Home > Safety First > Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge Leaks Blue Dye

Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge Leaks Blue Dye

Scotch Brite Non Scratch Scrub Sponge 3M

3M is a reputable company that has many product lines.  One of them is the Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge.  There are many people who use this scrub sponge for their dishwashing and other scrubbing needs.

However, it is disturbing to know that from early uses, the Scrub Sponge leaks a blue dye.  Below are “before and after” pictures of the Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge product and a bowl of water.  The picture on the right was taken after the sponge was squeezed under the water a couple of times.  Notice the bluish hue in the “after” picture.

Before and After Scotch Brite Non Scratch use

An inquiry has been made to 3M about safety concerns regarding the blue dye and its exact chemical composition.  We are waiting for the company’s answer.  Meanwhile,  we invite others using this product to test whether blue dye is leaking from their Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge during the first couple of uses.  Happy Baby USA has tested this product 10 different times.  And for all 10 out of 10 times, the tests show blue dye leaking from the scrub sponges. (This product was purchased from Costco in bulk).  If more people inquire through the 3M website, a quicker response may come and a possible corrective action may be taken.

3M Website Scotch Brite

Click the picture to enter the Scotch-Brite website from 3M

Happy Baby USA will keep you posted on any updates concerning this matter.  If anyone else receives a response, please feel free to reply below.   In the meantime, Happy Baby USA strongly recommends not using the Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge for dishwashing and cookware use.

  1. March 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    A reply from 3M:

    “Thank you for contacting 3M, the innovation company; Home Care Division.

    On occasion the sponges have an excess amount of color dye that may have bled upon initial use. The name/make up of the dye is proprietary but we can assure you it is not harmful.

    We are sending you replacement product. We are also including a Postage Paid Label for return of the original sponges to our Quality Assurance Lab for evaluation. We apologize for this inconvenience and want to assure you that this is not the norm.”

    Unfortunately this doesn’t explain 10 out of 10 times the leakage of blue dye from the Scotch-Brite Non Scratch Scrub Sponges purchased in bulk from Costco.

    Happy Baby USA also question whether the blue dye is truly safe. A deeper Investigation is needed to determine this.

    (A request for the material safety data sheet “MSDS” on the proprietary dye has been made…)

    • SM
      April 5, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      we saw the same issues in the set that we bought from costco. It is a scotch brite – non scratch scrub sponge.

  2. March 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    After further investigation into this matter, this problem seem to be a known matter and was acknowledged by a phone call to customer service. The representative advised washing the sponge with water until the dye stopped bleeding. Once again the representative reiterated that the dye is “non-toxic” and the name of the dye cannot be revealed because it is a “proprietary dye”. A request for the MSDS was made but the representative said that there is no safety data sheet on that sponge – the reason being that it is “not a chemical”. The representative did say that the blue dye is widely used in other 3M products and once again assured its non-toxicity.

    With that said 3M website DOES provide MSDS for various products including “sponges”. The next link shows the MSDS search for the words “scotch”, “brite”, “sponge – http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/MSDS/Search/?gsaAction=msdsSRA&type=p&search.x=10&search.y=15&snum=10&type=p&co=ptn&msdsLocale=en_US&q=scotch+brite+sponge&num=10&start=0

    There is a similar product showing the MSDS for the Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges shown in this link – http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawebserver?mwsId=SSSSSuUn_zu8l00xMxmBMxmvnv70k17zHvu9lxtD7SSSSSS–

    As one can see in the MSDS for the Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge, the ingredients show – water, cellulose scrub sponge, various colors, magnesium chloride and metal polymer complex (denoted as a trade secret). Potential health effects show – mild eye irritation, mild skin irritation and gastrointestinal irritation. Whether the irritations denoted in the MSDS are occuring due to the color itself or metal polymer complex currently remains a mystery.

    MgCl, a type of salt, is probably used to keep the sponge moist in the package with a natural antibacterial and antifungal properties.

    Metal polymer complex – probably has bacteriostatic and antifungal properties but its true purpose – most likely is the composition for the scrub on top of the sponge.

    Various colors – a “proprietary dye” from 3M – exact composition is currently unknown

    Since the Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge is in the color blue, it would be easier to see the bleeding vs. the Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge which is in a yellow color. If the chemical composition of the “proprietary” dye is similar in yellow or blue, it would be interesting to see whether yellow dye is also leaking from the Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge.

    Unfortunately the MSDS for the “non-scratch” sponge scrub is either not available or not posted on the 3M website. Further research is needed to identify whether the properties not only the dye but the “other” ingredients in the Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge is truly safe/non-toxic or not. We can only infer some of the properties at the moment with comparisons to its cousin – the Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge.

  3. March 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    The most immediate concern of the leakage of the blue dye are 2 main issues:

    1. The accidental staining of other objects due to the leaking of the blue dye from the scrub sponge.

    2. Safety concerns such as accidental/ indirect consumption of the dye residuals or other possible chemicals left on the dishes or other cookware… or possible contact dermatitis from the dye.

    A finished product should not leak blue dye – essentially a proprietary chemical whose toxicological properties have not been revealed yet.

    Hopefully both will be rectified or addressed by 3M soon.

  4. Sharka
    April 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    This sponge is toxic. My body reacts to toxic material quite precisely and I should have not use this sponge, feeling quite sick. Labeling not clear of course..

  5. sarah
    August 26, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Thank you for this artical! The other day I grabbed a new sponge and washed dishes. Noticed the water was blue when I was done. Within a few minutes a started seeing red bumps all over my right hand, then my left hand and they started itching. It has been 3 days and is worse than ever and spread up my arms. This is the second time this has happened and also the 2nd sponge I’ve used out of that pack. Sad thing is, I only bought them because my husband doesn’t like the cheaper sponges I usually buy. Something is definitely wrong with these and they need to look into it.

  6. August 26, 2013 at 9:44 am

    You may have experienced an allergic reaction to the blue dye in the sponge or possibly something else that is unseen leaking from the sponge. Actually, I also had a similar experience. After the “above” experiment my hands also turned itchy and red. I also had a localized rash to the hands but it lasted for a few hours. I did not write that experience in the article because I needed more documented proof and confirmation.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Your comment will bring more people to come forward and speak out on their experience with the so called “non-toxic” blue-dyed sponge.

  7. caitydid
    November 15, 2013 at 2:13 am

    I just used a similar product, the scotch brite sponge, but instead of blue mine is yellow. I could still see bright yellow water pouring out of the sponge. I rinsed it, and then put dish soap on it and rinsed it some more. It is still leaking bright yellow water. I haven’t been able to find anything else about this. No info on the dye, or if this is normal. I’ll definitely be making sure me and my roommates buy natural, non dyed sponges from now on. Gross.

  8. Angeli
    November 19, 2013 at 1:24 am

    I also used the Scotch Brite sponge in yellow and as I did my dishes, noticed yellow water pouring out of the sponge onto my dishes. I searched online for answers but I’m guessing it can’t be good to be dousing my dishes in dye. And similarly, I thought these were the “higher-end” sponges…

  9. Rae
    March 26, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Yup, having the same issue with the purple sponge. I bought it thinking it was a good brand ..

  10. Laurel
    April 11, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I recently noticed a rash on one of the fingers on my right hand. Didn’t think much of it, but then it spread to all four fingers. It is a slightly raised, bumpy red rash that doesn’t particularly hurt or itch, but looks alarming. It continues to spread over more surface of my fingers. I was trying to think of something I may have come in contact with that was different from usual, and then I remembered that my mother-in-law gave me a bunch of Scotch Brite sponges right before I first noticed the rash. And just like all the others on this site, I had noticed that the sponge was leaking a yellow dye! It was a little concerning to me at the time, but I hated to throw away so many brand new sponges, so I figured I would just use gloves when doing dishes. However, there have been a few times that I needed to wash something quickly and neglected to put on gloves first. It’s the only thing I can really think of that could be causing this rash. I’m going back to my regular sponges (Natural Value), which I have never had a problem with.

  11. Dave
    August 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    I bought one pack, very strong blue stuff coming out when washing dishes. After having food using the dishes, I feel my stomach was not comfortable. Which one I should use for washing dishes without health concern? I just need something to brush dirt way, nothing fancy. Please do not add these bad stuff in sponge.

  12. Patrick
    September 14, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I too have recently purchased this sponge from Costco. Blue dye leaching for me as well. As it turns out, it’s also left blue stains in my blue mixing bowl.

  13. September 14, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Very unfortunate that 3M refuses to directly address this problem. Something viral like a video on youtube showing that blue dye leaking with someone who gets acute dermatitis through contact of the blue dye will be needed for 3M to acknowledge outright that there is indeed a problem. Really thought about making a video but haven’t had the freedom to make one. Maybe someone out there will make one before I have to. Too bad 3M is not proactive about this matter – absolutely ridiculous.

  14. Shel_B
    May 7, 2015 at 7:04 am

    I have observed the blue dye coming from my sponges, and also a purple dye coming from another Scotch Brite Stay Clean sponge. This issue has been going on too long. I need to look into the situation further.

  15. Kurt Housh
    October 12, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    I’m planning to return the remaining sponges to Costco. If everyone returns their 10 pack, Costco will be contacting 3M for defective products.

    • October 12, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      Yes! Maybe a small movement can finally begin..

  16. leta
    October 25, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    I used a blue sponge to clean a small red pizza sauce stain on my carpet now my carpet is blue! New carpet too! A warning label that the sponge leaks blue dye would be nice. The sauce stain was less noticeable than the blue stain!

  17. Concerned Consumer
    December 15, 2015 at 2:28 am

    December 13, 2015

    Just began to wash my bathroom sink, popped open a new 4-pack of SCOTCH BRITE “Stay Clean” Non-Scratch Scrub Pads. Wet it a little and stopped to get the phone, set the sponge down and squeezed it….HOLY SHIT! It stained the cultured marble. It had a purple tone to it. Got the BarKeepers Friend cleanser (which I didn’t plan on using) to scrub it out. Then it dawned on me…this happened a few years ago with a big yellow sponge. I’m sorry..this is BULLSHIT 3M! Of course, they’re going to ask for the product back. I say keep one as hostage as an insurance policy for goodwill and honesty.

    Proprietary dye?…seeking refuge in that old corporate tactic…nice try….it’s been 32 months since 3M’s response to Happy Baby USA. What’s been done? Pawning it off to third world countries?

    Thank you Happy Baby USA for bringing this to the forefront!

  18. Priscilla
    March 15, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I just took out a brand new sponge from a 4 pack purchased at Target. And there is a signification amount of blue dye leaking everywhere. It immediately started leaking as soon as I ran it under running water. It turned my daughters high chair tray blue! Upon further inspection there is a visible bark blue spot where the dye is bleeding thru.

  19. Jocelyn
    May 13, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    We have the same problem. I purchased the blue sponges from Costco. Not only do they leak blue dye, they have a strong chemical smell. I’m throwing out the rest of the huge package of sponges.

    • May 13, 2016 at 11:36 pm

      Costco will refund your money back. It’s too bad few consumers are noticing this problem. I’m pretty sure it is prevelant in all of the blue sponges from Costco.

  20. July 31, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    I just used the blue sponge to wipe up a spot on my Mitchell Gold (very expensive!) sofa and now it has a blue stain on it. What about compensation for this?

  21. October 15, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Thanks so much to HappyBabyUSA for writing about these 3M sponges. I’m suspicious that 3M has refused (not *ubable to* – they’ve refused) to reveal this product’s ingredients. The company’s lack of transparency is certainly alarming.

    As for my personal experience, I discovered the purple Scotch-Brite Stay Clean sponge spitting out dye, then realized that the dish I was washing was covered with a film – as though I’d applied a conditioner to it.

    I don’t intend to purchase any more 3M products.

  22. Make 3M Products Great Again
    January 29, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    If it’s not a chemical, then how can it be proprietary? I am also seeing blue dye from this product, and was squeezing the sponge for 10 minutes and still see blue in the water. I give up.

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