The Very First Thing You Should Do with a New Kitchen Sponge Before You Start Using It

updated Jan 13, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh

A good sponge plays lots of important roles in your kitchen. It can remove gunk from your countertops, get your stovetop looking like new, remove all evidence of dinner from your pots and pans, and more. Of course, they’re not perfect and have their downsides, too.

For one (and most notably) they get gross very quickly. Which means they need to be replaced fairly regularly — and that can have an impact on your wallet and the environment.

Sponges definitely aren’t as wasteful as, say, paper towels, which you usually throw away after using once. But unlike dish towels and microfiber cloths, sponges are essentially disposable. Sure, there are some tried-and-true methods for sanitizing sponges (put them in the dishwasher, not the microwave!), but there’s also a limit on how long you can re-use them (a stinky, mildew-ridden sponge isn’t just gross; it’s counterproductive). 

And while sponges aren’t exactly expensive, if you’re replacing them often — like you should be! — things can add up. (Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch scrub sponges, one of the most popular and well-rated options on Amazon, cost nearly 80 cents a pop.) Again, it may not seem like a lot, but if you cook or clean several times a week, you’ll be spending a small fortune on sponges!

What if you could save money, create less waste, AND double your return on investment every time you buy sponges? Well, you can, with this super simple trick: Before you use a new sponge, just cut it in half!

Seriously, most sponges are bigger than you really need them to be! How you cut the sponge depends on your preference. You can cut it in half, vertically. Or you can cut diagonally, like a sandwich, and you may find that it’s easier to get into corners and crevices.

Because most sponges are more than large enough to take care of all the grease and grime in your kitchen, you likely won’t be any less efficient with a little bit less surface area — and you’ll have a pack of sponges that can last you twice as long!