There is no sponge righteous; no, not even one.
The traditional sponge soaks up filth and gets stinky within a week. It is also terrible at scrubbing.
The Scrub Daddy falls apart if you scrub hard, and its “temperature control” material is limp and weak under hot water (the ideal scrubbing temperature).
The classic green scourer scrubs excellently, and is very nearly not bad. But it feels unpleasant in your hand. The best green scourers have big dumb handles that force your hands into awkward positions, ruining this most effective sponge. The green scourer is too effective, too rough for some nonstick pans — the pans that you need to scrub hardest, because nonstick pans are also bad.
Steel wool contains all the sins of the green scourer, plus it is hideous to use without a glove. It will scrape away the food and the muck and the dish itself. And its wicked heart will still cling to debris and fester. Store it far from sight and far from love.
Dishrags are disgusting. Have some self-respect.
This sponge looks good. It is made of crushed walnuts. It reeks of class. I will buy it, and I will hate it, and I will throw it away. It will reek of dirty dishes.
Some of you may like these sponges. Some of you will claim they are not bad. You are lying to yourselves. All your sponges smell, or hurt, or flake, or do not do their job. And they will all grow worse and worse until you throw them out, hurt, betrayed, looking for a better sponge.
This is the fate of the sponge. It is as disposable as paper towels or plastic bags. But it lasts just long enough that we think of it as a utensil, a small appliance, and we expect it to behave like one, to last years or at least months in good condition. We try to clean it, the way we clean a bath towel or a washcloth. We hope we can redeem it. But a filthy, broken sponge is irredeemable.
No good sponge can go long without decaying into a bad sponge, for its use inevitably destroys it. Pity the sponge. The better it is, the worse it will be. It is a scapegoat, a sin eater. Perhaps a Christ figure.
There is no escape. A dishwasher cannot fit every dish. Paper towels can only handle the lightest of cleaning tasks. The scrub brush feels like nails on a chalkboard. Throw away a sponge, but always buy a new one.
We hate the sponge. So we try to improve on it, to fix it, to build it better faster stronger. The entrepreneur’s mantra, “Invent a better mousetrap,” should be “Invent a better sponge.” When all the slim wallets fade away from Kickstarter, when we are done inventing new headphones and phone chargers and pens and water bottles, we will still design new sponges. The sponge is dead. Long live the sponge.