Cellulose sponges are one of the most common types on the market. They are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and types, are inexpensive, durable, soft and versatile. Many “kitchen” sponges used for cleaning and dishes are made of cellulose. Cellulose sponges, which are made from a form of wood pulp, are not only durable, but 100% biodegradable and sustainable. Cellulose sponges are exceptionally absorbent, great at holding liquid, and work well on a variety of different types of surfaces. And because they are made from cellulose they are made from a sustainably harvested natural resource, disposable and 100% biodegradable.
Cellulose Sponge Uses
Cellulose sponges work well for a variety of household and commercial applications. Cellulose sponges are used for all types of household chores including general cleaning, kitchen and bathroom. Cellulose sponges are the most common type kitchen sponge. They are used for dish washing, cleaning counter-tops, sinks, appliances, floors and more. In addition to kitchen use, cellulose sponges also work well for bathroom cleaning of showers, tile, sinks, countertops and glass. And although the sponge can be sterilized with heat or an antibacterial soap, cellulose sponges should not be used to wipe up bacteria rich material such as raw egg or raw meat juices, as dangerous bacterial growth can occur. In addition to kitchen and bathroom use, cellulose sponges are also used by tradesman and do-it-yourselfers for various applications including drywall, wallpapering, tile and grout, pottery making and for all types of home projects.
How Cellulose Sponges are Made
Cellulose sponges are made from a mixture of hemp fibers, sodium sulphate crystals, softeners, and wood pulp (cellulose). Flax and other materials are added to some formulations to provide added chemical resistance, strength or other desirable properties. The process of manufacturing cellulose sponges begins with large stiff sheets of Cellulose. The large sheets are mixed with softeners in large vats of water to create a soft jelly-like slurry that is then mixed with sodium sulphate crystals and dye.
Once the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, they are poured into a mold and heated. The sodium sulphate crystals melt as the mixture is cooked and drain out through openings in the bottom of the mold. The porous texture of cellulose sponges is created by holes left by the melting sodium sulphate crystals. The size of the sodium sulphate crystals is what determines the size of the pores in the finished sponge. Sponges manufactured for washing a car, which need to be more porous, are made with larger crystals, while finer pore sponges, like those used for applying makeup, are made with finer crystals.
The heated cellulose mixture is then cooled and hardens into a porous block that is then soaked in a mixture containing bleach to remove any remaining dirt or other impurities. Bleaching also brightens the color of the cellulose. After bleaching, the block is washed repeatedly with water, until the desired pliability and texture are achieved. After the sponge block is dried, it is cut into the appropriate size sponges and packaged for sale.