counters, and the Environment

Cellulose sponges are soft and absorb a large amount of water. They're recommended for washing delicate dishes and wiping tables and counters. They don't produce quite as much foam as the urethane sponges, but they'll get the job done. 


One advantage is that they are made of fibers derived from pulp and natural materials, so they don't produce toxic gas when burned in a garbage incinerator, making them a bit more environmentally friendly.

Scouring Pads for Tough Messes and Stains

Scouring Pads for Tough Messes and Stains

Both kinds of sponges often come with a scouring side made from non-woven fabric. Some contain abrasives for removing caked-on grime, while others are soft enough to tackle tough dirt without scratching delicate surfaces.

Microfiber Cloths Save on Soap

Microfiber Cloths Save on Soap

Microfiber cloths can wash delicate dishes while using very little soap. We didn't evaluate them this time, but they are good if you want to save on detergent. However, some have a disadvantage of themselves getting dirty and stained easily, and there not very durable because they're made from such extra fine fibers.

Washing Nets Vary by Material

Washing Nets Vary by Material

Some sponges are more like nets and are made of polyester, acrylic, nylon or aluminized polyester. The nylon ones are good at foaming, and acrylic types can remove dirt using just water. Polyester and aluminized polyester are very effective at removing tough grime. They are all the same in that they have a bumpy surface, so make sure you rinse them thoroughly to keep them clean.

Choose a Sponge That's Versatile

Choose a Sponge That's Versatile

Think of all the thing you need to wash daily: plates, bowls, glasses, mugs, silverware, plastic containers, pots and pans... now imagine what kind of sponge would be best for most of them!


Sponges with moderate elasticity are great for things with curves and irregular shapes. Abrasive products are needed for removing stains on mugs and teapots or scrubbing off burnt food (hey, it happens to all of us). 


Some even have features that allow them to stick or hang on the sink for convenient storage. You also want something that drains water and dries quickly.

Think about How Long You Want to Keep it

Think about How Long You Want to Keep it

Under normal usage, you should probably plan on changing your sponge at least once a month. You may want to buy something cheap knowing that it doesn't last very long if that suits your hygienic needs. 


But, if you don't want to replace them often, check our durability ratings and be prepared to spend a little more in general. However, you'll save money and be a bit more eco-friendly in the long run because you won't be using up so many non-recyclable products.

Looking for More Great Kitchen Items? Check out These Related Links!

You'll probably need more than sponges to keep your kitchen clean and fresh, or maybe you've got more eco-friendly plans in mind. Here are some other options to consider.

Author: Nao Kondo/Translation: Susan Lucier-Ogawa/Photos: Taisei Hoshino, Koichi Miura

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    Are your kitchen knives as sharp as they should be? Do you want your Japanese knives to cut as sharp as they once did? Do you need a knife sharpener that can sharpen your hagane steel knife? If your answer is "Maybe?" then you probably need to invest in a Japanese knife sharpener! Japanese knife sharpeners come in different shapes and types, including manual and electric. However, with so many brands, like Kai Corporation, Yoshida Metal Industries, and Daiso, all offering different types of sharpeners it can be difficult to decide on a Japanese knife sharpener that truly makes your knives sharp.To figure out the best Japanese knife sharpener, we gathered the 32 best-selling Japanese knife sharpeners on e-commerce sites popular in Japan, such as Amazon, Rakuten, and Yahoo! Shopping, and tested them all.We tested each product for the following:How well it sharpens our knivesHow easy is it to useHow easy it is to storeWe then ranked the 10 best Japanese knife sharpeners in 2022 based on our tests. We also put together a buying guide to help you choose the best Japanese knife sharpeners for you.
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  • 10 Best Canning Funnels in 2022 (Chef-Reviewed)
    10 Best Canning Funnels in 2022 (Chef-Reviewed)
    Home canning is a fun and safe way of preserving your favorite foods to enjoy all year round. However, it can be really messy as you pour liquids from a pot into a jar. If you're tired of cleaning up all the spills and splatters, use a canning funnel. With it, you can transfer ingredients quickly and totally mess-free! Canning funnels can be made of different materials like stainless steel, plastic, and silicone and are available in different sizes. Therefore, choosing one that meets your needs might not be an easy task. To aid you with your search, we've compiled a list of the 10 best canning funnels available online. Küchenprofi's Stainless Steel Funnel With Filter ranked first on our list as it's durable and comes with a strainer to help you filter out ingredients easily. For more options, keep reading our list of favorites! And if you need some tips in choosing a canning funnel, take a look at our buying guide reviewed by a professional chef at the end. 
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  • 10 Best Whiskey Glasses in 2022 (Whiskey Expert-Reviewed)
    10 Best Whiskey Glasses in 2022 (Whiskey Expert-Reviewed)
    Are you a whiskey connoisseur that's looking for the best way to enjoy your favorite drink? Or are you a casual drinker that doesn't know which style of glass is best? Whether you drink it neat, on the rocks, or with a mixer, there is a whiskey glass that caters to you. However, choosing the best whiskey glass can be confusing considering the number of styles available. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you and picked the Double Old Fashioned by Marquis by Waterford as our favorite whiskey glasses. They're heavy, stylish, and come in a neat presentation box. We’ve also chosen out 10 best glasses for you to consider and created a handy buying guide to help you make your choice!
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