15 Ways to Use a Sponge That Go Way Beyond Doing the Dishes

Sure, you use one to occasionally scrub your pots or wipe down your countertops, but most days you don’t give your sponge much thought. Well, guess what? You’ll be looking at that three-pack very differently once you figure out the multitude of ways sponges can be used around the home besides cleaning. From getting crafty with the kids and sprouting seeds to preserving produce and making ice packs, sponges are the ultimate multi-tasker. Here are 15 different ways to use a sponge that have nothing to do with scouring tough messes.

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1. Sprout Seeds

Sponges make starting a little garden that much easier since they aid in creating a greenhouse effect for your budding plants. Simply grab a plate, place a damp sponge in the middle, sprinkle your seeds on top and place a glass bowl on top. Then prepare to be amazed as tiny buds appear over time.

2. Make ice packs

Injuries are inevitable (especially when you have younger kids at home) so it’s a good idea to have a couple of drip-free ice packs handy. Make a DIY ice pack by dipping your sponge in some water, placing it in a Ziploc bag and popping it in the freezer overnight. Bonus: you can also place the frozen sponge in a lunch box to keep those snacks nice and cool.

3. Seal letters

Whether it’s sending out thank you notes for your birthday or holidays cards to your entire extended family, you can save yourself from licking that horrid glue on envelopes by using a damp sponge to wet the seal instead.

4. Make art

Keeping kids entertained is no easy feat these days but believe it or not, sponges are a great asset. Cut up several sponges into different shapes and have your kids dip them in paint to create all the arts and craft their imaginations can conjure up.

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5. Craft building blocks for kids

So, you’ve got a work call at 3 p.m. and need to keep your kids entertained…and quiet. Nix all the clicking and clanking from your kids’ usual toys by slicing up some sponges to turn them into soft yet stackable building blocks.

6. Make nail polish remover pot

Create a nail polish remover pot by rolling a sponge into a small glass jar, then pouring some nail polish remover inside. Now, each time you need to rid yourself of that chipping manicure, simply dip your fingers inside and the sponge handles it for you. Just remember to make sure the lid is shut tight when not in use in order for the sponge to retain its moisture.

7. Make toe separators

Doing your own pedicure can be a bit tricky (cue nail polish all over your foot) but chopping up bits of a sponge to place in-between your toes can make the process easier. Keep those separators on hand for every pedi and you’ve got yourself an environmentally-friendly alternative to using paper towels.

8. Remove odors

Between all the produce and leftovers that come in and out of your refrigerator it’s easy for icky smells to linger. The fix: Grab a damp sponge, sprinkle some baking powder on top and place it in the back or in a corner away from food. Rinse and repeat daily. Ah, so fresh and so clean.

9. Keep vegetables fresh

Did you know that sponges can extend the life span of your produce? Pop a dry sponge in the veggie compartment of your fridge so it absorbs any extra moisture, and you’ll have crunchy broccoli for a few more days.

10. Make a soap holder

Does your bar of soap practically melt away in that plastic soap dish? Putting a sponge in there will solve this problem. Why? The sponge will absorb all the water and suds off your bar of soap, so it lasts a bit longer. Easy-peasy.

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11. Protect hardwood floors

Sponges are a great DIY solution for when the felt circles come off your chair’s legs and you don’t want to scratch up your floor. Cut up corresponding pieces, glue them to the leg and you’re good to go.

12. Remove pill from sweaters

A textured sponge can help remove any pill that rolls up on your favorite sweater. Just be sure to be gentle when you’re rubbing the pills off to avoid any major snags.

13. Make reusable dryer sponges

Save on buying dryer sheets by making your own reusable dryer sponges. Grab a couple of soft sponges, place them in a container and fill it with a cup of fabric softener. Let the sponges soak overnight. When you’re ready to dry your clothes, wring out the liquid and pop the sponges in the dryer.

14. Provide padding for umbrella stands

Rainy days mean water dripping all over the place. However, placing a couple of sponges at the bottom of your umbrella stands means no water will be seeping into the rest of your house and messing up your floors or carpet. Genius.

15. Remove pet hair

We all love our four-legged friends, but cleaning their fur is not exactly a walk in the park. A textured sponge can make the process easier, however. Just dampen it in some water and wipe your couches, carpets and wherever needed.

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Stephanie Sengwe

Resident Hufflepuff, Beyonce historian, self-proclaimed tea sommelier

Steph is a native of Zimbabwe who is both enamored and genuinely baffled by the concept of silent letters. From 2020 to 2022, she served as Associate Editor at PureWow covering...
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