Trib Tested: Spongester
The claim: This industrial-grade stainless-steel rack helps expunge bacteria while keeping it clean with two distinct shelves for separate sponges. A slot for your “good sponge” (used for countertop and dishes) and “evil sponge” (sink and drain) helps you keep track of your scrubbers without sacrificing space or style. The Spongester's smart shape prevents cross-contamination. It features bendable, semiperforated shelves that encourage drainage and inhibit bacterial growth.
There are prettier sponge holders out there, but this one is brilliant. I have tried so many ways to keep my sponges separate but close by, but my kids are not so discerning when choosing a sponge or when tossing it back in the general direction from which it came.
The Spongester has solved this problem for me. The “evil” sponge sits on the bottom rack, and the “good” sponge resides on the more accessible top shelf. The labels for them are not that obvious, but it's more work to get to the less-than-desirable sponge, so the kids don't make the effort. It is also very clear where that good sponge goes when it's time to return it: on the empty stainless-steel plate staring them in the face.
The Spongester blends with my stainless-steel sink and has a modern, sturdy design with excellent air circulation. Without means to test for bacteria, I can't say if it lessens cross-contamination, but, at least, I know where my sponges have been.
The Spongester is only as effective as the people who use it.
This small, attractive, double-decker stainless-steel rack was designed to help cooks and those who wash dishes keep track of the “good sponge” you use for countertops and dishes and the “evil sponge” you use for sink and drain cleaning.
If you live alone and have the discipline to put the sponge back in the proper slot, it can be useful. But my household consists of four adults, each of whom has a different view of how, when and whether to use the racks.
Despite diligent, detailed explanations of the concepts and placement involved and frequent reminders, the practice of putting the sponges back where they belong never caught on.
Over a week's time, the top rack became — at varying times — a temporary resting place for sponges from a variety of tasks, the sink's drainer basket, a bar of soap and two wine corks.
But even in the most disorganized of homes, the Spongester had one undeniably useful feature: Its semiperforated shelves enable whatever is placed there to dry out between uses and, theoretically, slow bacterial growth.
As a bit of a germophobe, I love the concept of separate dish and counter sponges.
However, I'm shocked by the price: $28 for a couple of pieces of bent metal? C'mon! Maybe I just don't truly appreciate industrial-grade stainless steel.
The sloping design has backfired in my kitchen a few times. In other words, both good and evil sponges too often wind up in my sink rather than airing out in bacteria-free land.
Again, kudos to the concept. But I'm confounded by the price.