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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sponge or Rag? Sponge, of COURSE.

I grew up in a dishrag family.  Then I married someone who preferred sponges.  I was grossed out at first, but I gave it a try…now I’m hooked.  To Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty sponges, to be exact.  And dishrags gross me out.

Rarely does my happy food blog inspire controversery…but I do like to shake it up every once in a while.  Are you a sponge person or do you prefer to use those floppy, yucky dishrags?  Put up your dukes!  It’s time to defend to the death!

Let’s be honest, rags and sponges are both pretty gross…but you’re still not going to get me to touch your dirty dishrag. 😉


  1. 1

    I throw my dishrags in the clotheswasher. What do you do with your sponges? Autoclave?

  2. 2

    Sponges! After reading about it in Real Simple, I send my sponges through the dishwasher a couple of times before I toss them. And by the way, I was literally just getting ready to do a sponge-type post on my own blog””so funny!

  3. 3

    i am totally a sponge girl! dishrags smell nasty after just a few days and even when you wash them, they smell nasty the minute they get wet again….
    sponges are great cause you can toss them out when they barely start to get nasty

  4. 4

    hahaha! I go back and forth between both. I have gotten better about using a new dishrag everyday and then it’s not so gross and cheaper than buying sponges. Sponges gross me out after a few uses – just sitting there.

  5. I use sponges to wash dishes and rags to clean the counter and stove and such. I wash the rag after one day of use. The sponge I replace every couple of weeks. When I had a dishwasher I threw my sponge in the dishwasher almost every day.

  6. well, this is sure to inspire some controversy…neither. They both gross me out. I use paper towels. I at least try to help the Earth by buying recycled paper paper towels. On occasion I use a rag, but it’s more for wiping up non-smelly messes.

  7. 7

    i am a dishrag user, but I only use it for one day. if i bought sponges, i’d go broke, I’d feel like i had to toss one every day.

  8. 8

    Sponge. I’ll defend you on this one Jane, but don’t even go back to ice in milk. 🙂 I found a certain generic brand at WalMart that does not smell. Ever. It is awesome. I still switch my sponge out often, just to be safe, but I have never, in all the months I have been using them, had one smell. Oh, and to be completely honest, I use baby wipes often to clean tables and cupboards.

  9. 9

    There’s an EASY solution to eliminating the smell, whether it’s on your dishrag or sponge. (I happen to use both, by the way!) When your sink is grungy or your rag/sponge is stinky (either one!) get out Soft Scrub with bleach and give your sink a good scrub. Then throw the rag in the washer or sponge in the dishwasher and your stinky problem is SOLVED!

  10. if we’re talking about for cleaning dishes I use one of those scrub brushes like this

    every time I run the dishwasher, I put them in. I have 2 one for dishes and one for cleaning out the sink.

  11. 11

    Both. Sponge for dishes (I can’t stand all the flopping around and splashing of water with the dishrag) and a dishrag for cleaning countertops, etc. Sponges go in the dishwasher every night and the dishrag goes in the laundry. As for smell in the dishrag, since I trade out daily, I don’t have a problem with it. When I forget or am not home and end up with a smelly rag, a vinegar rinse in the washing machine before the laundry soap cycle takes care of it.

  12. For dish washing I use a dish brush and for countertops and spills I use rags, which I go through at least 1 per day. I just have a bunch and throw them in with whatever else I am washing. No smells, and I don’t keep them long enough to introduce cross-contamination.

  13. Sponges. all. the. time.

  14. 14

    neither. I use scrubbies which I handmake (crochet using mesh netting bought at the craft store). I can make over 12 scrubbies for around $2 which is more affordable then sponges or dishrags. 1 scrubbies lasts me 1 month or depending on what’s for dinner that month. When it starts to smell or feel worn out, i throw it out and use a new scrubby.

  15. Like the Scrubbie idea, Lana. Could you post a pic or a pattern?

  16. 16

    I just by the green scrubby part without the sponge. They serve me very well…and I use dish rags, but gotta change them daily…or more often. It’s hard to keep them unstained.

  17. 17

    We use the sponge that has a soap thing on it…a big long tube, for washing the dishes that we don’t put in the dishwasher. For wiping counters we use a rag, BUT we clean them VERY often. I am very grossed out by rags/germs so I make sure they are clean!

  18. 18
    Jane Maynard

    I love how this is bringing out the OCDers out there…including me! 🙂 and I’m surprised the dishrag people aren’t speaking up more strongly against sponges…

    I’m loving your comments, everyone. you’ve got some good techniques out there! keep the comments coming…

  19. 19
    Jane Maynard

    lana…crocheting your own scrubbies? I’m impressed! please do share a pattern or picture if you can…looks like other readers are intrigued and would like to try it themselves. 🙂

  20. 20

    Sponges! Pop your sponge in the microwave for one minute to kill germs! Not sure if you can do that with your ScothBrites because of the cleaning pad. Sponges or dishrags … both are gross!!

    • Natasha

      I read that in order to kill the germs in a sponge it must be microwaved for 2 minutes. I myself prefer brushes to clean my dishes.

  21. 21

    Both- I use my dishrags for counter spills and wiping down the table after my messy toddler. I use the sponges for cleaning individual dishes when I need them in a rush. I use scrubbies more than those though- they can tackle dish gunk better than anything else.

  22. 22

    Scotchbrites from Costco!!!!!! Can’t live without them.

  23. Ew- sponges and dishrags are both icky. Paper towels for counters, Ikea scrub brushes for dishwashing. 50 cents a pop for a scrub brush that lasts months. And I run the brush through the dishwasher to disinfect.

  24. 24
    Tammy Blais

    I also use a dish brush for all that I can and when I need to wipe down the counters I use a dish rag. When I’m done, I rinse it really well with hot water and soap and either hang it between the two sinks or throw it in the wash. I’m way to grossed out by sponges. I just imagine all the little things crawling around in there. yuck.

  25. 25

    I grew up in a dishrag house too, and now I hate them! So gross, they always smell. I own them, but never use them. My mom came to stay when I had my baby-and she started using them. I should toss them before she comes again. Sponges run thru the dw, or, really I like paper towels the best.

  26. 26

    We’re dishrag users here, only I don’t let them sit around long enough to get nasty. I have a ton of them and use probably several a day. I start out with one for the counters or dishes or whatever I’m washing and once it hits the floor (inevitable since I have three kids “helping” me) or touches the dirty sink or something equally gross, I toss it in the washer and grab a new one. It sometimes adds up to an extra load of laundry but at least I don’t have to wash my kitchen with a stinky anything.

  27. I’m in the “both gross me out” category. I use an OXO brush for dishes and wipe down my counters with spray and paper towels. I also use the brush to scrub my sink and clean it by running it through the dishwasher in the silverware compartment. I do use sponges to clean my bathroom, though, and wash them in the washing machine afterward.

  28. 28
    Liz B

    Kind of funny, but I came from a dishrag home and my husband prefers sponges. We use both. Because I cannot stand how smelly sponges are even after running them through the dishwasher and/or the clotheswasher. I change my dishrags almost daily, so odor and cleanliness is not an issue.

  29. 29

    I also use a sponge to wash dishes and a rag to wash the table ans such. I also change my rag each day, for smelliness reasons and if I don’t feel like getting a rag out I just use my sponge I really don’t care either way. They are both dirty and gross anyway.

  30. 30
    Judy S

    I use natural sea sponges for cleaning and bathing. The yellow and grass sponges are amazing at getting dirt and easily gets lime of tub walls and tile. Something I learned a long time ago is that those square kitchen sponges are dipped in the pesticide tryclosan (yuck poison!). Sea sponges contain natural enzymes that slows the growth of bacteria naturally. They last me 3-6 months and I disinfect them in a Vinegar or Hydrogen Peroxide solution. Try one, you will be glad you did, I usually get the sea sponge sampler packs at the Natural Bath & Body Shop

  31. 31
    Jane Maynard

    cool info, judy – thanks!!

  32. 32
    Juli C

    Both! I just have to have that scrubby part on the back of the blue sponges for the pots and pans. I microwave the sponges for 1 minute every other day or so and always squeeze them out well and let them air dry. I have my water heater set at scalding (no little children in my home)just for that extra germ killing factor, I use rubber gloves all the time and I buy white dishrags (the ones with the little colored fabric hook on them, which is colorfast) at Ikea and I bleach the heck out them when I wash them. No bad smells or OCD here. LOL…

  33. 33
    Nancy Deininger

    definitely a sponge – a scotch bright sponge – I throw it in the dishwasher every time I run it. Dish clothes have always been a yuck factor with the smell – even after they are washed!

  34. 34

    Sponges are so unsanitary! If you change your dishrag every day, and wash it with hot water and bleach, then smell is never an issue and it’s so much cleaner than a sponge. Whenever I see sponges at people’s houses, I think about how long it might have been there and what bacteria might be on it – so gross! Dishrags are so much easier to keep clean.

  35. 35

    Ew!! I’m surprised so many people CHOOSE sponges! THe point is, to keep your dishrags rinsed out. And change them (wash in washing machine, add vinegar or baking soda or Oxiclean or even bleach if that’s your thing) OFTEN.
    But sponges, you just can’t rinse out as well, that’s why they are gross. And you can’t really hang them up to dry. Ew ew ew!!!
    AND, you get less surface area with them so you have to work twice as hard! Bring on the rags (and keep them clean please!)

  36. 36

    I can’t see how running a sponge through the dishwasher gets it clean….

  37. 37

    I sorta figure the same way dishes come out clean.

  38. 38

    Sponges for sure! My mom always used dish rags growing up. She would change then often, daily if needed. They didn’t gross me out then and still don’t today but I hate washing dishes with them! I don’t have a dishwasher so using the scrubby side of the sponge helps with the hard stuff. When we had a microwave we would throw the sponge in for a minute or two…gets it so hot you can barely touch it for awhile. Since we got rid of the micro, I change our sponge quite often. Truth be told, sponges gross me out, mainly when I’m at someones house and you can tell they haven’t changed theirs for months. YUCK!

  39. 39

    I use a brush for the dishes and sponges and paper towels for the counters. I run the brush and sponge throught the dishwasher and then put the sponge in the microwave for 1 minute and then let dry. An easy way to clean the microwave, spray with cleaner and put a pyrex (1 cup) of water and turn on for 1 min, 30 sec. Wipe down with paper towels.

  40. 40
    Jane Maynard

    oh man, lovin’ it! cannot believe how many comments there are. I just KNEW this would be a good topic. 😉

  41. 41

    definitely dish rag because it is more sustainable… I like things that I can reuse and reuse and reuse for a very long time

  42. that is so gross! I would never touch my dishes with either! I use a scrub brush that dispenses soap. I am a dental hygienist and I can tell you that the bacteria that is breeding in a sponge should never touch your dishes – ew! or a rag for that matter. I don’t even use the sponge on the counter – I use those cleaning wipe things. Sponges are used for the floor or bathroom or some other dirty thing that can handle not having to be sanitized. Rags are used for drying things (like wet dishes or hands) and get washed very very very frequently.

    I love controversial blog topics! way to go!

  43. 43

    With some interest about my homemade scrubbies, I have put a tutorial about them on my blog. Hope it inspires you all to make your own.

  44. 44

    I use paper towels for just about everything and a scour pad for scrubbing when needed and they get replaced often.

  45. 45

    Have you ever thought of using a ‘clean’ dishrag!!! Dirty sponge – dirty dishrag – don’t want to touch either one….

  46. 46

    Honestly I’m both. A hearty dose of oxygen bleach in the washer on HOTT usually keeps that dirty dishrag smell away….and if you zap your wet sponge in the microwave on high 1 min everyday that keeps the buggies away too (thank you Martha!). Mostly I prefer paper towels…..I try not to though because I know its wasteful!

  47. 47

    I grew up with dishrags and I still refuse to use them. My mom gets really annoyed when she’s visiting and I don’t have a disrag in sight. She’s even gone and bought me some so she’ll have them to use when she visits.

    I was never a big sponge lover either until I discovered the purple sponges… I think they are made by Scotch Brite, I buy them at Target, and they have a fabric side and a scrubber side. Not your typical sponge and they clean up really nicely. I even throw them in the wash to get them really clean.

  48. 48

    For dishes, I use a scrub brush, a soap-dispensing scrub brush, and a regular sponge on occasion. Disinfectant wipes only on the countertops.

    I’ve been considering these wash rags from Trader Joe’s: Has anyone used them?

  49. 49
    Liz Cook

    If you want to sanitize your scrubby, get it wet and put it in the microwave for 45 secs to a minutes. It kills any bacteria inside so you can use it longer. After my srubby gets well used, I save it for good scrubbing in the bathroom or those hard to clean areas around the house. Once used there, I throw them away!

  50. 50

    SCRUB BRUSHES (that get dishwashed frequently) on the dishes, dishrags for countertops and drying things that come out of the dishwasher still wet.

    As far as SMELLY rags go, never had that problem – I bleach them every wash and they are always perfectly clean & smell free.

  51. 51

    Trader Joe’s microfiber cloths for the counters, table and stove, TJ’s flat sponges for scrubbing the sink, (both get rinsed and air-dried several times daily, and put in microwave daily for 2 minutes to disinfect between launderings. Oh, and I have always used a star dish “puff” from rubbermaid for washing dishes. It has to be rinsed out, and air dried often to not look gross.

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