Sponges and paper towels together offer a disposable option in place of rags. But, at Willow house, we do not really dispose of them.
This is Dad's illustrated life cycle of a sponge: You buy it, you use it for dishes, you cut off one corner and use it for counters, you cut off another corner and move it to the bathroom to scrub the floor.
These are our sponges. The green ones are really, really clinging to phase one of the cycle. If that is the piece of steel wool I think it is, we have been using it for more than a year.
I replaced one of the dish sponges, and I just threw away the soft, saggy sponge it was replacing, because the counter and floor sponges were in better shape than it.