11 Surprising Ways to Use Sponges (Other than Washing Dishes)

updated May 29, 2020
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Sponges have become kind of controversial in the last year or so—who knew so much could be said about a piece of cellulose? Maybe you’ve decided to make the permanent switch to microfiber cloths or scrubby brushes when it comes to dish duty? Luckily, those sponges you already have in your cleaning cabinets won’t go to waste. There are a million things you can do with all those leftover sponges. Well, at least 11.

1. Sprout some seeds.

Have you always wanted an herb garden but never really known where to start? Start with a sponge! Here’s what you do. Put a damp sponge on a plate, place your seeds on the sponge, giving them a little bit of wiggle room, then place a glass bowl on top (kind of like a terrarium). Keep it where it will get plenty of light and watch your seeds sprout!

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

2. Give your plants the right amount of water.

Once you’ve got seedlings, you can use sponges to make sure they have the right amount of water. Cut a sponge to fit the bottom of a pot, fill with soil, then plant your growing herb. The sponge will make sure that herb doesn’t drown if you accidentally overwater it.

3. Absorb excess humidity in your fridge.

Some foods (mostly fruits, especially citrus) don’t love humidity. Set your crisper drawer to the low humidity setting—and throw in a sponge. It’ll absorb any excess moisture so your lemons stay fresher longer.

4. Make writing thank you notes easier.

You can never write too many thank you notes. Who doesn’t love a handwritten note in the mail? But sealing all those notes? Not so much fun. Make it easier by using a damp sponge to do the trick—and save your tongue.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

5. Make ice packs.

This has to be one of our favorite sponge hacks. Get your sponge wet and give it a little squeeze, put it in a zip-top bag, and freeze. Then, pack it in a lunch box or bag.

6. Make sponge art with your kids.

Snip those sponges into cute shapes and let your kids dip and stamp to their heart’s content. Speaking of hearts, with Valentine’s Day coming up, this would be an adorable way to make some custom cards for classmates.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

7. DIY a nail-polish remover jar.

If you have a Mason jar, nail polish remover, and a sponge, you can make your own nail-polish remover jar—which makes getting rid of that week-old manicure so much easier.

8. Pad your valuables.

Because they are squishy and can bend and conform to fit weird spaces, sponges make great padding for delicate items, like Christmas tree ornaments (hint, hint: Have you put your’s away yet?).

9. Remove pills from sweaters.

A textured sponge can be used to de-fuzz your sweaters. Just gently rub your sweater with the sponge (you’ll need one with a textured side) and you’ll be good to go!

10. Remove wallpaper.

Wallpaper stays on your wall due to an adhesive—which makes it stick, but also makes it difficult to unstick. Sponge to the rescue! Soak your sponge in a solution of fabric softener and hot water, squeeze out excess water, and gently wipe your walls. It’ll loosen the adhesive and make it easier to remove the wallpaper.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

11. Protect your floors.

There’s no need to run out to buy those special felt circles that protect your floors—just cut out small pieces and use glue to attach them to the bottoms of the legs on your chairs and sofa.

Do you have any other super-smart ways to put sponges to good use? Tell us about them in the comments below.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: 11 Surprising Ways to Use Sponges (Other than Washing Dishes)