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9 Best Sponge Hacks

Sponges can do a lot more than just wipe up messes. Here are some brilliant uses you've probably never thought to try.

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three spongs at the base of a terra cotta pot near potting soil, seed packets, and gardening shovelFamily Handyman

Flower Pot Filler

Water settling at the bottom of pots can lead to poor aeration and root rot. To combat this, toss a few old sponges in the bottom. The sponges retain moisture and create necessary air space. They also help prevent water from running out the bottom.

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close up of a person washing a car using a sponge that's inside nylon pantyhoseFamily Handyman

Nylon Scrubber

Put your car-washing sponge inside a pair of old pantyhose for a nonabrasive, paint-friendly scrubber. The threads act like thousands of little scrapers that rub off insects and gunk with every swipe.

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a sponge installed at the bottom of a drain pipe on the side of a houseFamily Handyman

Noisy Drip Stopper

Is there a noisy drip coming from the downspout that’s driving you nuts? I discovered an easy way to stop the drip — just push a kitchen sponge into the bottom of the downspout. It muffles the dripping noise without blocking the water flow. — Susan Dahl.

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person holding a sponge inside a plastic ziplock bag standing near refrigerator doorsFamily Handyman

Sponge Ice Pack

Ice packs are a great way to keep your lunch cool, but they’re expensive to replace if you lose them. This DIY ice pack hack is reusable so it’s good for the environment as well.

First, purchase an inexpensive pack of sponges or just find some old ones around the house. Grab a big bowl of water and let the sponges soak up as much water as possible. Then put each sponge in a small sandwich bag with a zip close. Freeze the wet, bagged sponges overnight. In the morning, just toss the frozen bag into your lunch container.

These bags serve two purposes. As the ice melts, the bag holds the water so there’s no mess in your lunch bag. And it allows the melted sponge to reabsorb the water so it’s ready to refreeze for the next day.

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person using armor-all to clean a screenFamily Handyman

Screen Cleaner

Fiberglass window screening becomes spotted and discolored after a few seasons in the sun. Bring your screens back to life with an automotive vinyl protectant like Armor All or Son-Of-A-Gun.

Hold a sponge behind the screen when you spray to catch the spray-through, then wipe over the entire screen on both sides. It will make them look like new for several more seasons. — Jim Maurer.

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close up of Sponge painted wallMediaProduction/Getty Images

Use a Sponge to Paint a Wall

A paint roller is probably the first thing you’d grab to paint a wall, but a sponge is another option. Seriously. The sponge technique is a quick, simple way to make dull interior walls dramatic.

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small metal sieve filled with sponges attached to a utility sink edgeFamily Handyman

Sponge Holder

Wet sponges always end up the ledge of the utility sink. They never dry properly and turn moldy and smelly. Here’s a solution that’s better for your laundry room. Screw a sieve to the back of the sink to hold the sponges. They dry nicely, they’re out of the way and they last forever.

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diy painting using a sponge for brick textureOk Sotnykova/Getty Images

Faux Stone

Use a sponge cut to size to create a brick or faux stone pattern with paint.

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blue sponge secured on the end of a hammer using a rubber bandFamily Handyman

Make-Do Mallet

If you need a mallet once in a blue moon but don’t own one, you can improvise with a hammer and a heavy kitchen sponge. Wet the sponge, wring as much water out of it as you can, wrap it around the head of your hammer and then secure it with a heavy rubber band.