Scrub Daddy: Everything We Know About The Shark Tank Product

You've seen it smiling at you in your local grocery store, a rounded yellow foam pad with a mouth and two eyes. A unique way of presenting a generic household item, the sponge nearly makes you want to clean your dishes with its encouraging little grin. Known as Scrub Daddy, this sponge changed the cleaning world with its ability to adapt its texture based on water temperature. 

Firming up in cold water and softening in warm water, you can choose how serious of a scrub is needed for the hardened cheese dip awaiting you in your sink. Though the journey of actualizing this creation wasn't always filled with the joy this little ray of sunshine appears to have, it quickly became a product loved by scrubbers all over the world. The invention initially had some trouble taking off but success eventually followed when it found a place in the right hands.

The sponge has an origin story that may surprise you

A graduate of Syracuse University in New York state with a major in psychology, future Scrub Daddy father Aaron Krause had a post-college graduation desire to be more than an employee, seeing himself as a leader of a company, according to CEO Magazine. Making the decision to run a car washing business despite his not-so-thrilled parents, he soon found a problem with the everyday car sponge known as a buffing pad. There was another material Krause preferred called urethane, with an ability to stiffen and soften, which he found worked wonders for polishing vehicles. 

In 2006, Krause was working for a manufacturing company, where the initial idea of the Scrub Daddy was born before it went full swing, according to the product's website. While working in a factory as a manufacturer with over a decades' worth of experience making urethane foam buffing pads, now came the problem of removing dirt from his soiled factory hands. So, with a bit more research, he took matters into his own hands.

The smiling sponge idea was nearly forgotten about

With two holes, a rounded shape, and a bright yellow exterior, the early version of the polymer Scrub Daddy was designed to comfortably clean dirtied hands. As explained on Scrub Daddy's website, Krause introduced them to several auto body businesses, though rejection followed as the product failed to appeal to Krause's anticipated audience. Eventually, Krause found some luck, selling his older urethane buffing pads to a large manufacturing company known as 3M, according to CEO Magazine

However, the company saw no future in Krause's idea of the Scrub Daddy and left the product behind. With seemingly no hope for the growth of his now multi-million dollar business, the inventor placed his sponges with eyes (the smile hadn't been thought up yet) into a box, storing it deep at the back of his factory, labeling them "scraps." Over two years passed, and one day his wife asked him to clean their lawn furniture, and when Krause decided to use his old Scrub Daddies to do the job, his view on them changed forever.

Scrub Daddy's facial features are there to help you clean

What made the Scrub Daddy like no other, are its features, each with a purpose. No part of the Scrub Daddy isn't functional, not even its sunny disposition, giving you a little motivation when you're tackling a sink filled with burnt pans and grubby who-knows-what. It's got two eyes and a mouth, even a subtle buzzed "haircut," all made from a material known as ResoFoam, which according to Bon Appétit offers a better grip. To clean, say, a beer glass, one's fingers can be placed in the eye holes for an even better grasp. 

Washing spoons and forks is no problem if you simply insert the utensil into Scrub Daddy's sliver-of-a-mouth to make all your sparkly dish wishes come true. The sponge's superpower also lies in its resistance to odor after a thorough clean-up on kitchen surfaces, as opposed to the common dish sponge requiring much soaking when dirtied. Scrub Daddy is also scratch-free, a characteristic that has made this product stand out.

Scrub Daddy is one of the most successful products to come out of Shark Tank

In 2012, Krause's cheeky innovation made it on ABC's "Shark Tank," a show where budding entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to featured investors and ask for funding. The confident, enthusiastic entrepreneur first wowed the sharks with his fast and efficient infomercial-like presentation. Self-proclaimed "Daddy of the Scrub Daddy," he announced his product to be "The cutest, but most high-tech scrubbing tool in the world" continuing with a demonstration of the sponge's incredible resilience against hard-to-remove substances like burnt cheese. 

Finishing on a high note, he assured them, "With your help, Scrub Daddy will be scrubbing and smiling in every kitchen in the world." Looking for a $100,000 investment for a 10% stake in the company as seen in his presentation, the entrepreneur, according to Smart Company, settled for a $200,000 investment partnering with Lori Greiner, an American entrepreneur and investor on the reality show. Now, the little sponge that could has been sold worldwide, including at Kroger, one of several top international retailers (via Businesswire).

Scrub Mommy is also a thing, and so are other Scrub sponges

For those of you wondering, "Is there a Scrub Mommy? And if so, Scrub Children?" Unfortunately, Scrub Children have not made it to the market yet, though Krause introduced Scrub Mommy a little after, and according to The Kitchn, she's got more cleaning power. The scrubbing device is just a tad more advanced than her paternal counterpart, with an added layer of soft texture closely resembling that of your everyday sponge. Of course, she's got the original technology that made this product famous — the firmer side for hard-to-get food residue when soaked in cold water. 

Along with Scrub Mommy's general ability to withstand more wear and tear, she's not the only alternative version to Scrub Daddy. BBQ Daddy is meant to clean rough surfaces subject to all-things-BBQ, as well as limited edition sponges like Scrub Mommy Cat, Scrub Daddy Dog, and a seasonal Halloween pumpkin shape have come out as well, as seen via the company's product page

So the next time you're desperately in need of a strong cleaning partner that won't let you down, maybe give a smiley-face sponge a try.

Krause is busier than ever growing the Scrub Daddy company

How much success can a sponge with the personality of a grinning baby have? Well, millions of dollars worth, as the company is valued at $150 million and expected to pull in more than $100 million in 2022, according to Techie Gamers. The site predicts that lifetime sales will surmount $300 million in total by December 2022. Now that's something for the sponge to be smiling about, considering Krause's own estimated net worth of $70 million.

According to the site, the entrepreneur has been unstoppable since his appearance on "Shark Tank" selling 42,000 sponges within seven minutes the day following his successful pitch with the help of Lori Greiner. The Scrub Daddy company is now the third-largest U.S. sponge retailer.

The cleaning product seller opened its first brick-and-mortar store in May of 2022, moving from Folcroft, Pennsylvania to New Jersey, according to Delco.Today. Called The Smile Shop, the dedicated space takes up 900 square feet out of the 116,000 square foot facility worth $10.7 million. Doubling up as a museum featuring Krause's family history, buyers can purchase their cleaning tools in bulk and take photos alongside the Scrub Daddy and Mommy mascots. The Scrub Daddy Smile Shop features newer items such as microfiber cloths, a straw cleaning kit, an eraser, and of course, Scrub Daddy sponges in fun colors and shapes. 

The Scrub Daddy has a lot more uses than cleaning dirty dishes

It's typical to associate sponges with plates and spoons, but Scrub Daddy has a lot more to it than being your one-purpose cleaner. There are many creative ways to include the sponge in other scrubbing routines, according to The Fun Times Guide. If your newly bought vegetables like potatoes need a gentle cleanse, the product can be used to brush dirt off as well as pesticides. Say you need to later peel those vegetables over your sink, make sure to place Scrub Daddy on top of the drain to avoid escaping food scraps.

Dog toys can also be the subject of a thorough scrubby wash, as can gardening tools like lawnmowers and shovels. Dedicating some of your Scrub Daddies for gently removing things like paint on skin or exfoliating elbows works too, according to the site. Other uses like wiping bugs off of car windows, washing your dog for bath time, and scouring the residue off the inside of a fish tank are all perfect moments to let your Scrub Daddy be the star of your cleaning day.

How does it compare to other sponge items?

There are a couple things that users say put the Scrub Daddy ahead of the common dish sponge. Its ability to rinse clean and scrub dishes free of scratches are just some reasons the sponge out-performs others like the brand Scotch-Brite, according to tests conducted on Your Best Digs. After a series of trials, they report that ergonomically, the cleaning tool's eyes and mouth are not just there for aesthetic purposes but that they really do make cleaning the bottom of glasses easier, unlike objects on the market being sold with fun features that don't contribute to a function. The article also mentions that the time it takes to dry is significantly less than that of competitors, making it less prone to bacteria buildup, taking a little over seven hours to reach peak dryness.

Although its cost runs a little higher than older sponge brands, many users seem to be okay with paying for the quality Scrub Daddy brings, according to Southern Living. The sponge's toughness against irksome scents that can arise from a kitchen sink is worthy of note for this item. The review shares that Scrub Daddy boasts over eight thousand five-star reviews on Amazon, and the product is not disappointing its users.

Scrub Daddy products are now more than just sponges

Sponges aren't the only thing that found their way to the marketplace from the Scrub Daddy company. Browsing its online Smile Shop, a Scrub Daddy fan can find a range of unique non-sponge items. One such item is a pool float if you'd like to take a dip in the water with the icon himself, this product runs 4 feet long for around $35. Eraser Daddy is also an option if you need a heavy-duty way to wipe away stains on hard household items. And if your phone screen needs a little care, Screen Daddy is there to back you up with its small, finger-sized microfiber pad that can be used to restore your eyeglasses, even. Merchandise items are also available, such as a bib for "Scrub Babies" and T-Shirts marked "Scrub Mommy" and of course, "Scrub Daddy" in the company's classic yellow lettering. 

The website does have other spins on the original product, such as a distressed version of their sponge called Sad Daddy, appearing like a fun collector's item, but still just as functional so long as you hold your spoon upside down to clean it via its depressed mouth.

The sponge has a viral social media presence despite the fact that it's ... you know, a sponge

The sponge's persona via TikTok is unlike any other ads for sponges you've probably seen. The platform greatly helped the product reach a wider audience, Good Housekeeping tells us.

With over two million followers, the company is nothing short of online content. The cleaning tool, despite its lack of human cognition, is presented as having a sneaky, somewhat deranged personality, including one video where a giant version of Scrub Daddy pushes a person to the floor for using a generic sponge. In another short bit, Scrub Daddy gets tricked into a silly joke by yet another typical-looking sponge, and Scrub Daddy is shown lighting it on fire as revenge, grinning maliciously. Despite making an inanimate object a scary character you wouldn't want to mess with, the managers behind the account aren't lacking in the humor department.

According to Insider, Krause reads all social media comments written by scrubbers who take to the company's social media. Due to Scrub Daddy's online presence surging in the last couple of years, the brand has seen viral success. As for the entrepreneurial-minded Krause, he uses his company's TikTok as a device to track and evaluate sales via links in his short videos.

The company has a recycling program

By now, you might be thinking about one vital aspect — can you dispose of Scrub Daddies in an eco-friendly way? The answer is yes, and it is due to Krause's efforts to build a sustainable company. The brand launched a recycling initiative on Earth Day of 2021 it deemed as its Recycling Rewards program, according to an article published by Bloomberg. Krause announced at the time, via the site, that he is "proud to produce the first fully recyclable sponge line," adding that he'd like to turn the company green using means like solar-powered energy.

How does this program work for the everyday scrubber? According to the product's website, this initiative turns "foam into fuel," thanks to something known as Alternative Engineered Fuel. Users send back their eligible worn-out items and get a two dollar credit added for future online purchases in exchange. In the meantime, the soon-to-be green sponges arrive at the Scrub Daddy headquarters, and are later broken down at an industrial recycling location. Later on, these reusable materials are combined with other non-toxic scraps and transformed into fuel. This serves as food for cement kilns that make concrete for roads.

Scrub Daddy's CEO teaches the importance of work to his children

If hard workers power a company's success, Krause is certainly no exception. In an interview with CNBC, he explains how he learned the value of money before becoming an adult. He now makes his teenage children contribute around the house, from cleaning after their pet to soaping cars clean, with plans to make them pitch in for rent down the line as well as an earned allowance. Valuing a strong work ethic, Krause told CNBC that he would like his children to "understand the fact that living isn't free."

Attributing these core values and the ways they've been effective in his own life to the methods his parents used to raise him, Krause finds it essential that his children learn the importance of making their own money. As a child, the budding entrepreneur was assigned chores from his father that would, in turn, fund his lifestyle. He washed cars for $10 and made his bed for a couple of bucks. When he turned 10 years old, his father deemed him financially responsible to purchase his own necessities like clothing, he told CNBC. With each new year came an added expense, which a young Krause had to buy with the money he earned, saying "It was washing cars that gave me so much business experience."