Cleaning sponges are the staple things in our homes these days.
Without these cleaning materials, we cannot imagine completing our chores successfully in the bathroom, kitchen, dining room, and various parts at home.
The hard truth is, that you can only keep these areas in tip-top shape if you make a habit to clean them regularly.
While you cannot completely ignore these cleaning tasks, there are products like “cleaning sponges” that can make your job much easier.
But what are these sponges, what are the different types available, where you can use them, and how useful are they?
Let’s dive into and try to get all these answers.
What is a Cleaning Sponge?
As we all are aware – it’s a typical cleaning product that is made of some porous material designed to make all our day-to-day cleaning easy, effective and fast.
These sponges when combined with other cleaning products (like soap, detergent, and water), not only help to get rid of dirt or grime in a matter of few minutes but also make the cleaning task less tiring.
All you are left with is a clean, sanitized, and hygienic surface that your family always desires for.
In addition to cleaning all your dirty kitchen stuff, bathroom, and toilet these sponges are also extensively useful in prepping the walls and wood surfaces before painting, staining, or varnishing.
Different Types of Cleaning Sponges
Cleaning sponges can be made of a vast variety of materials like cellulose fibers, plastic polymers, or nylon material.
Based on these materials, there are different names and kinds of cleaning sponges available in the market that can be used for accomplishing different cleaning tasks.
Let’s take a look at what are these different types and which specific tasks they are best at.
1- Abrasive Sponges
As in its name, these sponges are often made with a special kind of abrasive material, which makes them ideal for cleaning outdoor furniture, stained fences, painted grills, and greasy kitchen cookware.
These products are most suited for tasks that demand extensive scraping for removing the stubborn dirt, grime, and old paint.
When buying these sponges online, make sure you check the different grades and levels of abrasiveness (often labeled on the product package) that are available.
While using too abrasive sponge material can damage the surface, if there is a lack of abrasiveness, the product will turn out to be useless as it will not clean the surface well.
2- Cellulose Sponges
These types of cleaning sponges are made from wood pulp.
There are visible holes seen in these products which help in absorbing and retaining the liquid inside the sponge.
Once dampened, these sponges make cleaning your bathroom surfaces, kitchen countertops, washing dishes, etc very convenient.
Be careful that you do not use these sponges for wiping/washing the dishes that have served raw eggs or raw meat juices.
These food items can be tricky to get completely rinsed off.
3- Compressed Cellulose Sponges
Compressed cellulose sponges (also called pop-up sponges) are completely dry.
Usually, the air is drawn out of them before packaging because of which it rehydrates, pops up, and turns into a normal cellulose sponge – as soon as it’s placed into water.
Although compressed cellulose sponges are more expensive than other normal sponges, these are preferred by many homeowners and cleaners.
The reason is that most of these products are not pre-treated with biocide substances like soap and are safer to use.
4- Abrasive and Cellulose Sponge Combination
With these sponges, you get advantages of both i.e., abrasive and cellulose materials.
Basically, it’s one side comes with abrasive material and the other with cellulose.
The cellulose version is basically made from wood pulp that comes with small holes inside the sponge to absorb liquid and hold it inside for longer while keeping them pliable when cleaning.
The level of abrasiveness, for one side, can also be chosen as per the requirement since they are available in different options to buy.
All these attributes make these sponges highly versatile, which means you can use them for a number of cleaning tasks in your day-to-day life.
5- Natural Sea Sponges
These sponges are natural and are called so because they are usually found growing on the floor of deep-sea and the ocean.
The eco-friendly nature of sea sponges makes them extremely versatile.
This means in addition to cleaning bathrooms, kitchens, and washing cars, you can use these multi-purpose sponges for exfoliating your skin (while bathing, or when using cosmetics and makeup).
Keep in mind that these sponges are available in different levels of softness.
So, it’s good for you to check how soft (or hard) the sponge you need when you are buying them from your local store or online at stores like Amazon.
6- Dry Sponges
These are the products that are chiefly made up of a rubber mixture.
And unlike other types, these are the only sponges that are designed to be used dry – hence its name.
Areas like fireplace mantles, exterior bricks, carpets, window screens, curtains, wallpapered walls, luxurious furnishings, etc need to be cleaned without water.
This is where dry sponges prove to be an excellent choice.
Once you have cleaned with one side of the sponge and it gets fully covered with dirt, grime, or soot, you can simply cut the portion or use another fresh side.
7- Microfiber Cloths
Not really the sponge, but these are very popular when it comes to cleaning.
Unlike regular cloth, microfiber cloths come with thinner fibers that are made from synthetic materials.
These soft fibers of artificial sponges are good at absorbing the oil, and grease from the surface without scratching or damaging them.
Thanks to their electrostatic properties they can also attract dirt and dust naturally.
Plus, the fibers do not shed while dusting or wiping.
All these properties make them ideal for cleaning the surfaces like glass, mirrors, shiny metals, etc.
Can You Reuse or Recycle Sponges?
Depending on how dirty or damaged they are, household cleaning scrubs, sponges and brushes can be reused if you wish to do so.
However, keep in mind that most of them can hold bacteria or odor. This means they should be cleaned and stored well for usage.
To clean the sponges, simply rinse them thoroughly after use and allow them to dry completely open to the air.
Regarding recycling – most conventional sponges cannot be recycled.
However, if it’s a cellulose-based sponge you have used, these can be composted at the end of their life simply because they are made of ingredients like wood pulp and cotton fiber.
Metal Scrubber vs. Sponges – What’s Better?
Most cleaning sponges that we use in the kitchen or bathroom are made of cellulose (natural fibers) with a scrubby part that’s typically made of polyester or nylon.
These are usually soft and are good for washing a variety of different materials that can are prone to getting scratches (like painted walls, furniture, kitchen dishes, etc)
A metal scrub on the other hand is made of thin metal wires stuffed like wool.
It’s usually a better option when you want to clean raw or bare surfaces that are unfinished and are not prone to getting scratches.
The Bottom Line
Cleaning sponges do come in several varieties and choosing the right material is the key to success when you want to get the job done successfully without any further mess.
Knowing which type of material to select, will also ensure that you complete your task effortlessly without causing any damage to the surfaces.
So, before you choose the right cleaning sponge, consider reviewing your specific requirements and select the one based on that.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.