Cleaning Tips from The Kitchn

We Tried the $16 "Sponge" That's Dividing the Internet

Image Credit: Lauren Volo

I've been known to make some kitchen splurges, but if I'm going to spend more than $1 on something to clean my dishes, it better be worth it. This is my way of saying that I was intrigued when I came across The Laundress' Copper Cleaning Cloth — for $16 (!!!). I love the brand's laundry products and, frankly, I found this to be the prettiest sponge I've ever seen.

Could it be beautiful and totally functional? If the answer is yes, I'd be happy to spend a little more money. That's a big if, though.

Image Credit: Amazon

Here's the premise: Copper is a metal, so it offers the abrasive benefits of other hardy scrubbers like a steel wool pad. But because it's a softer metal than steel, it's gentler on the items you're cleaning, so you can use it on more fragile items — like copper pots or glass — without scratching things up.

There are other copper scrubbers on the market (notably the Chore Boy versions, which are closer to $1 per scrubber) but they don't quite have the finesse of this one: It's a two-ply cloth woven with copper threads, as opposed to a round scrubby. The Laundress recommends it for about 20 different surfaces, including stainless steel, china, glass, enamel, aluminum, and more. (Note: It's not meant for Teflon or other nonstick surfaces.) Plus it's 100 percent recyclable and machine-washable.

But the reviews are mixed. While some praise the cleaning cloth for getting rid of some tricky stains (bathtub rust, water scale on glass, etc.) without leaving a mark, others complained that it was too abrasive for enamel cookware. Some complained that it was overpriced and disintegrated quicker than the Chore Boy versions; others said they've used them for years with no disintegration at all. Confusing!

So I ordered one to try it out, and tested it on various surfaces over the course of the week.

In my experience, the sponge did a great job on my pans, ceramic mugs and plates, and even glassware. I had some Pyrex bowls that forever looked cloudy, and now they're sparkling. I tried it on my enamel cooktop, and it did a great job removing grease, but I found I had to go over the surface again with a soft sponge to mop up the leftover soap and water. I scrubbed burnt stains off the bottoms of a few pots and my knives came out extra-shiny, too. By the end of the week, the cloth wasn't quite as cute as before, but it didn't look dingy, either. And it smelled like ... nothing, versus the soapy-metallic smell of some steel wool scrubbers of the grossness that regular sponges can acquire.

So I'll say I was satisfied. It scrubbed way better than the scrubby side of my Skura sponges, and reminded me that I should actually have a real scrubber on hand more often. But would I spend $16 on it again? Probably not. Next time I'll try the cheaper-but-way-less-romantic-sounding Chore Boy scrubbers.

What do you think? Would you pay $16 for a sponge? Do you like the Chore Boy scrubbers? Discuss in the comments below!

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