9 Simple Sponge Hacks Everyone Should Know

published Mar 11, 2018
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

For such an unassuming object, kitchen sponges are kind of rock stars. In addition to being responsible for getting our dishes and utensils clean, these thirsty squares can be repurposed in ways we haven’t even thought of yet. But, rest assured, the ways we do know of prove pretty darn ingenious.

What makes these cellulose scrubbers even more amazing, of course, is that they are relatively affordable — it won’t set you back much to go buy a bunch (most sponges are less than $1 a piece). And, after reading some of the most clever sponge hacks, that’s precisely what you’ll want to do. How do we love thee, kitchen sponges? Let us count the ways.

Turn it into a nail polish remover

Take a task as inane as removing finger nail polish and make it fun by creating a custom nail polish remover… from a sponge! Cut a sponge in half, roll it up, stick it in a jar, and pour in nail polish remover. When you need to get your nail polish off in a hurry, pop your finger into the jar and give it a few vigorous twirls.

Add essential oils

No one has ever accused a kitchen sponge of smelling good. That can all change, though, if you give this aromatic trick a try! To cut back on germs, clean your sponge with a mix of essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemon. Not only will do the oils destroy bacteria, but they also make your sponge smell lovely.

Cut off a corner

When it comes to the sponges you use to clean your dishes and utensils, make like Elsa and let it go. Once a week (or month, depending on what frequency you’re comfortable with), cut the corner off of your kitchen sponge to designate it as a utility sponge. Then, when you need a sponge for heavy duty detail like scrubbing car tires or cleaning the trash can, reach for the one with the corner cut off.

Toss it in the microwave

Have you looked in your microwave lately? If you’re anything like me, you likely try to avert your gaze to avoid the food particles splattered all over it like a Jackson Pollack painting. The good news is your sponge can make life a little easier here. Just get it wet, then toss it in the microwave for three to five minutes. Let it sit for a few more afterwards, and the steam will loosen up gunk so you can wipe it away.

Soak it in glue

If you have kids or work with them, glue could very well be the bane of your existence. Thankfully, some very clever person figured out how to hack kitchen sponges to solve the messy-glue-hand-crisis. Simply soak a sponge in glue inside of a cheap plastic container overnight, and you’ll have a no-muss, no-fuss way to apply glue so it ends up on construction paper instead of your couch.

Freeze that sucker

Tired of buying those fancy reusable ice packs only for your kids to accidentally trash them with their lunch leftovers? Have no fear, your sponge is here. Pop a soaking wet one in a plastic zip-top bag and stick it in the freezer overnight. Voila! An easy ice pack that is reusable and affordable.

Stuff it with tongs

Don’t fall for those QVC ads hawking pricy products to clean awkward spots like fan blades and blinds. Instead, save yourself a pretty penny by repurposing sponges for the job. Just grab two, cut slits in their tops (or on their ends), and stick the heads of tongs into the openings. Then you can use them to quickly wipe down those tricky surfaces.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Give it new life in the laundry room

If the idea of never-ending dryer sheets makes you nerd out, you’ve come to the right place. Using little more than fabric softener, a plastic container, and a box of sponges, you can make your very own reusable “dryer sponges” to keep clothes soft and fresh-smelling.

Curl your coif with it

Yes, you read that right. Thanks to genius beauty blogger Charmie Jane, we now know that you can get beautiful, beachy waves the healthy, no-heat way by using sponges. Jane recommends rolling your hair in sponges, securing them with hair ties, and then sleeping in them. The next morning, you should awaken to lovely loose curls.