Clever Household Uses for Sponges That Don’t Involve Doing Dishes

Clever Household Uses for Sponges That Don’t Involve Doing Dishes
Photo: Seamm, Shutterstock

As long-time Lifehacker readers may recall, we’re not always the biggest fans of sponges. The most obvious example of this sentiment is a 2019 post by former Lifehacker staffer Nick Douglas entitled “Every Sponge Is Bad,” but there are more.

However, this anti-sponge sentiment is largely directed at using them to wash dishes and/or wipe countertops and other high-touch areas in the kitchen and bathroom. And in fact, there are several other ways to use sponges around the house that don’t spread various pathogens to every surface they touch. Here are a few of those.

Prevent root rot in potted plants

As we wrote in August 2021, placing sponges at the bottom of pots for houseplants can help maintain the right levels of moisture, and in turn, prevent root rot.

DIY ice pack

Take a cue from your elementary school nurse, and use sponges to make DIY ice packs to use for everything from soothing playground injuries, to keeping your lunch cool throughout the day.

Simply soak a (clean) sponge in water, squeeze it out a bit, put it in a zip-top bag, and pop it in the freezer until you need it. When you’re done, refreeze it, and use it again.

Add texture to painting projects

Painting a wall with a roller may be faster, but if you’re looking to add some texture to a room, a sponge may be what you need. One option is to create a brick or faux-stone pattern with some painter’s tape, and a sponge that’s cut to size.

Another is to use a natural sea sponge in a circular pattern to achieve a variety of styles and textures. In addition to walls, you can also use these sponge painting techniques on furniture.

Clean fibreglass window screens

When your fibreglass window screens start getting dirty and dingy, clean them using a sponge and an automotive vinyl protectant like Armour All. All you need to do is hold the sponge on the backside of the screen when you spray the protectant, and then use the sponge to wipe down both sides of the screen.

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