Sponges are one of the most useful cleaning tools around the house. Whether you’re scraping food from a dinner plate or mold clinging to a porcelain tub, they get the job done! Yet, for all their uses, no one’s hopping out of bed to see the Sponge Expo down at the convention center…right?

But hold on one second! With just a little bit of creativity, you can take that cleaning tool made of wood pulp and hemp fiber and put it to use in non-conventional ways. Yep, these 20 kitchen sponge hacks are upping the value to your favorite cleaning tool.

1. Freshen up the fridge: Some of us have smelly fridges, but sponges can fix that. Sprinkle one with bicarbonate of soda and stick it in the corner of the fridge away from foods. Viola — it’ll soak up all those bad smells.

Positively Oakes

2. Freshen up your fruit: They should just call the crisper the spoiler already — fruits and veggies never stay as fresh as we’d like them to be! But line your crisper drawer with sponges and the kitchen tool will soak up a lot of the moisture, keeping fruits fresh.

3. Grow a garden: Need another perfect project for young kids? Dampen a sponge and set it on a plate, then pepper it with herb seeds. Create a greenhouse by placing a glass over the sponge — then watch healthy plants sprout from your kitchen sponge!

4. Arts and crafts: Kids love painting. It’s common knowledge. But paintbrushes are old hat, so why not put some sponges to use? Cut the sponges into fun shapes, dip ’em into the paint, and let the kids make patterns with minimal splatter (and clean-up)!

5. Water your plants: Apparently, sponges are your best friend if you’ve got a green thumb! Put small slices of a sponge in the bottom of plant pots or vases so that they soak up any excess liquid. Then, don’t worry about over-watering again!

6. Pack up valuables: Need to protect items packed in bags and boxes? Forget bubble wrap and rolled up newspapers (print is dead anyway). Instead, stuff sponges in between packed items you don’t want clacking together.

7. Moisten envelopes: Sending out more than a few letters can put your tongue in serious peril, what with all the licking. A slightly damp sponge can save your mouth the effort. Just dab it on the seal and it’s good to go!

8. Make water balloons: Because of clean-up (and accuracy issues), most people would admit that water balloons are never as fun as we want them to be. You know what is fun? Cutting sponges into thirds and attaching the segments with rubber-bands for an effective pool toy!

Household Hacker / YouTube

9. Protect walls from hammers: Removing a nail can do a number on your wall, especially if you’re working with the claw-end of the hammer. Use a sponge to pad your wall and save it from unnecessary dings and dents.

10. Cut down on callouses: Save your hands from pain and strife and attach a sponge to the handle of whatever tool you’ll be gripping for the day. It’s instant callous protection. 

11. Clean double-sided surfaces: Tongs? Check. Two sponges? You sponge-lovers know that’s a check. By sticking the tongs into the sponges, you can make a super sponge that cleans two sides of a surface at once — perfect for blinds!

12. Clean up pet hair: Yeah, you love ol’ Fido and Franny the cat, but let’s face it: the duo’s shedding is making your couch unusable. Luckily you can wipe away that fur easily with the rough side of the sponge.

13. Make an ice pack: What happens when you stick a sponge in water than stick it in the freezer? It turns into a frozen block. Stick this in a sandwich bag, then on bruises and bumps. They’re the perfect ice pack! 

14. Protect wooden surfaces: Putting priceless bowls on dining room tables or candy jars on end tables can bring a room together — and scuff those surfaces! So place a small piece of sponge beneath these decorations to act as padding.

15. Loosen wallpaper: When you’re looking to remove old wallpaper, you’ve got a tall task ahead of you — unless you bust out a sponge. Soak one in a solution of fabric softener and hot water, then wipe down the paper. It’ll dissolve the paper in a snap.

16. Make your closet smell good: Thanks to dirty clothes, closets tend to smell of dead or dying things. So attach a sponge to the wall and spray it with a bit of perfume or cologne. It’ll hold the smell and keep your closet smelling delicious. 

17. Dry them out with a binder clip: Letting a sponge sit soaking is a great way to ensure it accumulates enough bacteria to contaminate a small village. Use a binder clip to stand the sponge up after use and dry it out a little bit faster.

18. Fasten pads: Say goodbye to your knees if you plan on scrubbing the floors. They’ll be pressed hard into the tile and, afterwards, ache for weeks…unless you use sponges as knee pads. Somebody pass on this hack to footballers like this guy!

19. Rub away clothes pillings: When your sweater starts pilling, you might as well just throw the thing in the trash, right? Uh, no way — not with a sponge! Use the rough side to gently wipe away any fabric balls and keep your threads looking fresh as heck.

20. Fill out shoes: Did someone give you shoes that are a hair too big? Maybe you’ve got to pass a too-big pair of shoes down to a younger child? A sponge in the toe can make those loose-fitting shoes a lot more snug.

Go grab your sponge and hug it tight, folks, ’cause with these 20 creative uses, the little guy needs some love for all the extra work it’s about to be doing to make your life easier.

Share these kitchen sponge hacks with all your buds below!