15 Unexpected Ways To Repurpose Old Sponges

A sponge is an essential household cleaning product, but it can be used for much more than sopping up spills and shining dishes. The sponge's absorbent, soft, and lightweight properties make it fitting to repurpose around your home and garden. You can use it for planting, cleaning, crafting, renovating, and laundering. We have 15 nifty upcycling hacks to give your old or unused sponge a new life.

For our repurposing projects, we utilized the standard dish sponge. You can also use larger kitchen or bath sponges for these hacks. Only one of these tricks requires the abrasive scour side of the cleaning tool, but the majority don't need the dual-sided or heavy-duty scrubber to be completed. If you are repurposing a used sponge, don't forget to clean it before recycling it around your home or garden. There are various ways to clean a sponge, from popping it in the washing machine to the microwave.

Sprout seeds

Sponges make the ideal environment to sprout seeds before transplanting them in garden beds or flower pots. To start your seeds, create slits inside the cleaning tool, add your seeds, and spritz them with water. To help keep the sponge moist, place it inside a plastic bag and remist frequently. The seeds will be ready to plant after germinating, and you can reuse the sponge for more spouting.

Help plants retain water

To help potted plants retain water, add a sponge as filler in your flower pot. Place it inside the planter before layering in the soil and sowing your seeds. As you water your greenery, the liquid will drain through the soil, and the sponge will absorb it, keeping water available for the roots longer. This trick is best for plants that need to be watered constantly.

Reinforce plant drip trays

Another way sponges can help with watering your plants is to soak up the extra water that oozes from the drainage holes. You can line the drip tray with the sponges before placing the flower pots on top. Then, as the water seeps out, it will collect in the sponge, allowing the tray to hold more water than a dish without the absorbent lining.

Clean the garden hose

Over time, gunk can collect inside your garden hose. You can use the abrasive scrub side of a kitchen sponge to clean the interior of the piping. Take the scrubby side, roll it into a log, and insert it inside the top of the hose. Then, attach the hose to the water source and turn on the water to the highest setting to shoot the rolled sponge through the piping. Any dirt should get trapped in the scrubber's fibers as it makes its way out the other end.

Deodorize the fridge

A sponge can help you get rid of funky odors in your fridge. However, we're not using the cleaning accessory to wipe down the shelves. Instead, the sponge will act as a dish to hold our deodorizer — baking soda or charcoal. Just sprinkle your odor buster onto the sponge and leave it in the back of the refrigerator to help keep your appliance fresh. Just remember to swap it out for a new one during your seasonal deep cleans.

Clean tight spaces

You may retire the sponge from cleaning dishes, but there are other areas in your home that it can spruce up. Cut a slit in the side of the sponge and insert a long handle like a broomstick to turn it into an extended scrubber that you can use to dust ceiling fans, beneath the fridge, baseboards, and other hard-to-reach areas.

Make a soap dish

A soap dish can help your bar soap last longer and keep the surface it rests on cleaner. Large sponges are best for this hack, but you can also do it with a typical kitchen sponge. If it is a dual-sided sponge, place the abrasive scrub side downward. All you need to do is carve a hole on the top side of the sponge to create a well for the bar soap to rest.

DIY an ice pack

Sponges are great for making reusable ice packs. Simply soak the sponge in water, place it inside a resealable bag, and put it in the freezer. Once the scrubber is frozen, you can add it to your cooler or lunch bag. It also makes for cooling relief pads for mosquito bites and rashes. Plus, you can keep soaking and freezing the same sponge.

Use it as a pin cushion

If you don't have a pin cushion, you can keep your sewing needles in sight while you're crafting with the help of a sponge. Let the cleaning tool be your makeshift holder for your pins. Simply stick your needles inside the pad to keep them from running away. You can even make larger punctures in the sponge to hold thicker knitting, embroidery, or crochet needles.

Swap out the paintbrush

While paintbrushes are standard for getting crafty with color, sponges are a great alternative to switch up the finish and add texture to a look. You can use a sponge to stamp emblems onto any surface. Cut the scrubber into your desired shape and dip it into the paint before imprinting the design on the wall. It can be an upgrade to any wall or a way to restyle furniture.

Give your arm a rest

Sitting at a desk and typing on a computer keyboard can strain your wrist, especially when you're working on your device for a long period. Luckily, you can create an armrest with a dish sponge. Place the kitchen tool under your wrist to take the pressure off your hand when typing or using the computer mouse. It may help to secure the sponge with a piece of tape to keep it from sliding around the tabletop.

Buffer your hammer

When using the claw end of a hammer to remove nails, it helps to have a sponge on the job to limit damage. You can place the sponge between the hammer head and the surface you're removing the nail from to protect the area. The scrubber's soft fibers act as a buffer keeping the tool's sturdy metal from marking and indenting your wall or furniture.

Create furniture sliders

A small piece of a sponge can save your floors from scuff marks and scratches when you use it as furniture slides. To make the accessory, cut the sponge to fit the legs of your furniture and secure it with glue. The cushion will make your furniture easy to slide across the floor without subjecting the hardwood or tile to any damage.

Replace single-use dryer sheets

Repurposing a sponge can help you be more sustainable in more ways than one. The cleaning tool can be a great replacement for single-use dryer sheets. Simply dip the sponge in fabric softener, squeeze out any excess, and throw it into the dryer drum before adding to your laundry load. Your clothes should come out dry and fragrant. Better yet, the sponge can be reused for multiple cycles.

Hide your valuables

A unique way to make use of an old sponge is by turning it into a secret safe. Slice a hole in the side of the scrubber, and it can house money, credit cards, small jewelry, and other valuable items. Then, you can leave the sponge in inconspicuous areas like under the sink or in the cleaning closet, and no one will be able to tell the precious goods you have lurking around.