Kitchn Love Letters

The Trader Joe’s Cleaning Supply Everyone Should Be Buying — Even If You Don’t Shop There

updated Apr 1, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Design: Kitchn

Somewhere along the way I forgot about sponges. Okay, maybe not so much “forgot” as saw one too many headlines about how gross they can become and got spooked. Either way, as an entire category, they exited my cleaning arsenal. Leave it to Trader Joe’s — and a “made in France” label, if we’re being honest — to bring them back into my life!

Credit: Dana McMahan

I kept hearing about these cute little pop-up sponges, and with weather warming up and spring cleaning on my brain, I grabbed the clever pack of them on my last TJ’s run: a dozen teeny, flat rectangles nestled in a package, hinting at quick and easy cleanups once they rehydrate in water.

Would I have picked them up if they didn’t come with that Product of France so prominently noted? An avowed Francophile, I admit I’m a sucker for all things Francaise. Peu importe, it doesn’t really matter. Because these sponges are ridiculously great.

Credit: Dana McMahan

I came home, and like a kid lured into learning science through volcano-making experiments, I took one of the little rectangles straight to the kitchen sink to see how it would do. (Yes, we have lived pandemic life long enough that I’m excited about cleaning the sink.) Watching the sponge come to life when it hit water was oddly satisfying, and I put it right to work on not just the white farm sink that gets daily workouts, but also the inside of the oven that needed some TLC after a fairly exuberant Sunday dinner. 

Credit: Dana McMahan

And sure enough, its nubby texture did the trick! In tandem with TJ’s multi-purpose cleaner it erased grease that rinsed right out so I could keep using the sponge. Ooh! The one-inch opening that runs along the back of my range that I can never seem to get clean with a dish rag? The sponge squished right in there to reach every last bit of crud. 

Hmm. What else can I clean? It became a bit of an expedition around the house. Bathroom sink? Check. Shower floor? Yep. How about the grubby detergent dispenser in the washing machine, and while I’m at it the murky window on the machine and, hey, I know, let’s go ahead and swipe out that sludgy buildup in the rubber water trap thing (what is that called anyway?). 

The handy little guy stood up to all the chores I threw at it, rinsing clean easily. And, this may seem like a minor thing, but the fact that I don’t have to cram a big, squishy, plasticky package of four or six sponges into a cabinet somewhere — only to open it for one and have the rest spill out, I know you know what I’m talking about — makes me that much more likely to use them. The pack of 12 is so petite I dropped them in one of my favorite coffee mugs that I can just keep on my countertop. And this 12-pack is just $7.99. That’s just around 66 cents! Once the sponge has met the end of its useful life, I can just grab another one. (And it’s compostable, so I feel a little better about its expiration!) 

Note: Don’t live near a Trader Joe’s? You can find these on Amazon with a slight mark-up in price.

Will the sponges miraculously make me and my family the world’s best housekeepers? I wouldn’t go that far. But after just a few days with my new little amis, I can’t imagine going back to a cleaning routine without them.

Do you buy any cleaning supplies at Trader Joe’s? What are they? Tell us in the comments below!