Ah the old yellow kitchen sponge. You’ve had one in your kitchen so long you don’t really even see it anymore. Well, it’s time to see it anew, and to see it out the door. Simply put, in the showdown of Dishcloth vs Sponge, Dishcloth wins. Hands down. But if you are like Elaine from Seinfeld and your heartfelt allegiances still lie with the sponge — oh wait that was a totally different kind of sponge — um… nevertheless, here are 5 big reasons why you should look to a dishcloth for your kitcheny needs.
1. Sponges Are Dirty
Go on, just google “kitchen sponge bacteria” and you will see right away things like “200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat,” “number 1 source of germs in the house,” and the lovely “why do kitchen sponges smell so bad?” So germ-wise, we’re talking about 10 million bacteria per square inch of a kitchen sponge and about one million per square inch on a dishcloth. Also when searching for this bacteria information, you will find there are several ways to clean a sponge in lieu of throwing it away. But these methods of microwaving, boiling, or running them through the dishwasher all yield rather limp results and can damage the integrity of the sponge’s chemical makeup. The dishcloth, on the other hand, does not have the cavernous moist spaces that the sponge does. So it simply can’t compete with a sponge as long-term housing for germs. Additionally, a dishcloth can be easily hand washed or laundered regularly with the rest of your clothes. Personally, I’m a fan of hand washing and hanging mine outside in the sun. Since you can wash a dishcloth effectively, it wins this germ battle with no question. Dishcloth 1, Sponge 0.
2. Sponges Are Made of Nasty Chemicals
Synthetic sponges are made of foamed plastic polymers, low-density polyether, or polyester. We all know at this point, that it’s hard for the consumer to know when a plastic product is leaching or off-gassing. We can also pretty much assume that the production of plastic polymers will create and or release some kind of toxic nasties into the air and water (and the people making them) and the disposal of them will do the same. So why are you buying these things and rubbing them all over your kitchen again? On the contrary, you can find or make a dishcloth out of natural fibers that don’t have this kind of toxic baggage. Dishcloth 2, Sponge 0.
3. Sponges are Boring and Ugly
Compared to the hard facts about bacteria in Reason #1, this reason might not seem like a “real” reason to you. But consider this: you have this thing sitting on your kitchen counter all the time. Why should it be plain yellow with stains on it and chunks missing? My husband and I have this crazy notion that the things we use all the time shouldn’t suck. So why not have a happy little dishcloth that makes you smile every time you wash a dish or wipe the counter? Knit your own to match your kitchen colors or find something cute that someone else made with love. You can support a local artist and have a little happiness next to your kitchen sink. Can a sponge do that? Nope. Dishcloth 3, Sponge 0.
And now for my absolute favorite reason…
4. Sponges are Designed to be Disposable
It seems really silly to me to buy, use, and throw away things that don’t need to be disposable. Even if you weren’t throwing away your sponge each month, as Dr. Oz recommends, lots of sponges fall apart under regular use (and I mean not even boiling or microwaving them as suggested by some folks as a cleaning method). Even if you are good about making sure your sponges dry completely between uses to reduce germ growth, synthetic fibers will dry rot and crumble. These things were just not designed to last forever. Why do you think they come in packs of 3? They also come wrapped in plastic, another piece of waste for the landfill. A dishcloth, on the other hand, can take a lot of abuse without much wear and can be repaired with a little bit of thread if need be. And if you need to retire your dishcloth, if you’re using one made of natural fibers, it can be composted in your own backyard instead of being sent off to the ever-expanding landfill. Dishcloth 4, Sponge 0.