4 Ways to Make Your Go-To Sponge Last Longer, According to Our Favorite TikTok Clean Queen

published Feb 16, 2023
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Various sponges on countertop.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

If there’s one item in the kitchen that goes through hell and back, it’s the humble sponge. From scrubbing oven racks to getting into every nook and cranny of greasy tiled backsplashes, it’s no wonder they get so funky so fast. In fact, they’re actually the dirtiest item in your home. Luckily, if tossing your sponge weekly — the recommended frequency for replacing kitchen sponges — feels like tossing money in the trash, there are a few simple tips and tricks that can extend its life as long as a few weeks, depending on the material.

Two of our favorite sponge-saving hacks come from none other than the queen of #CleanTok herself, pro cleaner Vanesa Amaro, who has amassed 5.5 million followers in recent years for her clever cleaning and organizing tips. While she’s using the fan-favorite Scrub Daddy in her video, her tips work for most types of sponges. What’s great about the round, smiling sponge is that like your typical kitchen sponge, it can be sanitized by running it through the dishwasher (in the top rack), or the washing machine.

Let it dry out completely.

Amaro suggests washing, rinsing, and letting your sponge dry thoroughly so it doesn’t gather harmful bacteria. An easy way to do this is to attach a sponge holder or sink caddy to the inside of your sink with drainage holes to ensure all of the water is able to drain. Amaro recommends the Scrub Daddy Caddy, or just setting it on a paper towel. You could also use a binder clip, which allows the sponge to stand upright while it dries.

Don’t use it with bleach.

Bleach is known as something of a catch-all disinfectant, but as most of us know, there are plenty of dos and don’ts when it comes to using the chemical — especially in the kitchen. Although it’s technically safe to use bleach on sponges, and it can even sanitize the sponge when diluted with water (and only soaking for a few minutes), the chemical is so strong that it can actually break down the particles in the sponge, shortening its shelf life. Scrub Daddy also recommends avoiding harsh chemicals altogether with their products.

Cut it in half.

If the sponge is big enough, an easy way to double its lifespan is by simply cutting it in half, either diagonally or vertically. There’s typically more than enough surface area on one half of a sponge to cut through grease and grime on pots, pans, and other kitchen surfaces. You can also cut it in half while it’s on its last legs, before you were planning on tossing it in the trash. One of our writers shared the ingenious tip of taking an old sponge that’d be too risky to use in the kitchen (you don’t want that bacteria anywhere near your food), and using it elsewhere in the home (like the bathroom, for scrubbing your shower doors before giving them a good rinse, for example). In this case, you can also cut a corner off of the sponge so you can easily identify it as a non-kitchen sponge.

Clean it often.

While the jury’s still out on the best way to clean a sponge, whether it’s in the microwave, or with a vinegar-water-salt solution, a clean sponge is a happy sponge. The less bacteria breeding in its pores, the longer you should be able to use it.