Home Cleaning Tools 10 Eco Friendly Sponge Alternatives for Zero Waste Cleaning

10 Eco Friendly Sponge Alternatives for Zero Waste Cleaning

by Helen
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The Best Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Sponges

Those who have used disposable sponges to wash dishes and clean kitchen or bathroom surfaces know they don't last long except not to “forget” to toss them out often.  Regularly replacing disposable sponges is less than practical for people trying to live a more zero-waste lifestyle.  National Library of Medicine article abstract “…..adds that disposable sponges can also Raman imaging is able to reliably capture and visualize microplastics and nanoplastics released from both sides of the dish sponge, including a plastic-surrounding-sand composite structure.”  In this article, we will discuss some of the best eco friendly sponge alternatives.   

Suppose you're looking for an alternative to disposable sponges in your kitchen For sustainability.  There are many options to consider in that case, but the best eco-friendly alternatives to sponges should be made with natural biodegradable materials – not plastics.  They should last longer than your typical Scotch-Brites so that you will replace them less frequently.  We've done some research to help you find a suitable eco-friendly sponge alternative.  The 12 products we wrote about in this article take many types, from cloths to sponges to scrubbers.  Not only will your dishes or surfaces be clean and fresh, but it will also make you one step closer to a zero waste kitchen.

A great way to clean my home without using any harsh chemicals! It's a simple recipe of vinegar and baking soda. Not only is it effective, but it's also eco-friendly and budget-friendly. 

Best Eco-Friendly Cloth Alternatives To Sponges

Best Overall Eco-Friendly Cloth

Sponge Alternative

DII Swedish Dishcloths

$8 now $6.40

We are replacing disposable sponges in our homes with products like Swedish dishcloths. It's a very eco-friendly alternative since they are made with wood pulp and absorbent cellulose rather than of plastic. We love that they're made with natural cotton and cellulose materials and are biodegradable and compostable once used. However, if you prefer to avoid buying a three-pack, we like the Swedish dishcloths from Marley's Monsters, which are sold individually, and you can machine wash in warm water with like colors, tumble dry low, or air dry. Since Swedish dishcloths dry quickly, there is less time for bacteria and odors to accumulate. They can serve a dual purpose. In addition to using them to wash your dishes, you can even use Swedish dishcloths as “unpaper towels.”

Best Recycled-Cotton Cloth

Skoy Scrub

Skoy Scrub, Non-Scratching, Reusable Scrub for Kitchen and Household Use

$6.99 FOR 2

Be sure to add these Skoy Scrub scrubbing pads to your arsenal of eco-friendly alternatives to sponges. It also includes these more textured scrubbing cloths that are much more indestructible. The scrubbing cloths are made from remnants of fibers from the toweling industry, cotton, and a food-grade, non-toxic hardener that outlasts traditional scrubbers. If these fibers were not reused, they would have ended up in landfills. They last longer than your standard scrubbing cloth, and you can wash them in the top rack of your dishwasher. Like Swedish dishcloths, they come in assorted colors & designs. The colorful and trendy Skoy Scrubs add fun and function to the kitchen. The Skoy Dish Scrub is safe for surfaces such as non-stick pans, ceramic, glass, and cooktops. These reusable scrubs are not limited to the kitchen and work well on most surfaces.

Best Cotton Cloth

Full CIrcle Cotton Dish Clothes

Full Circle Tidy Organic Cotton Dish Cloths

$10 for 3

While products made with recycled materials may be more eco-friendly than those that are made with new materials, a dishcloth made of cotton is less wasteful than a disposable sponge. Cotton dishcloths like these provide countless benefits over sponges — specifically their shape. Unlike sponges, you can bunch up and use a dishcloth to fit inside a glass cup. Or you can spread it to wash the edges of larger pots or bowls. Additionally, dishcloths made from cotton, new or recycled, you can wash and dry to be reused for a long time.

Best Eco-Friendly Sponge Alternatives To Sponges

Best Overall Eco-Friendly Sponge

Eco Friendly Sponge

Dual-Sided Eco-Sponge – Walnut Scrubber Sponge  4-Pack

WAS $6.95 for $4.95 FOR 4

If you're looking for something more of a 1:1 swap, eco-friendly sponges are more like their disposable counterparts in shape and functionality but are made sustainably and eco-friendly. We highly recommend these Eco Sponges that, more like many of the disposable sponges, are two sided: One of thside is made from upcycled fair-trade coffee sacks while the other is from cotton. One side of this sponge is made of cellulose, an all-natural wood product. 

Use this side to soak up spills, wipe down counters, and clean dishes. The opposite side is coarse and made out of the sustainable loofah plant. The loofah side is used for hard scrubbing and hard-to-clean surfaces on pans and dried food. Reusable sponges are easy to clean. Just toss them in the dishwasher or washing machine; their materials are biodegradable. Making them even more eco-friendly is the fact that they're compostable. Once you have used them up, toss them into your compost bin.

Best - Slightly Larger - Fabric Sponge

Eco Friendly Sponge

Marley's Monsters Washable Sponge


A great alternative to the traditional disposable sponge is a washable, reusable sponge made from 100% cotton chenille fabric filled with 1″ thick, mildew-resistant, washable, hypoallergenic foam made from recycled materials. It is a perfect addition to a zero waste home.

We find many of our favorites on Etsy, like these by Marley's Monsters. The sponge is slightly larger than your average sponge. Each has a cotton-terry backing on one side and a polyester mesh-covered cotton flannel scrubber on the other. Cleaning, reusing, and tossing in the dishwasher or washing machine is easy.

Best Eco-Friendly Scrubber Alternatives To Sponges

Best Overall Eco-Friendly Scrubber

Sponge Alternative

Biodegradable Coconut Kitchen Scourers- 5 Pack, Zero Waste Dish Scrubber

$7.99 now $5.59 There is a handful of super-textured, eco-friendly scrubbers you can rely on for heavy-duty cleaning. The best scrubbers I recommend are made with natural coconut coir or fibers. This reusable favorite scrubber from Zero Waste Store is also made with organic tree-rubber latex, resulting in a food-compostable, biodegradable, and non-toxic product.

Best Coconut-Coir Scrubber With A Handle

Sponge Alternative

Bürstenhaus Redecker Large Dish Brush With Hard Bristles, 10″


The scrubber with a wooden handle and head made from coconut fibers is an excellent addition to your eco friendly kitchen arsenal. You will never want to go back to a plastic dish brush — or another eco-option. Coconut husks are known to be a natural antibiotic. Therefore, products made with them will not get moldy or smelly. According to the retailer, the scrubber should be best hand washed and air-dried.

Best - Less-Expensive - Plant-Fiber Scrubber With A Handle

Eco Friendly Sponge

Full Circle Scrub Brush With Dish


It's made of a sustainable bamboo brush with recycled plastic bristles and is gentle on dishes and the environment. The sturdy ceramic base features a platform spring that makes foam when the brush is dipped. The dish doubles as a sanitary repository base between uses. The ergonomic bamboo handle is coated with natural oil to prevent water damage. Also, replacement brushes are available.

Best Japanese Plant-Fiber Scrubber

Eco Friendly Sponge

Kamenoko Tawashi Vegetable Scrub Brush (Set of 3)


At first glance, these Japanese plant-based scrubbers' little brown fibers look like they'll injure your hands more than your pots. Those fibers, made of hemp palm, will soften under water enough for you to get comfy. These remove any grime you'll encounter on any surface and clean easily. All of these features make tawashi one of the common household items in Japan.

Best Bamboo Scrubber

Eco Friendly Scrubber

Bamboo Pot Scraper


While these pot scrapers lack the bristly texture of the other scrubbers, bamboo pot scrapers are vital tools in every kitchen.  The Bamboo pot scraper is hand-crafted from USDA-certified organic bamboo.  These pot scrapers have a slightly different shape in each corner to get into various hard-to-reach spots.  They are made entirely of bamboo, a renewable source that removes stuck-on food from pans or other surfaces.  Not only do they work effectively, but they also will not damage dishes.  Once a scraper has worn out, just put it in your compost bin.

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