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Life Hacks

Dollar Tree Sponges Do More Than Wash Dishes — Use ‘Em for These 10 Cleaning Hacks

Squeeze the most uses out of your sponges.


Scrubbing away dirt and grime is possible thanks to sponges. This cleaning tool absorbs soap suds and water so you can sanitize dishes and various surfaces. While sponges are great for wet cleaning, they have plenty of other household purposes. In fact, sponges come to the rescue for chores such as keeping your houseplants healthy and cleaning pet hair off of furniture (hello shedding season!). Here are 10 surprising ways to use sponges for keeping everyday items in tip-top shape.

#1: Help veggies stay crisp.

You love stocking up on fresh produce, but not so much when it gets soggy in the fridge in less than a week. To prevent this from happening again, simply toss a clean, dry sponge into the crisper drawer with your veggies and fruit. The sponge will soak up any moisture in the drawers, so your produce stays fresh and crisp until you can enjoy all of it.

#2: Ensure earrings remain organized.

Never lose one of your favorite earrings again with the help of a sponge. To do: Simply poke each pair of earrings through a new sponge and attach the backs to the other sides. This will keep them organized so you can see all of your pieces at a glance, plus it will help keep them clean!

#3: Keep houseplants healthy and happy.

No need to worry about indoor greenery getting too thirsty and needing constant watering. Instead, keep plants happy with sponges. When you repot a plant (or plant a new one), place a sponge in the bottom of the container before adding soil. The sponge will absorb any excess water so the roots can draw out the moisture whenever the plant needs to hydrate.

#4: De-fuzz your furniture.

With Buster finally shedding his winter coat, your furniture is getting covered in so much more pet hair than usual that you’re out of lint-roller sheets. The save: Dampen a clean sponge with cool water, then wring out excess and wipe down fur-covered areas. The slight moisture will cause the strands to cling to the sponge without leaving your sofa wet.

#5: Safeguard delicate glassware.

You’re too tired to hand-wash all of your stemware after your dinner party, but worry about the glasses getting cracked in the dishwasher. The save: Wedge sponges between the items before starting the cycle. The layer of padding will ensure the glasses don’t bump into one another.

#6: Salvage tooloose shoes.

You can’t wait to wear the new pumps you got for sale online, but when you slip them on, you realize they’re a bit too big. The fix: Cut a sponge into two circles, then insert one in the front of each shoe. This will fill in the extra space, so your pumps fit perfectly

#7: Soothe aches with a DIY ice pack.

When your knees or wrists get sore from yard cleanup, skip the bulky ice packs to reduce swelling. Instead, cut a sponge in half and soak in a 50:50 solution of water and rubbing alcohol. Then place in a resealable plastic bag and freeze until you need it. Since alcohol can’t freeze solid, the sponge will stay soft and flexible so it’s easier to hold against sore spots.

#8: Lengthen the life of bar soap.

Argh! It seems like every time you open a new bar of soap, it turns into a slimy mess in just a few days. The secret to ensuring your soap lasts: Swap your soap dish for a sponge. When you place the soap on top, the porous sponge will absorb extra water. Since the bar won’t be constantly sitting in a puddle of water, this will keep the soap solidified for longer.

#9: Easily clean a water bottle.

The reusable water bottle you keep on hand helps you hydrate, but keeping it squeaky clean is tricky because of its narrow opening. What can help: Use a rubber band to fasten a sponge to a ruler or butter knife. This creates a long handle that makes it easy to slide the sponge into the bottle so you can scrub the hard-to-reach interior for a more thorough cleaning

#10: Protect hands when gardening.

Nothing beats an afternoon in the garden. The problem? Your skin often gets badly blistered from the tools even when you wear gloves. To prevent this in the future, wrap a sponge around the handles of your trowel, cultivator, and other tools and secure with heavyduty rubber bands. The sponge will add padding to the hard handles so you can work more comfortably.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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