10 Clever Ways to Use Kitchen Sponges + How to Sanitize

by | Read time: 5 minutes

Starting off as a kitchen essential, sponges have pretty much become an all-purpose tool. Their absorbent material and scrubbing capabilities make sponges perfect for cleaning, DIY and art projects. While you may already be using sponges a lot of different ways, we guarantee there are at least a few you haven’t thought of.

Since we clearly love sponges, we decided to show off the many uses of them, including how to clean and maintain sponges, how to actually make your own, and a list of our tried-and-true favorites.

Woman Wiping Down Houseplant Leaves with Damp Sponge | Vitacost.com/Blog

10 ways to use sponges

  1. Cleaning: In addition to sloughing off stubborn food bits on dishes, sponges are great for scrubbing tight corners, refrigerator, freezer and cabinet shelves, bathtubs, yoga mats and more. Use a damp sponge to remove dust from houseplants and surfaces.
  2. Ice pack: Wet a sponge and toss it in the freezer. Before you know it, you have a reusable ice pack ready whenever you need it. The perk of using a sponge? Less leaks as the ice melts.
  3. Keep produce fresh: By lining your crisper with sponges, the extra moisture from the produce will be absorbed and will help keep your veggies and fruits healthy and crisp for longer.
  4. Deodorize fridge: Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and place it in your fridge to keep it smelling fresh and clean. The baking soda and sponge soak up all the scents that can make your fridge smell a little off.
  5. Packing: Sponges make for a great bubble wrap replacement. They’re firm enough to hold shape, but have enough give to protect your valuables. Save up some sponges for your next move or spring-cleaning
  6. Remove nail polish: If you are looking for an eco-friendlier alternative to cotton balls, try this! Stuff a jar with a rolled-up sponge. Then, fill the jar with nail polish remover. Simply press your nail into the sponge and rub it around to remove nail polish quickly and mess-free!
  7. Sprout seeds: One of the coolest things a sponge can do is help sprout seeds. Lay out some wet sponges in a sunny spot, place seeds on top and cover with a glass bowl. Once your seeds have sprouted, simply transfer them from the makeshift greenhouse to a pot and watch them grow!
  8. Remove old wallpaper: Soak a sponge in a mixture of hot water and fabric softener and rub it all over the wallpaper you want to remove. This will help soften the paste and make for much easier removal.
  9. Remove pilling: You know those annoying balls of fabric that build up on your favorite sweater or sweatpants? Try removing them by taking the rough side of a sponge and rubbing the fabric in light circular motions. This will help keep your favorite comfort clothes feeling and looking brand new.
  10. Silent building blocks: Wooden building blocks are fun and all, but when they come crashing down they become a lot less fun. Cut colorful sponges into block-sized pieces and swap your kid’s favorite noisemaker with some quiet, colorful, stackable fun.

How to clean a sponge

While sponges can be great for cleaning and keeping bacteria out, they also can be a breeding ground for germs. The first way to keep your sponges safe is to make sure you don’t use the same sponge for different projects. If you have a dishwashing sponge, keep it only for dishwashing, if you have a wall-scrubbing sponge, leave it to the wall scrubbing and so on.

This will help eliminate cross contamination of germs. The second, and most important, way to ensure clean sponges is to wash them. Sponges should be cleaned as often as possible, even daily if you can manage it. Fortunately, cleaning sponges can be as easy as popping the sponge in the top rack of the dishwasher.

If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can let your sponges soak in a full-strength vinegar for 5-10 minutes to zap the bad bacteria. Give the sponge a good rinse before and after to get rid of food particles and flush out the vinegar.

How to make a sponge

Turns out that you can add sponges to the list of kitchen DIYs. With a few materials and some basic sewing skills, you can make your own sponges at home! They are easily washed in the washing machine or dishwasher and are a great way to save waste. The following how-to makes a single sponge, but feel free to make in batches of three or four.


  • 5×7-in. piece of printed cotton
  • 5×7-in. piece of an old hand towel
  • 5×7-in. to 6×8-in. piece of scrubbing material (i.e. produce netting, tulle, lace, netting)
  • Polyester stuffing
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins


  1. Layer the scrubbing material in between the hand towel and printed cotton pieces, which should both be facing each other – right-side in – then pin the layers together.
  2. Sew a ¼-in. seam around both long sides and one short side.
  3. Trim corners.
  4. Flip sponge right-side out.
  5. Fill sponge with polyester stuffing until it is full but not overflowing.
  6. Flip remaining open fabric inward and topstitch it closed.
  7. Add a ¼-in. topstitch around the whole sponge.

Tip: If using a scrubbing material that you think may melt in heat, avoid the dishwasher and instead wash on cool in the washing machine and let air dry.

Featured Products

Full Circle Recycled Scrubber Sponge | Vitacost.com/Blog
Full Circle Cleana Colada Coconut Scrubbing Sponges | Vitacost.com/Blog
Natural Value Kitchen Scrubber Sponge | Vitacost.com/blog