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On the left, the vase sponge, on the right, the elephant ear sponge and above the honeycomb

Know Your Sea Sponges

Inspired by David Attenborough's 'Daily Tweet' on Radio 4 providing a wonderful introduction to the bird song of the British Isles, Mrs Everybody has been wanting to introduce you to the different types of sea sponge. Sponges are amazing, seemingly intelligent, and extremely dextrous. They cope as well with daily tasks as they do with emergencies. Also I am sure also that they have a great sense of humour and they definitely like to be picked up. They are philosophical too and willingly accept that they can not compete with birds in song contests. I have taken this photograph to give you an introduction to the different types of sponges use for washing and cleaning. I think it is easier to imagine the texture when you see the sponges in their wet form, and side by side, you can see the differences between them. At the 12 o'clock: Firm Spherical Honeycomb. These large sponges require two hands to wring them out and due to their size and weight when full of water. They might not be the best for your everyday bath or cleaning unless you want your bath to be a workout or if you like your bath to be a very manly experience. However they make fantastic sculptural decorations and they are used by therapists in spas. They can be cut down for uses such as washing or car cleaning, although this would be quite an extravagance. I do have one. I mostly admire it and let it float majestically in my bath. One day it will come into its own. At 1 o'clock: Soft Sea Wool Sponge (10-12cm). They are the most absorbent, easiest to wring and relatively hard wearing. They are wonderful for washing the face and sensitive skin. Also good for mopping up spillage as they leave only a very slight trace of liquid behind. If was stranded in a desert, trying to collect water from morning dew on plants, I would use the Sea Wool Sponge. At 3 o'clock: Silk Fina sponge. These are amazingly durable and quite firm. I have been using mine for washing up as it fits easily inside wine glasses. Although I have been using it for nearly a year now, it seems as springy as it was originally. It replaces many packets of synthetic sponges but with the ability to full biodegrade at the end of its long and industrious life. They are also great for face washing, removing make up etc. At 5 o'clock: Sea Grass (12-14cm). These are multipurpose sponges. Although not as durable as some of the other sponge types, they are still among the wonders of the sea. These sponges are the ones which or get into crevices and I am sure that they enjoy every task demanded of them. At 6 o'clock: Baby Sponges They are durable but very flexible, soft and intriguing and leg-kicking-hilarious to babies. They are also just right for extremely sensitive skin, professional facials and for bathing babies. Do not let your baby eat it. At 8 o'clock: Hard Head Sponge They are great for washing dry skin as they are relatively exfoliating and they are hard wearing. As they have a rounded profile they are easy to dry. One of these sits proudly in my bathroom. At 9 o'clock: Less attractive Sea Grass Sponges They are not counted among the most beautiful of sponges. If you are unsure about real sponges, try one for cleaning as they do reach into fiddly corners and along mouldings. I see Mr Everybody wandering around with this type of sponge and a bowl of soapnutty water, presumably to clean the van, his work area and other objects en route. He always likes to let me know what exactly he has just cleaned and how spectacular the results are. In the center there is the soft and luxurious Honeycomb Sponge. These are wonderful sponges to use. They are very absorbent, very flexible and they look intriguing. I actually do my washing up with one of these, though for most people they represent the ultimate bath sponge. At 14-16cm, it sweeps across plates, around saucepans, across lids over the work surface and it is so wonderful to hold and squeeze these sponges - Used with soapnut washing up liquid, it brings a new dimension to washing up.
On the left, the vase sponge, on the right, the elephant ear sponge and above the honeycomb On the left, the vase sponge, on the right, the elephant ear sponge and above the honeycomb

Of course children will like any type of sponge but we have noticed them playing the most intensely and cooperatively when they have several different varieties. Ah-hum, of course adults will appreciate the very serious purpose of the different sponges - to make cleaning and washing planet friendly, efficient, spontaneous and fun! Select your favourite sponges here.

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