Thursday, March 19, 2009

Scotch-Brite Natural Fiber Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge | Natural Cleaning Product Review

In February, 2009, Scotch-Brite brand, owned by 3M, the largest maker of household sponges, came out with a new line of natural-fiber, natural cleaning products: including sponges, scrubbers, and cleaning cloths.

Scotch-Brite and 3M
Scotch Brite, a 3M company, made their debut as a cleaning sponge maker in 1958 with their original scour pad. Currently, 3M, headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, has a over 24 billion net sale business, with 75,000 employees worldwide.

3M has been committed to moving toward environmentally-friendly business practices since 1973. As they state in their 2008 Sustainability Executive Summary Brochure: "We recognize that the company’s long-term success springs from adopting and implementing the principles of sustainable development....At the same time, we recognize that only by continuing to be a viable and successful enterprise can we continue to be a positive contributor to sustainable development."

I interpret this to imply that they are "making steps" to become an environmentally responsible manufacturer in regards to their products, manufacturing, and resource usage. This is good, and I applaud any progress in this direction, such as, the new natural cleaning product line they have just launched.

Greener Clean
This new line of natural cleaning products is called "Greener Clean" and will be carried in Walmart, Giant Eagle, and Target and at . Two of the products in this natural cleaning product line is the Natural Fiber Non-scratch Scrub Sponge, reviewed in this post, and the Natural Bamboo Cleaning Cloths, which I will review in my next post.

What this means is that natural fiber sponges and other natural cleaning products like bamboo wash cloths have come mainstream!! There are other small, eco-friendly manufacturers of natural fiber sponges and cleaning cloths (and I give a link to many of them at the bottom of this post) but for the most part they have only been found in smaller, environmentally-conscious retailers and the burgeoning "green" web.

The Scotch-Brite Natural Fiber Scrub Sponge has a number of great points:
  • the sponge-part is 100% natural material.
  • the scrubbing fibers are made from 50% natural agave plant.
  • the fibers in the sponge are made from recycled paper.
  • they are made without any dye or colorants.

These are all great reasons to use these scrub sponges in your natural cleaning!

Price 2.12 for a single regular sized sponge. 4.24 for a pack of 3.


Sponge partially made from recycled paper.

Scrub made from 50% agave plant fibers.

(The other 50% is polyester fiber, which is most likely not recyclable and as a synthetic fiber has a small health risk, like the tons of plastic we are exposed to each day!)

My Natural Cleaning Experience Using the Scotch-Brite Natural Fiber Non-scratch Scrub Sponge

I tested the Natural Fiber Non-scratch Scrub Sponge against its "cousin" the Scotch-Brite Dobie Cleaning pad and the Enemy, dried-on egg yolk!

The Dobie, made from all synthetic ingredients, which is much rougher in texture, got the egg off extremely quickly but the Natural Fiber Scrub Sponge worked almost exactly the same. It certainly wasn't a very perceivable difference.

I also thought that the smell of sponges after cleaning with them was different--the Natural Fiber Scrub Sponge won hands down. In other words the Dobie had a yukky, greasy smell after finishing the dishes and some pots-n-pans, but the Natural Fiber Scrub Sponge did not!


Big Thumbs Up for Scotch-Brite's new Greener Clean Natural Fiber Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge! I will definitely buy more and I encourage you to do the same.

Homemaking Tips

1. Other Eco-friendly, Natural Cleaning products lines of sponges and wash cloths to check out:

Pristine Planet has a great selection, all shapes and sizes, from a variety of green companies.

One, in particular, the "Naked Loofa Sponge #50" produced by the company Twist appears to be a similar product to the Scotch-Brite Natural Fiber Scrubber Sponge, i.e. a natural sponge with a scrubber top layer, but the Naked Loofa Sponge is 100% biodegradable, retailing though at a steep 4.99 .

2. Best way to Disinfect any of your sponges is: 1 minute in the microwave or run them through the dishwasher with your dishes, whenever you use it. This is according to research done at the USDA Agricultural Research Service:

"Each sponge [was treated] in one of five ways: soaked for three minutes in a 10 percent chlorine bleach solution, soaked in lemon juice or deionized water for one minute, heated in a microwave for one minute, placed in a dishwasher operating with a drying cycle—or left untreated....[the highest microbe kill-rate was from] microwaving sponges [which] killed 99.99999 percent of bacteria present on them, while dish washing killed 99.9998 percent of bacteria....microwave heating and dish washing with a drying cycle proved to be the most effective methods for inactivating bacteria, yeasts and molds on sponges."

(I would add that microwaving would be the greenest, least energy-hogging manner!) And as always, Enjoy using your natural cleaning products for all your natural cleaning jobs! Cheers, "GreenKeen" a.k.a. Pamela Palmer


  1. I found these at the store today and was thrilled! I was googling to see if they were able to be composted and found your blog. yay! sounds like they aren't good to go in the composter, but one of their other greener clean sponges might be. Glad I found your blog!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement! I missed this comment until today....I'm hoping Scotch Brite and other "mainstream" cleaning product companies will go 100% biodegradable, not just 50-75%! What's the point then, right?

    Green Keen a.k.a. Pamela Palmer :)

  3. I have used 3M Scotch Brite material in all it's forms and like it very much, but, as you also mention the Loofah/Loofa/Luffa(?), have you tried using it - by itself?

    I think of it as the "original" Scotch-Brite pad. No, I don't know if this is true, but, have you compared the SB material to a Loofah..? You can grow the Loofah plant easily, then "process" it yourself. Great for cleaning everything from pots and pans, to car wheels, to cleaning you! I don't remember ever damaging anything with the Loofah and any "particles" the Loofah leaves in the cleaning process would, I would think(?), be "better" than SB residue...

    One or two Loofah plants grown and processed in one season may supply many years of sponges - they seem as hard to wear-out as the SB material(At one time Loofah was said to be used as "filtration material" in submarines!). Far as cleaning the Loofah sponges, I just soaked them for a bit in highly diluted bleach water - Though I would try the Microwave method, mentioned(Carefully - watching out the things don't catch fire!).

    Again, I wonder if the Loofah was the "inspiration"(Maybe it was the Agave, I don't know.) for the SB material? Anyway, lots of info around on how to grow, process and use the Loofah.