Sponges are among the most commonly used cleaning tools that help keep homes clean. However, they can easily be the bacteria-laden thing in the house if you aren’t careful, or may dirty up the environment. Most cleaning sponges are nonbiodegradable that end up in landfills for years. Fortunately, cellulose sponges are made of biodegradable materials meaning they can clean up the spills without taking a toll on the environment. Here is an exclusive guide on whether you should be using a cellulose sponge.
What Is a Cellulose Sponge?
Cellulose sponges are made from wood pulp with tiny holes inside them, helping to absorb liquid and holding it inside the sponge for easy cleaning. Cellulose is a primary structural fiber in the cell wall of plants. The compound has lots of uses, including making cellulose sponges. Other materials used in cellulose sponges include sodium sulfate crystals, hemp fibers, and softeners.
So, Should You Be Using a Cellulose Sponge?
Yes, cellulose sponges are among the best and most eco-friendly sponges to use. Cellulose sponges absorb water easily due to the fine-fiber structure of tiny air bubbles within the cellulose. They are very absorbent, which makes them excellent alternatives to conventional sponges. According to Neatspiration, every air bubble holds about 20 times more water than its weight. Cellulose sponges can also be effective on relatively tough cleaning jobs. They are reusable for around six months when well maintained and are biodegradable. Also, cellulose sponges have better heat resistance than regular polyurethane sponges. The physical properties won’t be changed to about 140 degrees Celsius. Cellulose sponges are great for cleaning countertops, dishes, bathroom surfaces, and daily spills. Cellulose sponges are manufactured with zero chemicals like Triclosan or Polyurethane. Therefore, if burned, toxic-free gas is released and doesn’t generate carbon dioxide after disposal. They are compostable and biodegradable when buried, meaning it’s 100% eco-friendly. At the end of its life, put it in your compost bin or bury it in the garden for decomposition.
Pros Of Using Cellulose Sponges
Cellulose sponges work exceptionally on countertops, bathroom surfaces, daily spills, and dishes. To differentiate them according to their intended use, you can allocate a brightly colored sponge to a single task and another sponger for another use. Another advantage of cellulose sponges is that they come in fun shapes such as ovals, curvy shapes, or rectangles that comfortably fit your hand grip. You can also consider cutting the sponges into smaller sizes for more use. You can also have the option of buying cellulose sponges featuring a scouring side. This two-sided option provides you with more cleaning power. However, the scouring side is mainly made from polyurethane or plastic. Some eco-friendly brands have designed a scouring pad made of natural materials such as coconut husks, so the sponge stays 100% biodegradable. Your best sponge for you is one made of 100% cellulose as it’s eco-friendlier.
Cons Of Using Cellulose Sponges
One of the drawbacks of cellulose sponges is that they are more costly than plastic sponges. However, this doesn’t mean they are so expensive. They are relatively affordable and should be discarded if they get grimy or you can’t completely remove the dirt particles. Another shortcoming of cellulose sponges is that they trap bacteria and residue making them hard to rinse out well. Cellulose sponges are made of natural materials and are more prone to absorbing germs and food particles. And due to their nature of soaking substances, cellulose sponges tend to trap bacteria. Hence, it’s essential to replace the sponges regularly, particularly those that you use in the kitchen. You should not use cellulose sponges to wipe raw egg spills or meat juices. In cases where you are concerned about food bacteria, a disposable paper towel is the better option.
Clean Sponges Regularly
After using the cellulose sponge, rinse all the food particles and leave them to dry completely. Sanitizing your cellulose sponges daily will help safeguard your health by keeping you safe from bacteria and increasing your sponge’s lifespan. There are several ways of cleaning your cellulose sponge. These include;
- Vinegar- soak your cellulose sponge in a full-strength vinegar solution for around five minutes, rinse it then air dry.
- Bleach- soak your cellulose sponge in a bleach solution of one part bleach and nine water parts. Rinse it out and air dry.
- Microwave- you can place a wet sponge in a microwave for around thirty seconds. Always ensure the sponge is soaked wet to prevent it from catching fire and burning in the microwave if it’s so dry.
- Dishwasher- you can consider running cellulose sponges via the top rack dishwasher cycle.
Use Different Sponges for Different Jobs
Another care tip for cellulose sponges is using different sponges for different tasks. According to The Spruce, the one you use for cleaning the countertop spills should be different from the sponge you use to wash dishes. Also, the cellulose sponge you use for bathroom countertops should remain in the bathroom, while the kitchen cellulose sponge should remain there.
According to A Clean Bee, if you keep your cellulose sponge clean, you can reuse it for up to six months. However, your cellulose sponge might only last a month with rougher use and care. To last longer, ensure to rinse the sponges thoroughly after every use and leave them to dry fully open to the air.
Disposing of A Cellulose Sponge
You should dispose of any cellulose sponge that remains dirty even after being clean or begins to smell. These signs of germs, bacteria, and mold build-up, might be passed on to your food and dishes. Cellulose sponges from 100% plant products can go in the compost or recycle bin. However, some cellulose sponges contain polyfill additives and should not be thrown in the compost or recycle bin. You should throw these in a regular garbage can. Cut the sponge into small pieces before disposing of it in your compost pile to speed up the decomposition.