We can find dish sponges and brushes in (almost) all homes. There’s no denying the important role these little tools play in the kitchen. Not only do we use them to wash pans, plates, and utensils but also to clean surfaces.
However, if you use regular disposable sponges, did you know they are made from plastic? As a result, they pose various challenges ranging from shedding microplastics to short lifespans resulting in regular replacement.
As part of the low-waste movement, an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic sponge is a recommended zero-waste dish brush. Manufacturers use recycled and natural materials to make this great alternative to plastics. Also, these products are often biodegradable.
Read on to discover natural dish brushes to replace your disposable sponges. But first, let’s understand the problem with synthetic sponges.
Related: We have a bunch more ideas for zero-waste options in the kitchen a click away. For a complete approach to zero-waste dishwashing, also check out our guides to zero-waste dish soap and zero-waste dishwasher detergents.
Conventional or synthetic sponges are a common kitchen tool in many homes. They are often cheap to purchase and easily accessible. Although these tools are quite common, many people are unaware that they pose dangers to the environment. Plastic or synthetic sponges shed tiny plastic pieces throughout their lifespan. This means, the more people use them for cleaning, the more microplastics are shed.
Unfortunately, as these tiny plastic pieces go through the drains, they don’t get filtered. This results in the release of plastic particles into the ocean and the environment.
Estimates reveal that the world has discarded at least 5.25 trillion plastic particles into the oceans . As you can imagine, marine animals end up feeding on these plastic particles. This poses a significant danger to marine life. Not only do these particles end up in the stomachs of aquatic animals, but they end up in our food chain.
Another major challenge with synthetic sponges is that they are disposable. As a result, they don't last long. Since they don’t make these from sustainable materials, they contribute to pollution on land.
They’re also not biodegradable, which means they end up sitting in landfills. If you worry about your old regular sponges, there’s a solution. If you prefer something eco-friendly, sustainable dish brushes made from natural materials are available. Not only are eco-friendly sponges and scrubbers plastic-free, but they also last you a long time. This reduces your need to throw away your purchase regularly.
We’ve established how disposable sponges contribute to pollution. Also, they affect sea animals and often end up in our food supply chain. Even if you’re vegan, these particles sometimes end up in tap water supplies.
Although plastic sponges and brushes come at low prices, they are not eco-friendly. If you’re looking for a lasting and eco-friendly purchase, why not consider a plastic-free dish brush or scrubber?
Manufacturers use natural and recycled materials to create such products. As a result, they are often biodegradable or sometimes compostable. As such, you’ll be reducing the amount of trash you throw out.
Unlike synthetics that stay on the land for several years, natural products are biodegradable or compostable. This reduces human impact on the world. From the bristles to the handles, the producers make use of plastic-free materials.
Top tip: natural fibers often contained in zero-waste dish brushes can stain more readily than plastic alternatives. To keep them clean, dry them naturally between washes letting the water seep away. When stained, unless the manufacturer says otherwise, you can pop them in the dishwasher or washing machine, and they’ll come out good as new.
There are various eco-friendly alternatives to synthetic sponges. There are clothes, sponges, and brushes. This article will highlight some of the best eco-friendly dish brush options available in the market. Get ready to get rid of those greasy stains on your dishes while protecting the planet.
Materials: Bamboo and sisal
SmilesBoutique is a Canadian-based small business that provides eco-friendly essentials for the home. Included in the wide range of products this 5-star rates Etsy shop sells are their dish brush variants.
The brand uses eco-friendly and plastic-free materials to craft its offerings. Due to bamboo’s fast-growing nature, SmilesBoutique uses it as a sustainable choice for its brush handles. As an advantage, they avoid pesticides when harvesting bamboo.
Within each package, SmilesBoutique includes one dish brush and one replacement head. Each dish brush features biodegradable sisal bristles. Unlike synthetic materials, these will not release dangerous particles into the water system. As part of its sustainability commitment, the business uses a recycled and recyclable box to ship its products.
This package not only serves as a useful addition to your kitchen but can also serve as an eco-friendly gift. With longevity in mind, each box features a complete dish brush and a replacement. As a result, you keep the original handle while reducing waste.
Materials: Bamboo and sisal
This dish brush is ideal for various uses, from washing pots, dishes, and sinks to clean vegetables. It features soft sisal bristles and a smooth bamboo handle for easy grip.
When you purchase from this brand, you get not only one bamboo dish brush but two. Additionally, the package includes a small self-draining soap dish. You can use this to store soaps or keep your brush dry and less smelly. This scrubber’s short bamboo handle is ideal for easily washing pans and stubborn stains.
Taking care of your dish brush is easy. All you have to do is run it underneath a running tap. Afterward, you can dry the bristles using a wooden dish. As part of the lifecycle assessment, you should know that the bamboo handle is compostable. So, once you’ve used your brush to a reasonable state, it doesn’t contribute to pollution.
Marsify makes it easy for you to store your bamboo brush on a dry base. To prevent bacterial build-up, you can use the wooden dish as a drying base. This eco-friendly bamboo dish brush is also compostable.
Related: Love bamboo? You can also check out our list of the best bamboo toothbrushes for more eco-friendly handles and bristle options, this time for teeth!
Materials: Coconut fiber and sustainable timber
Looking for a collection of kitchen brush essentials to wash your dishes and containers? This collection from Scabby features all the eco-friendly brush items you need.
The set features more than one shape of the eco-friendly dish brush. Within each package, there’s one dish brush, one oval kitchen brush, one round kitchen brush, one glassware brush, one standard-sized Tawashi vegetable brush, and one extra-large Tawashi vegetable brush. As a result, the set contains the essentials for kitchen and cleaning needs. The collection is biodegradable with coconut fiber and timber as the primary materials.
Scabby designed each brush for specific uses. For example, the glassware or bottle brush has an extended sponge area to polish deep glassware easily. The brand’s notable use of coconut fiber also makes them stand out.
This brush collection is ideal for multiple purposes. If you want to purchase a set consisting of tools to wash your pans and clean surfaces, you’ll like this. This includes scrubbing areas like the bathtubs and tiles. You can also use the products outside the kitchen for grease and stains.
Materials: Bamboo, sisal, and coconut palm
This IMind brush or scrubber makes a stylish yet practical and sustainable alternative to your regular sponge. The ergonomic handle design makes it an excellent choice for multiple uses within the home. The design also makes it easy to clean surfaces along with dishes and pans.
Taking care of this wooden dish brush is easy. As directed by the brand, all you need to do is leave the brush to dry after every use. The brush makes a perfect addition to your kitchen as you build a sustainable home.
Besides the eco-friendly benefits of using a natural dish brush, IMind allows you to choose your preferred brush style. If you want light-colored bristles, you can select the sisal option. For a dark choice, you can choose the palm and sisal variants.
Materials: Beechwood and sisal
This company uses traditional and ethical methods to produce its products. Rather than using synthetics, the company uses locally sourced beech wood for its brush handles. For the bristles, it uses Tampico fibers, also known as sisal fibers. Each brush is approximately 11 inches, making it comfortable to do your dishes. The producers use a silver metal wire to support the brush head to hold it together.
As part of its sustainable endeavors, the company gives you the option to buy a replacement brush head. Although each dish brush head can last somewhere between one to six months, you can purchase a replacement afterward. This way, you extend the lifecycle of your handles.
So, how do you dispose of your bamboo dish brushes' old bristles? Once they’re worn out, simply remove the head. The sisal and wood parts of the brush are compostable. You can then recycle the silver metal parts. To keep your brush bacteria-free, rinse if free of dish soap and occasionally dip it in vinegar.
The manufacturers specifically designed this dish brush to last you a long time. The natural beech wood material for the handles can replenish itself. The sisal fibers retain their quality for a long time, thereby giving you plenty of life for cleaning dishes. On the company’s website, you can decide to buy the brush with the head or just a replacement head. This means you can have multiple uses for your brushes.
Making the switch away from plastic brushes to eco-friendly dish brushes is an excellent choice for land and ocean safety. Sustainable brushes are plastic-free and long-lasting. They are biodegradable, with many also being compostable. This means you can bury some of the parts in your backyard compost after use. Making this simple switch can create a significant difference.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.