I’ve been hand-washing a lot of dishes recently. I moved into a new apartment in mid-June and was disappointed to find that my dishwasher was better at storing dishes than cleaning them. I knew then and there that I had to stock up on the best possible sponge—one that could take care of serious grime. After all, there’s nothing worse than volunteering for dish duty, only to realize that the sponge you’re using has zero scrubbing power and is barely more effective than a wet dish cloth.
Luckily for me, I knew exactly the sponge I wanted. A year ago, I was in the cleaning aisle of Whole Foods when I came across a sponge I’d never seen before: the Scrub Daddy. It was a round white sponge with a slightly corny smiley face carved into it, with a texture sturdier than other sponges I’d used before. I bought one, and the Scrub Daddy transformed a once-dreaded household task—doing the dishes—into one I looked forward to.
The Scrub Daddy is made of a polymer foam called FlexTexture; it’s like a chameleon that takes on different textures depending on the temperature of your water. When cold, the sponge is firm and great for scrubbing stubborn stains off your counter or appliances. When you use warm water, the sponge softens and becomes malleable, so it’s gentle enough for nonstick pans, but still strong enough to effortlessly clean a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven with stuck-on bits. Another pleasant surprise? The smile serves a purpose: You slide your utensils through the sponge’s grin to efficiently clean both sides of your cutlery. And you can slip your fingers through the eye holes for a better grip on the sponge while you’re doing the dishes.
With Scrub Daddy, I was able to tackle caked-on peanut butter left on breakfast plates and stubborn schmutz on my stove left over from cooking. Sticky baking sheets, the nooks and crannies of my Vitamix, and even the inside of my oven became a breeze to clean. No dish or surface was too grimy for the Scrub Daddy to handle. After doing the dishes, I’d wring out the sponge and it would dry within the hour, with no lingering odor. Some people say you should replace your sponge every two weeks, but I’ve kept and cared for my Scrub Daddy for up to 3 months with no problem at all.
I love the sponge so much that I’ve sought out other products from the company: There’s Scrub Mommy, a two-sided sponge with FlexTexture on one side and ResoFoam (a softer stain-resistant sponge) on the other side. Then there are the regular rectangular scrubbers that, like Scrub Mommy, are two-sided. If you’re not into the smiley face look, these are just as effective, and look more like a regular sponge.
I’ve used a lot of sponges in the past, but none have ever been as effective or enjoyable to use as Scrub Daddy. Armed with this gentle yet powerful scrubbing tool, I almost don’t mind that my dishwasher falls short—almost, that is.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious