Stay Connected

Monday, August 7, 2023

Dishcloth vs. Sponge: Which do you use, and how do you do yours frugally?

While we're on a kitchen "preferences" roll, I also wanted to ask about which you tend to use, dishcloths (like washcloth, not towel) or sponges.

In our kitchen, I use both. I use dishcloths for countertops and most cookware/prep equipment/dishes and sponges with scrubbing side for the pots and pans that need more scouring, like frying pans and pots that have been used to cook rice or other starchy foods.

Here are 3 of our 4 dishcloths. I pick these up at Value Village and Goodwill in the bath linen section. Goodwill has better prices on towels and cloths than Value Village. I picked a basic color range that would go with our kitchen, hues ranging from sage to avocado green. The colors are dark enough they don't show staining like my previous white cloths did. 

As you can see, each one is slightly different from the next. It doesn't bother me that they don't look alike. I only have one out at a time, so no one is comparing colors.  I picked them up over the course of 2 years, whenever I found a cloth in my chosen color range. I spent between 99 cents and $1.49 each for the washcloths. They're thick and durable and should last another 2 to 4 years. (I've had them 2 to 4 years already.) I change washcloths daily and launder twice a week. With twice weekly laundry, 4 cloths means I can have a clean cloth each morning.

The scrubbing sponges are from a package I bought at Dollar Tree. The packages have shrunk from 4 sponges to 2 and now cost $1.25 instead of $1. I need to find a new shopping source for sponges, I think. To clean the sponges and keep them sanitary, I put them through the dishwasher on the top rack every other day. I'm less likely to replace a sponge with a new one if the current one feels and looks clean.

How about you -- are you a dishcloth person or sponge person, or user of both? Have you found bargain ways to buy, use, or maintain your dishcloths or sponges? 


  1. Mostly dishcloths here, though we do have those exact sponges for occasional use on pots or the glass top stove. Our dishcloths are a mix of cheap bulk grey washcloths and hand knit cotton cloths. The hand knit type are great for cleaning glass. Like you, I like a fresh cloth daily, but we don't wash them twice weekly so need more on hand.

    The bulk washcloths are inexpensive. I believe these specific ones came from the big W mart. Grey only because I bought the prettier colors for the bathrooms, and didn't want the white ones in the kitchen (I prefer thinner washcloths such as these for face cloths as they don't seem to sour as easily as the more luxurious thick ones).

    The cotton knit dishcloths are not especially inexpensive, especially if you consider the time involved. But the particular pattern I use (Grandmother's Favorite) is super easy to remember after doing a few, which means I can easily work on them away from home. And it's a form of relaxation for me at times. I've taken this knitting backpacking and made dishcloths next to an alpine lake or in my tent at night while listening to an audiobook. During the 2020 spring/summer lockdown, I made lots of dishcloths while sitting in a loungechair in the sun in the backyard.

    Interesting to see what others do!

  2. We prefer sponges here because the scrubber is built right in. When they start to wear, we rotate them into the cleaning supplies to use on the floor, bathrooms, etc. Since we use them all of the time, we find the dollar store ones wear out too fast, so it's worth it to spend a little more to get better quality. But actually, I would say the main reason we use sponges is that my husband prefers them, and he does the majority of the handwashing.

  3. I use dishcloths for most things, then there is the scrub daddy that works for cookware and we mostly use the old Dutch dish brush which many use as a vegetable scrubber is what we use to wash our dishes. They last a long time and I clean them with bleach water.

    The dishcloths are thinner because I can hang them to dry and doesn't take long. They are all grey so I know they are kitchen dishcloths because we use washcloths for faces, showering, etc. and I don't want those for anything but body use. The washcloths are multicolored and of medium thickness. I also have a special container for makeup for when guests come over and prefer the special facial cloths. Lastly, in the basement there is a drawer full of old cloths that have holes in them or were bleached that are unsightly for other uses and they are the rag pile. Those are used for household spills, mechanic cleanup and anything else that could either be washed or disposed of after use. I don't thrown any kind of towel away because it can be used in case of leaks or something that requires cleanup. They are in a cupboard in the basement near the washing machine/sewing desk. I also keep old jeans and other old discarded clothing for sewing scraps in the same area for patching clothing.

  4. I actually don't use either. I use the bags of garlic/ ginger that come in. You can use onion bags in a pinch as well. This is because the sponges shed microplastic which is terrible for the environment. And the sponges become dingy/ stinky if not washed regularly which takes time. For hard cleaning jobs, I use steel wool.

  5. Hey, Lili -- I might have the exact same towel you have (top one.) LOL But to the question, I overlap a couple of other people here. I really like a brush best, for general dishwashing -- easy to clean, as Alice mentioned (I have one for veggies, and one for dishes, actually). For light scrubbing, I crochet nylon net scrubbies. They're cheap and fast to make, dry out quickly and completely, and don't add a lot to the weekly washing. For heavy scrubbing, we buy the big green 3M scrub sheets, and I cut them into small pieces (which seem most efficient, get used most evenly, and last the longest), which must be about 2x3" (they come out even, so that's how I know the size). One package of those lasts me usually much more than a year, because without the sponge on the other side, they're pretty easy to rinse out completely and they never seem to get sour, just worn. I actually usually keep one older one and one newer one by the sink. Newer to scrub stuck-on stuff and the copper bottoms, older for easier scrubbing.

    DH loves the pink sponges with the white scrub side, so we always have basically a year's worth of those at all times. But I only ever use a sponge for wet spills on the counter or scrubbing stains from the industrial carpet on the kitchen floor. Once any sponge has been used more than about twice, there's no amount of water or bleach that will make it not smell sour to me. So, I squeeze well and stand his up at the edge of the sink, to drain as fully as possible after each use, and always use rubber gloves with them, because I hate that smell on my hands. :)

    Have a great day, Ladies! Sara

  6. Mostly dishcloths for me, although I do keep a scrubby sponge on hand for scouring (which I often do using a paste made with baking soda). My MIL used to sew scrubbers out of red net produce bags and I have one that I've been reusing for quite awhile. I also have a scrub brush. I try to send the scrubbers through the dishwasher periodically to sanitize them but will admit that I should do it more often. I've read about boiling her kitchen dishcloths to get rid of the funky odor factor--I really should try that.

    For awhile I was knitting dishcloths, but the last one I tried knitting is still on the needles. I was working on it back when my mom was in the hospital and I think the association has made it hard for me to finish it up.

  7. Thank you, all, for your replies. This was interesting to read about your preferences and why.

    Alice, I was looking at dish brushes used in conjunction with bar dish soap. Several small companies make a bar dish soap and that sounds intriguing to me. But I would need a brush to use it.

    Farhana, I have a bunch of plastic mesh produce bags saved to repurpose. Mostly I use them to make nets for pots filled with yummy-to-squirrels tulip or crocus bulbs. I may make some scrubbies with these mesh bags when this sponge wears out.

    Kris, I understand how you feel about the last dishcloth you were knitting. Grief plays out in so many areas of our lives.

    For those of you who have husbands who do a large part of the cleaning or hand washing, consider yourself blessed!

  8. A bit late on the show. I use a dish brush (you can buy them very cheaply from Ikea), like most people around here use. Sponge is used when there is something really stuck on the pan, but nobody I know uses dishcloths while doing the dishes - it is used wiping everything, but not dishes ;-)
    And then we have a different brush for potatoes and other veggies, it has very short bristles, while dishbrush has longer ones. You can buy brushes made from organic materials (like hog bristle or birch roots) but they are not very durable.
    But this is how my grandmas did ;-)


Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post