Gadgets: Scrubr by Lunatec
I can hear it now ... "A dishcloth??? That's not a gadget!"
Technically, maybe not, but dishcloths and scrubbie things are pretty common in any kitchen. The problem with the traditional cotton dishcloth or sponge is that they can harbor bacteria, get moldy, and become generally disgusting pretty quickly.
We all know that you're supposed to change that sponge often, zap it in the microwave, put it in the dishwasher...and that dishcloth should go into the wash...
But nobody's perfect. Sometimes we need to protect ourselves from our own bad habits.
The Scrubr ($6.25/2) is a dishcloth that was originally marketed to campers because it doesn't stay wet—it's made from something they call QuickDri, which feels sort of plastic-y. Because the fibers don't absorb any water, it rinses clean and dries out completely, meaning you're not packing a wet dishcloth into your gear.
At home, the point is that it dries out completely so you don't have a wet cloth that's going to start accumulating bacteria.
I put this thing to the test, using it normally and letting it dry, and then being abusive by leaving it where it would stay damp instead of drying out between uses. After a lot of abuse, it did look a bit worse for wear with some staining, but it still was in usable condition. It actually held up better than one of those plastic scrubbie things that tend to fray and come apart pretty quickly.
The downside to this cloth is that since it doesn't absorb liquid, it doesn't hang onto soap very well, either. Rinse it under running water to wash off bits of debris, and it's soap-free as well. Whether that matters or not depends on your dishwashing style.
It's also not particularly useful for sopping up wet spills. Duh.
About the author: Resident yeast whisperer and bread baking columnist Donna Currie also has a serious gadget habit. When her father-in-law heard about this column, he upgraded the nickname for her kitchen from "gadget world" to "gadget heaven." You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie.
Disclaimer: Testing samples were provided to Serious Eats.