A few weeks ago I was strolling through a little resort town in southwest Michigan with some friends, poking in and out of gift shops, when we encountered a bin full of something labelled "Swedish Dishcloths."
They sheets, about 6 inches by 8 inches, were stiff and looked almost like notecards, but the explanatory label pretty much promised that they were some kind of miracle kitchen product- a cross between a sponge and a dishcloth, made of a mix of cellulose and cotton that cleaned surfaces with or without spray cleaners, buffed stainless to a streak-free shine, and cooked dinner for you. (Okay, not that last one.)
Plus, they were cute. So I bought one.
And you know what? They ARE awesome! They apparently last forever (mine is still like new after more than a month) because you can wash them in the dishwasher or washing machine, and in a pinch they can be sterilized by microwaving for a minute while damp. They dry to a stiff sheet but soften immediately in water. As promised, they do a great job shining countertops and even stainless steel appliances with just water, no drying needed.
Ever since I was reminded how gross kitchen sinks and surfaces are (more germs than your toilet! Yummy!) I've been looking for a way to keep my counter sponge and my dishes sponge clearly and obviously separate so people don't mix them up- these make it easy!
Plus, look, a ton of cute designs:
These are all from Scandanavian Stitches (and there are dozens more designs on that site, including a bunch of cute holiday ones) but a quick google search of "Sweedish Dishcloths" shows dozens of places to buy them. I think they'd make a really great, low-key hostess gift (cute and practical! Win and win!) I paid about $6 for mine -- more than your average sponge, for sure, but given how much longer it lasts than a typical sponge, definitely worth it.
(All pictures from: scandanavianstitches.com)