These days, when people talk about sponges, it's all bad stuff. "They're super germy! They smell bad! They can catch fire in the microwave!" But, uh, we've all gotta clean our dishes somehow. So we asked Kitchn editors to share their favorite sponges — or scrubbers or wands or whatever they use! — when they wash dishes by hand. Not surprisingly, we all nominated something a little more extra than the basic sponge we could more easily pick up at the grocery store.
"I wasn't always a fan of these types of scrubbers, but I've really come around, and love this one! I initially bought it mostly for cleaning my spiralizer blades (which have a knack for chewing up sponges). This is perfect! It also gives me more scrubbing power when cleaning pots, pans, or dishes with stuck-on food." — Kelli Foster, Associate Food Editor
2. Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges, $5.50 for six
"These are just like the sponges my mom used to use when I was growing up, only they also have a scrubby side. That rougher side is tough on stuck-on food but gentle on surfaces, so I don't have to worry about it scratching up my nonstick or enameled pieces." — Sheela Fiorenzo, Assistant Food Editor
"I got this Full Circle scrubber last year as part of a promo from Thrive Market and it's one of my favorite kitchen things. First, it looks cute in my little dish tray by the sink. Second, it's awesome for scrubbing all kinds of pans, including my cast iron skillet and enamel Dutch oven. Lastly, all the parts can go in the dishwasher. I've only had to replace the brush once in a year." — Meghan Splawn, Associate Food Editor
4. Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Dish Wand Sponge, $14 for two wands and six sponge heads
"I love this because they carry replacement sponges in my grocery store so that I can replace sponges without making a special trip (although they do sell them online too!). And the soap in the handle means there is one less step in the dishwashing process." — Patty Catalano, Contributor
5. ANTAGEN Dish Brush, $0.50 at IKEA
"We're a dishwasher-for-everything kind of household, but I use this brush to get stuff off dirty plates before I load them into the dishwasher. And I use one to scrub down the sink when it's looking gross. I especially love that the long handle keeps my hand away from the mess." — Lauren Kodiak, Managing Editor
6. All Purpose Spaghetti Scrub, $12 for two
"I can't bring myself to say that I love a scrubber, but I'm very, very fond of this Spaghetti Scrub from Goodbye Detergent. It cuts down on the amount of dish soap I need to use and it doesn't have the gunky-ness that a regular sponge gets after you wash something greasy." — Tracey Gertler, Production Assistant
7. Twist Loofah Natural Scrub Sponge, $3.50 for two at Target
"I'm surprised more of my fellow coworkers aren't picking actual sponges. They're not so bad, as long as you dry them between uses and replace them often! I especially love this option, which is totally plant-based and compostable. It foams up soap nicely, has two scrubbing options, and seems to stave off grossness longer than other sponges. I must admit: I also love me a Scrub Daddy." — Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director
What do you use to clean your dirty dishes at home?