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Best sponges for cleaning: 7 eco-friendly options

Swap your old plastic sponge for one of these hard-wearing yet sustainable options.

Compilation of cleaning sponges on a blue and pink background
Published: August 30, 2022 at 11:13 am

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Plastic sponges have been part of our lives for so long, most of us don’t stop to consider them. But many of the ones in our homes are ineffective, unsustainable and - let’s face it - fairly ugly. According to Seep, the UK throws away 600 million of them every year, which is a lot of waste going to landfill.

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Happily, there are many more sustainable options around now, and they’re easy to find online. While old-style sponges are made with virgin plastic - and packaged in yet more of the stuff - our favourites are all made with plant cellulose like wood pulp, flax and cotton.

These are the best sponges for cleaning on the market.

Find more tips on sustainable living in our guides to the best refillable cleaning products, eco kettles and eco kitchen ideas.

The best sponges for cleaning

SEEP Eco Sponges

SEEP Eco Sponges on a blue and pink background

Seep is the brand behind some of the best sponges for cleaning, and doesn’t use any plastic. These ones are a perfect replacement for the ubiquitous yellow and green sponges, as they have hard-wearing scourers on top to remove stubborn food residue without damaging non-stick pans.

The sponges are made from wood pulp, so they’re 100% biodegradable and you can compost them when they’ve come to the end of their life. Plus, they’ll arrive in FSC-approved, recyclable packaging to minimise waste.

Compostable 'Pop Up' Sponges

Compostable 'Pop Up' Sponges on a blue and pink background

If you fancy trying something new, why not go for some ‘pop-up’ sponges? These innovative products expand to their full size when put into water.

They take up 90% less space than they otherwise would in your cupboards and in delivery vehicles, which significantly reduces their carbon footprint.

They’re also home compostable and arrive in recycled and recyclable packaging. Plus, the brand plants one tree for each order made.

In this pack, you’ll get 10 durable, non-scratch sponges: five in green and five in blue.

Mr Eco Non-Scratch Fibre and Cellulose Sponges

Mr Eco Non-Scratch Fibre and Cellulose Sponges on a blue and pink background

Many of the best sponges for cleaning have two sides, for absorbing soapy water and scrubbing tough residue. This one from Mr Eco backs plant-based cellulose with a durable layer of recycled sisal and PET.

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While you can use this sponge for scrubbing the dishes, it won’t scratch any delicate surfaces, so it’s a versatile everyday option. It’s also highly practical, as you can throw it in the washing machine for a 60°C cycle.

As you’d expect, Mr Eco’s cellulose sponge is also 100% biodegradable.

Squeeze Eco Friendly Sponge

Squeeze Eco Friendly Sponges on a blue and pink background

These sweet sponges take a different direction to many others on the market. But despite their colourful appearance, they’re made with eco-friendly cellulose and contain only plant-based materials. In short, they’re fully compostable.

The makers create all of their sponges by hand, and you can add them to your regular laundry load when they’re in need of a clean.

Compostable Cellulose Household & Car Wash Sponge

Compostable Cellulose Household & Car Wash Sponge on a blue and pink background

For cleaning your car or other large items around the home, you need a big sponge. While this one is made from cotton, wood pulp and flax, it’s actually more absorbent than sponges you get in the supermarket. Plus, it’s made without petrochemical compounds and doesn’t drop microplastics.

Of course, this handy sponge is completely biodegradable, so just add it to your home compost bin when it reaches the end of its life.

Eco Vegetable Cellulose Sponges

Eco Double Action Vegetable Cellulose Sponge on a pink and blue background

Dunelm sells some of the best sponges for cleaning, and they're perfect for anyone on a budget; these ones come in at under a fiver. They’re also 100% biodegradable, made with plant-based cellulose and recycled sisal and PET.

Choose between the soft sponge or the double-sided scrubber, which you can use for stubborn marks. Just throw them in the dishwasher or washing machine on a low heat to give them a refresh.

Scrubbies Unsponges Washing Up Cleaning Pads

Scrubbies Unsponges Washing Up Cleaning Pads on a pink and blue background

If any sponges are going to cheer up your sink area, it’s Scrubbies. They’re made with different materials from many other sustainable sponges on the market, with an antibacterial bamboo lining for odour reduction and a hessian backing for extra ‘scrubbiness’.

The brand focuses on the small details, adding biodegradable cotton thread rather than polyester, and colouring the sponges with eco-friendly dyes.

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Every single Scrubbies sponge is handmade, and you can request specific patterns if you have a preference.

Authors

Alice TufferyDigital Writer

Alice is a digital writer with a knack for tracking down the most innovative and exciting products to hit the market. Working across several of Our Media's special interest brands, she's written for publications including Countryfile, Gardens Illustrated and Science Focus. Outside of work - and lusting over homeware and gardening products - you’ll find her rambling in the great outdoors or watching an old film.

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