I used to buy kitchen sponges in the supermarket that were about 1/2 inch thick, with a layer of sandpaper-like grit on one side. They were great for the REALLY tough jobs, like when you want to scrub off your deep-fried turkey pot where the oil is burnt black on the sides and bottom. I can't find them anymore, I guess they stopped making them. But I can't find anything that comes close to comparing. What I do now is buy the carpentry sanding sponges that come in fine, medium, coarse grit, they are black and have the grit on all sides, sometimes with one angled, pointy side. I'm sure they're not food grade, so I use them, then rinse off whatever I'm scrubbing and do a final clean with a kitchen sponge and soap. It works, but I don't like the smell of them, not sure if it's carpentry glue or whatever, and I'm not sure that I'm not introducing really dangerous chemicals into my food environment, in spite of my precautions.
Does anyone else remember these sponges, or do you know where you can get them? I've tried googling, no luck. Do you know if doing what I do is dangerous? Any better ideas? I haven't found anything in the kitchen aisle that even comes close to their scrubbing potential.