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The Practicality and Functionality of the Simple Sponge

August 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Man-made sponges are seen everywhere, from the shower, to the sink, to the car wash, but some people may not be aware that they’re modeled after one of nature’s most interesting and functional creations. Natural sponges are aquatic animals; the simplest ones on the planet actually. Their bodies, a term used fairly loosely, filter water from which they gather the nutrients they need to survive. This design, when removed from water, makes them naturally absorbent, a design synthetic sponges have managed to successfully replicate.

Made of polyurethane foam, absorbent foam sponges are able to hold water and soap for cleaning dishes, vehicles, and for bathing. With enough abrasiveness to remove grit and dirt from surfaces, they’re also soft enough to not scratch or hurt dishware and skin. Many varieties of dish cleaning sponges have an attached scouring pad on one side to give it extra cleaning ability for difficult stains and baked-on food.

Sponges don’t exist exclusively to get a job done however, and many are made into pieces of foam that children can use for water toys and arts and crafts. Their absorbent nature makes them great learning tools for young children, while being soft and safe. When dipped in ink or paint, sponges become stamping toys as well.

Sponges are the foundation of many DIY projects around the house as well. Bars of soap placed on a sponge in the bathroom helps the soap keep longer. When attached around the handle of a shovel or rake, a sponge turns into a padded grip that can prevent blisters. When cut into little pieces, they can pad picture frames and clocks, keeping them from scratching walls. No matter how they’re used, sponges possess a unique set of characteristics that lend themselves to innumerable uses.

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