Scrub Daddy, our new kitchen essential. Photos by Faith Tomases | THE NIBBLE.
In the beginning, there was the sea sponge, one of the simplest animal organisms, believed to have evolved at least 700 million years ago. With no specialized organs and no locomotion, they attached to rocks on the sea bed, where they eat microscopic plants in the sea water.
Under the skin is a simple skeleton made of a soft, porous material called spongin. Sponges have been harvested since ancient times and used for cleaning.
In the 1940s, artificial sponges were developed by DuPont company, made from cellulose. Soon, cellulose sponges replaced natural sponges in America’s household. Today’s synthetic sponges can also be made from foamed plastic polymers.
But as everyone who uses these sponges knows, they fall apart and worse, collect odors and bacteria—including salmonella and E.coli wiped from cutting boards and kitchen counters. The moist environment of a conventional sponge—wild or artificial—is conducive to bacterial growth.
We are advised to regularly clean our sponges: in the dishwasher, microwave or washing machine; or by soaking in a solution of ammonia, bleach or vinegar.
ENTER SCRUB DADDY
Every so often, someone does create a better mousetrap. In this case, it was Aaron Krause, who created Scrub Daddy: a heavy-duty, scratch-free sponge. It is a champ at scrubbing off just about anything you want scrubbed.
And it welcomes you with a smiling face, the mouth of which can be used to scrub utensils.
Krause was washing and waxing cars for a living when he scratched a car. In response, he went home and invented a line of buffing and polishing pads, including the Scrub Daddy sponge.
His business was bought out by 3M, which didn’t want Scrub Daddy because they had Scotch-Brite (not nearly as effective).
He tried marketing Scrub Daddy himself, with minimal success ($100,000 in sales in 18 months). Then, he got an investment and assistance via Shark Tank that has generated $18 million in sales in 18 months.
Scrub Daddy is made of a high-tech polymer texture that changes texture with the water temperature: It’s hard in cold water, for cleaning pots and grills; and soft in hot water for dishes.
It’s safe to use (non-scratch) on just about every household surface. Like other sponges, it’s flexible to get to the bottom of coffee pots, mugs, vases, etc.
We are thrilled—THRILLED!—with the cute little guy, who is made in happy colors: blue, green orange and yellow. There’s also a lemon-scented yellow version and a larger rectangle (no face). The company has also released Sponge Daddy, in the size of a conventional kitchen sponge (we haven’t tried it).
We’ve used ours for a few months and it makes for happy scrubbing. Independent lab test showed it remains odor-free for up to two months. Beyond the kitchen, use it for:
Other household cleaning. Scrub Daddy adds fun to any chore.
Outdoor cleaning, from grills and swings to pool surfaces and decks.
Personal care, from handwashing (kids may like the face enough to use it more often) to exfoliating.
Auto care, the use that inspired it in the first place. Use it on your car or boat to clean dashboards, upholstery, wheels, windows, whatever.
Scrub Daddy is sold in Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, SuperValu and Wal-Mart, with other retailers coming on board. There’s also a website, ScrubDaddy.com, but we hate to send you there because it needs work!
You can also buy it on Amazon.com.