Bill Nye (the Science Guy!) Can’t Live Without This Sponge Holder — So I Had to Try It

published Jul 9, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Someone washing dishes with sponge.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Over the years, I’ve learned more about physics and earth science from Bill Nye (the Science Guy!) than I ever have from classes in school. The guy really knows his stuff — and best of all, he knows how to clearly explain things. When the Science Guy talks, I listen, because I know I’ll learn something.

So last month when New York Magazine’s The Strategist asked him for his list of things he can’t live without, I was curious to see what he’d pick. Maybe there’d be a wonky-cool, science gadget I need to try? Maybe something that would help me finally learn the constellations or exercise my middle-aged brain? But to my surprise, one of the top things Bill Nye can’t live without is a kitchen sponge holder! Yep, of all the things he could pick, he chose the Umbra Sure-Lock Holster Sponge Caddy!

Although it wasn’t what I had in mind, I was thrilled to see it on his list. See, I’m a die-hard sponge user and I struggle, like he does, with keeping family members from leaving the sponge at the bottom of the sink. (Seeing it there grosses me out to no end!) I’d prefer to see it in the little caddy, which sits on my sink ledge and keeps the sponge standing up. Between uses, the water drips out of the sponge into a cup below, but it’s kind of a tight fit to get the sponge into said caddy — and my teens flat-out ignore it. Also, I can’t put my scrubby brush in it. Plus, the water collected in the cup gets so nasty. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the best I had found. If you’re wondering, yes, I’ve tried suction-cup sponge caddies that hang inside the sink before, but they always seem to fall down!

Maybe this holster, which suctions to the inside of the sink with a special lock — and has a hole for the handle of a scrubby brush — would be the gadget that finally solved my problems. If it’s good enough for Bill Nye, I knew I’d have to give it a try!

The first thing I noticed is that the holster has a plastic wall, which seemed pointless at first. Upon installation (read: suction cupping the thing to my sink), I learned that the design would prevent the holster from spinning around or slipping to one side or the other — something that often happened with the last suction-cup, in-sink caddy I tried. Smart! And the ledge was meant to hold the sponge up and keep it from leaning against the sink. Smart again!

Also, the suction cup is more than just a domed piece of rubber, which again, I’ve had a lot of trouble with in the past. (They never seem to stay stuck!) Instead, this caddy has a knob that you twist to secure the caddy to the side of the sink — and it really works! The holster hasn’t budged an inch since I installed it, even after tugging.

The holder is also generously sized. When I wash a pot and need to set the sponge aside, I can toss it in the holster instead of awkwardly fumbling to fit it into a tight-fitting slot. A big metal band keeps the sponge from falling out, and drain holes let the water drip down right into the sink. There’s also a spot for my dish brush to slide in and out.

My one complaint? If you have a shallow sink, like I do, you’ll need a short-handled scrub brush. Otherwise, it won’t hang well and the bottom of the brush handle will rest on the bottom of the sink. Not a deal-breaker by any means, just an annoyance. I’m definitely on the lookout now for a shorter-handled brush.

All in all, it’s a great design and the suction cup really works. (A huge win on its own!) Once again, Bill Nye taught me something. It’s not exactly complicated physics, but honestly, sometimes it felt like rocket science when it came to dealing with my sponge!

Where do you stash your sponge and dish brush between sessions? Tell us in the comments below.