Back in 2012, Aaron Krause “entered the tank” on ABC’s hit television show Shark Tank and gave one of the most successful pitches the show has seen to date. Lori Grenier, the shark known for holding more than 100 patents, expertise in the consumer product market, and star presence on QVC, said she instantly knew the Scrub Daddy was a “hero.”
Since being broadcast on Shark Tank, sales of Scrub Daddy have exploded. They are now available on Amazon, as well as retail locations including Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart. In addition to the original and iconic yellow smiling Scrub Daddy, the brand now includes several other product lines as well.
As of early 2016, sales of the Scrub Daddy had already exceeded 10 million units and $50 million in sales, and show no indication of slowing down.
With all the attention the Scrub Daddy received thanks to its appearance on Shark Tank, we wanted to find out whether or not the hype associated with the Scrub Daddy was really earned.
What sets the Scrub Daddy apart from other sponges
When selecting the products we wanted to test for our comprehensive best kitchen cleaning sponge review, the Scrub Daddy started off at the top of our prospective list, alongside longstanding brand names like Lysol and Scotch-Brite. This is noteworthy in and of itself, since Scrub Daddy has existed as a brand for only a few years.
Right off the bat, the Scrub Daddy stands out for its friendly aesthetic. If you’re walking through the sponge aisle in a retail store, the Scrub Daddy will stand out for its bright and attention-grabbing packaging.
Beyond the packaging, the design and performance of the Scrub Daddy is what really makes this product stand out.
The Scrub Daddy is the only sponge among our finalists that is able to be both hard enough to clean a BBQ grill and soft enough to be a scratch-free cleaning solution for delicate pots, pans, and plates.
The Scrub Daddy is made from a synthetic (and proprietary) material which turns hard in cold water and soft in warm water. This functionality is what makes it possible for the Scrub Daddy to be both a hard scrubber and a soft sponge.
The design of the Scrub Daddy is unique as well. There are few consumer products on the market that are able to take something as simple as a smiling sponge and utilize each of those facial features (eyes, mouth, hair) into specific and useful features.
How the Scrub Daddy performs
In our test of the best kitchen cleaning sponges, we tested the Scrub Daddy alongside seven other sponges using a series of tests. Here’s how the Scrub Daddy performed across each of those tests:
One of the main selling points of the Scrub Daddy is its ability to rinse clean. In our own testing, we found this claim to be very accurate. Running the Scrub Daddy under warm water leaves the sponge soft enough to squeeze out any flakes or material, while the temperature of the water and texture of the sponge itself helped facilitate the removal of excess waste.
While the Scrub Daddy is capable of scraping surfaces as tough as a recently used BBQ grill, it is still capable of cleaning more delicate surfaces – such as the nonstick coating of a pan – without causing scratches.
It’s worth noting that all but one of the sponges we tested were able to clean a variety of surfaces without producing any scratches. However, the Scrub Daddy does stand out a bit thanks to its ability to alternate between a heavy scrubber and a scratch-free sponge.
Ergonomics is another area where the Scrub Daddy really stands out from the competition. That’s because the smiling face of the Scrub Daddy is more than just an aesthetic decision.
The shape of the Scrub Daddy makes it perfect for most hands, and fingers can be put through the eyeholes to further improve the grip. The Scrub Daddy’s mouth is also great for cleaning silverware and even some cooking utensils.
The “hair” on the top of the Scrub Daddy also make cleaning glasses easier as well.
Bacteria and other pathogens love wet environments. That’s why a sponge that stays wet for extended periods of time can breed dangerous levels of bacteria.
The Scrub Daddy was the fastest of our finalists to dry, but still required 7.9 hours to completely dry. While that might seem like a long time, the Natural Sea Sponge, TVTimedirect Microfiber Sponge, and Superior Performance Ultra Sponge took more than 26 hours to fully dry.
What we didn’t like about the Scrub Daddy
Overall, the Scrub Daddy is an excellent sponge, and easily the best kitchen sponge we tested. That being said, there were a couple of things we didn’t love about it.
The most significant thing we noticed was that the Scrub Daddy, while versatile, is not particularly great for cleaning up spills. The Scrub Daddy tied for last place in our absorbency test, and was only able to hold about three tablespoons of water.
To compare, the Natural Sea Sponge held 15 tablespoons of water, and the Lysol Multi-Purpose Scrub Sponge held 5 tablespoons.
Of course, Aaron and Lori (owner and primary investor of the Scrub Daddy brand) have come up with a solution to the absorbency issue, with the development of the Sponge Daddy.
This new product combines the iconic Scrub Daddy material with a more traditional sponge.
The other thing we noticed was that the Scrub Daddy is a bit more expensive to use than other sponges. That, in conjunction with the fact that the Scrub Daddy does tend to start breaking down after a month or two of heavy use means you’ll be paying a slight premium to use the Scrub Daddy.
The bottom line
If you’re looking for a high-quality, versatile, hygienic sponge, the Scrub Daddy should top your list. While the Scrub Daddy does tend to be a little more expensive than other sponges on the market, for most people the cost is more than worth it to use a sponge as powerful as the Scrub Daddy.