Sponges

A sponge for every application

Sponges are another of those everyday cleaning staples that you probably don't think much about, but the truth is that there's a lot more to them than you may realize at first. They range from soft, gentle sponges to abrasive pads that can be used for scouring and cleaning away stubborn stains. Sponges can be used for everything from bathing and wiping up counters and surfaces to heavy-duty household or industrial cleaning. The right sponge for the job depends on the intended application.

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Soft Sponges

One of the most familiar varieties of sponges is the soft, absorbent kind. These can be used as bath sponges by people with sensitive skin; this type of product is usually attached to a handle to make it easier to reach tricky places during bathing, like the small of the back. Soft handheld sponges can also be used for the gentle cleaning of surfaces like bathtubs, showers, sinks, tables and countertops. They're useful not only because of their softness, but also their high levels of absorbency.

Scrub Sponges

You can also get sponges designed to tackle tougher messes. For example, kitchen sponges need to have the ability to clean away caked-on and burnt-in food residue, and thus, they need to be more abrasive than bath sponges.

Scrub sponges typically have a "grain" rating, which describes the density of the scrubbing nubs per millimeter of surface space. The more dense these nubs, the more abrasive the sponge. While abrasive sponges are excellent at cleaning up tough messes from pots, pans, countertops and the interiors of kitchen and household appliances, you also need to be careful. Using a sponge that is too abrasive can damage sensitive finishes and surfaces. As a general rule, use a soft sponge on any surface that is easily scratched and save the use of abrasive scrub sponges for surfaces that can handle them.

Sponges designed for heavy-duty cleaning may be mounted onto a plastic or metal backing, which has finger slots on the opposite side. These sponges, the right cleaning products for the job, and some good old-fashioned elbow grease can clean up just about any household mess.

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