5 Types of Cleaning Sponges

Cellulose, Natural, Abrasive, and Dry

Cleaning sponges are not "one size fits all." In fact, there are a surprisingly large array of sponges available for cleaning jobs, and each has its own particular strengths. Learn to recognize the five main types of cleaning sponges and where they will work best in your home.

  • 01 of 05

    Cellulose Sponges

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    Cellulose sponges are some of the most common, low-cost sponges on the market. Their bright colors and hand-sized shapes make them a great choice for lots of different types of chores. Cellulose sponges are inexpensive, provide good absorbency, and last through tough chores.

  • 02 of 05

    Abrasive Sponges

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    Abrasive sponges can be cellulose sponges with an extra abrasive material attached or just a thin sheet of abrasive material. These sponges are great for use on outdoor grills and some patio furniture. Abrasive sponges are intended to remove stuck-on food or debris and are a great tool for removing baked-on food on pots and pans. It's important, however, to avoid abrasive sponges when cleaning delicate glass or pots with a non-stick coating that can be injured by abrasive material.

    Abrasive sponges come in two common types. The first type of abrasive sponge is a thin layer of abrasive material attached to a regular cellulose sponge. The abrasive material is only on one side of the cellulose. Another type of abrasive sponge forgoes the cellulose and has only the thin abrasive material with no attached sponge.

    A lot of these sponges are color-coded according to their level of toughness. Unfortunately, there is no standard between companies and even in their own brands for the color-coded system. Your best bet is to carefully read the packaging to determine if the abrasive sponge is right for your surfaces.

  • 03 of 05

    Compressed Cellulose Sponges

    Compressed cellulose sponges are sometimes called pop-up sponges. These sponges are dry and have all of the air sucked out of them prior to packaging. The sponge "re-hydrates" when you place it in water, popping up into a normal cellulose sponge. Compressed cellulose sponges can be attractive to some buyers because they are not usually treated with soap or biocide substances. Compressed cellulose sponges are more expensive than other sponges.

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    Natural Sponges

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    Natural sponges are actually harvested from the ocean. They are not as common to find and are generally more expensive to purchase, although home improvement and paint supply stores usually have them in stock. These super absorbent sponges are great for washing windows and cleaning up large spills. Since natural sponges don't trap particles and debris, they can last up to a year when properly cared for.

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  • 05 of 05

    Dry Sponges

    Dry sponges are made of a rubber mixture, with soap added to keep the sponge moist in the packaging. These sponges are meant to be used dry, which makes them a great option for cleaning surfaces that cannot tolerate moisture and water.

    Dry sponges are frequently used to clean soot from surfaces after a fire. They can also be used to clean wallpapered walls and fabric window coverings.

    Store dry sponges in tightly sealed plastic bags to keep them from hardening.