How can I reuse or recycle … sponge cleaner things?

Spounge scourerAnother suggestion from Em:

Thanks for the light bulb ideas – really great.

Here’s one that I have been considering for a while……how to reuse/recycle those spongy washing up scourer pad thingies. They are the ones that come in different colours of spongy rectangles with a scoury bit on the top layer. We use ours until they are really dead – any suggestions?

Cheers, Em

We use them until they’re dead too and I worry about reusing them if they’re food gacky – but any suggestions anyway, particularly if the gack level is low?

(Oh, and I’ve also had an email from a chap called Antony who wants to find a company that makes cardboard boxes from recycled cardboard – if anyone has any ideas, leave a comment below or email me and I’ll forward along the message)

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10 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … sponge cleaner things?”

  1. Rosie says:

    Along the food gakky thing… put in a microwave for about 2 minutes and that will stearalise them. i do this with dishcloths.. not if they in need of a wash but just after i have used and rinsed and wrung out.

  2. anykey says:

    My used jcloths go in the washing machine to freshen them up.

  3. If they are still absorbent, use them to mop up small spills around the house.

  4. Maybe you could microwave them at 5 minutes when they’re soaked with water. The water will boil in the sponge, taking out smells and some stains also.

  5. Amanda Kerik says:

    I used these about a year ago to do some hardcore cleaning of walls – TSP solution and the scrubby side cleaned the 10+ years of gunk that the old house owner had left behind.

    The plastic does wear out after a while.

    The sponge would be used to help drainage in pots.

    These clean up very well in normal household wash.

  6. emily says:

    boiling a sponge cleans it!

  7. Saskia says:

    It depends what you mean by “we use them until they are really dead”! If you mean that you use them until they are completely falling apart, then I’m not sure what you could use them for apart from perhaps stuffing for a soft toy or the like.

    It’s not a good idea to use them continuously for washing up until they are “dead” without sterilising them along the way; washing up sponges are prime breeding grounds for bacteria so it’s advisable to do something like microwave or boil them every so often if you’re still using them for washing up.

    Personally I have a system of gradually “retiring” old sponges; they get used for washing up for while, with maybe a couple of goes in the microwave to stop anything nasty growing in them, then I stick them in the washing machine from where they go on to be used for cleaning the bathroom (be careful with the scourer if they’re not “non-stick” ones as they can scratch baths etc), then they get relegated to “dirty jobs” and finally “very dirty jobs” where I want to use something disposable for cleaning (the scourer can be very useful for some jobs which require a lot of scrubbing). I don’t feel too bad about throwing them away at this point as they’ll have been VERY well used!

  8. Josh says:

    Another way to use old sponges is to start with buying cellulose sponges. They look like normal polyurethane sponges, but are made from a renewable, and compostable resource. When your cellulose sponge is dank and ripped, just throw it in the compost pile, or bury it in an area of the garden that won’t be disturbed.

  9. Barbara says:

    Start new ones off for kitchen cleaning (washing/wiping) then move on to cleaning dirtier surfaces (bath/windowsills/blinds) and when no longer usable, give a good wash/rinse first and then leave to air dry. Once dried, pack them into Ecobricks (plastic bottles packed tightly with plastic wrappers so that they do not get into the environment and once filled, the bottles can be used for small scale building and garden projects)


  1. How can I reuse or recycle … soggy old sponges? » How can I recycle this? 09 11 07

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