Let's face it, the common sponge isn't all that exciting. You use it to clean your dishes and countertops and don't really think about it again until there are more dishes in the sink. But sponges can do more than scrubbing plates or toilets and be used in some other helpful and creative ways. Whether it's a craft, beauty or handy household hack, or new cleaning method, sponges have a lot more to offer than you might have thought.
An easy but effective DIY you can make using any basic sponge is nail polish remover. Rather than using a bunch of cotton swabs and pads, make a reusable remover with a couple of household items. You'll need a jar or container, sponge, and your favorite nail polisher remover liquid. Place the sponge in a jar — depending on how thick the sponge is you may want to use two — and add a generous amount of liquid remover to fully soak them. Dipping your finger repeatedly into the sponge and twisting it will scrub the nail polish off. Pop on a lid and keep this handy beauty product in the cupboard.
This hack is quick and easy but can really help when you're in a pinch with a sore ankle and no bandaids left in the cupboard. Cut a sponge to the size you need — fold it if necessary, or trim down the thickness — and place it in between your blister and the back of your shoe. You will be much more comfortable now that your shoe won't rub against your blister every time you walk.
Can't find your lint roller and just cuddled your furry pet before leaving the house? This sponge trick is for you. Simply take a damp sponge and drag it down your clothes; the hair will collect in one area and onto the sponge. This can also be used on carpets and lots of other materials that get coated with furbaby hair.
There are multiple ways to use this sponge hack. Place your favorite bar of soap — either for body or dishes — on top of a thick sponge and trace around it. Cut out the area within the lines, making a snug bed for the soap. Not only will this smart holder keep soap scum from building up on your counter or tub edge, but you can use the sponge with the soap inside, never again having to decide whether to fuss with the last vestiges or waste them.
If you are packing something fragile and small that needs to be wrapped with extra care, opt for sponges rather than bubble wrap. Take a damp sponge and wrap it around the small item, then use an elastic band to secure it. Once dry, the sponge should have molded to the shape of your object, protecting it for its travel. Make sure to let the sponge dry before you pack it up, or it might mold or soak through the box.
This hack is extremely helpful and can save you a lot of potential floor damage. Cut your sponge into a small circle or square the size of your chair or couch foot, and glue the piece to the bottom of the leg. Now when you need to move your furniture around, the floor won't get scratched or damaged, and you don't have to hunt down those fabric stick-ons that aren't the right size half the time, anyway!
Turn your sponge into an ice pack with this easy DIY hack. All you need to do is soak sponges in cold water and place them in plastic bags. Stick them in the freezer until they are frozen and, voila! Instant ice pack. Perfect for keeping your lunch cool or to help with sore muscles. These are also a great option for traveling because once they melt, you can squeeze them out and let them dry, and they'll take up almost no space (or you can refer to #5 and use them to keep safe any breakables you pick up on your journey).
Get a jumpstart growing your plants this spring by using a sponge for a starter. Soak a natural sponge in water and ring out any excess, then place your seeds on top and set the sponge in a sunny area. Mist it daily with water. After a few days, your seeds should begin to sprout. Give this home garden hack a try with spinach, broccoli, or lettuce seeds.
Let's take our sponges back to the kitchen for a minute, but don't dunk them in the dishwater just yet! Have you noticed how excess moisture in the vegetable crisper tends to turn your veggies mushy? Placing a dry sponge in the crisper drawer of your fridge can soak up the wetness your produce expels, keeping your food fresher, longer. Adding a few tablespoons of baking soda to a sponge can also serve as a makeshift smell-killer.
Housekeeping hacks aren't the only possibilities for that jumbo pack of sponges you picked up at Costco. Grab some scissors and chop extra sponges into fun shapes to make stamps with a neat, speckled texture; think the sponge-painting craze from the 90s, but on a smaller, still-stylish scale. Kids and adults alike will love this craft, and it's easy and affordable. Just wash the sponges clean and lay them to dry, and you'll be all set for the multiple painting adventures.