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The Kitchen 'Show' Sponge...

The real workhorse sponge is all dirty and nasty and doesn't look pretty in my kitchen, so I keep a
'show' sponge as we like to call it and the sponge I use, is underneath the kitchen sink to live it's life with no pride and happiness of all its accomplishments of getting down and dirty with that sauce pan, the burnt on cheese in the skillet that is all over my sponge...

I love seeing my clean never used sponge in all it's glory...
Do you all have a 'show' sponge?

Kind of like the towels in the powder room...
; )

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  1. No, but I have a "show" potholder. My real potholders are stained and burned, but this one potholder is a lovely, clean pale green.

    1. No-but I do have a show dish towel that was a little side Christmas gift. It hangs over the stove handle. I never use it, but my guests always want to dry their hands on it. :)

      Sponges I just change out frequently. My brother, on the other hand likes to keep one for dishes and one for the counters--he gets very edgy when you use the wrong one for the wrong purpose. He thinks what goes against the dishes should be to be the cleaner/newere/better of the two. I say, just keep your sponge clean and use it for everything.

      There was a funny, funny article about couples in Boston Globe Magazine one Sunday many months back. (The last page article is always a rumination on couples) Told the tale of a woman who had to learn hor BFs sponge priority scale--first dishes, then it graduates to counters, then floors, etc. When she met his former GF, former GF said-"Oh, you've mastered his arcane sponge hierarchy, good for you--must be meant for eachother" (or some such thing). Very funny.

      Come to think of it, I do keep and older, used sponge for floors. LOL.

      4 Replies
      1. re: SeaSide Tomato

        My mother would be a perfect match for that particular BF but she takes it a step further. She has a dedicated dish sponge. It is to be used for NOTHING else. During his first visit to my parent's house, Mr. CB used it to wipe something off the floor and I thought she would have a stroke. My dad's fit of laughter didn't help the situation. (Dad never touched the sponge, he was "educated")

        I don't have sponges. I used dish rags and change them with every meal, meaning they are only used for a short period of time and then are washed in hot bleach water. I have a week's supply.

        I don't have "show" things. Considering my sponge upbringing, I am surprised that I was never taught to not use the nice hand towels in the guest bathrooms. It never occured to me to not use them. I do, however, think the seasonal ones were silly. Now that I have a child, I understand the appeal.

        1. re: SeaSide Tomato

          I have a fourth, and final, tier: cat pan scrubber. After a few bouts of that, the sponge (Dobie actually) is allowed to retire. I almost died when I caught my husband using that one to wash his hands one day, though!

          1. re: coll

            We have dedicated cat dishes/pans and tablespoons that are "real" that I picked up for pennies at an outlet. I had to stifle a scream when I saw my mother (Mrs. Germ-o-phob) using the cat's plate and spoon during Thanksgiving dinner.

            This items are kept in a seperate place from the rest of the kitchen stuff. I have no idea why she would have sought them out and used them in lieu of the stuff that was already set out. I had to pry them from her grasp before my husband saw her. He never would have let her live it down.

        2. Isn't this 'Not About Food'?

          I replace the dish sponge pretty frequently. I don't have a show sponge but I do have decorative towels hanging on the oven handle.

          I am paranoid about dish sponges because I had an incident as a guest at someone's house once. I was pregnant so my sense of smell was very, very strong. I was visiting a friend's family home and her parents had this tatty dish sponge by the sink. I could smell it and it looked horrible. I just imagined it scrubbing the dishes and it made me feel that they were contaminated with germs from it. (Pregnancy can make you a bit neurotic, too.) Anyway, one morning I entered the kitchen and could smell the putrid sponge. The odor went straight to the back of my throat. Due to morning sickness combined with the strong sense of smell, I immediately had to throw up. I ran to the bathroom and vomited. They didn't notice. But their stinky sponge had made me throw up. I felt rude as a guest but that morning I told the older sister in the house "Oh, looks like you should put out a new sponge." She didn't take offense at all and just said, "I think you're right!" And tossed it away and pulled out a new one. Since then I have been very meticulous about throwing away sponges frequently, and washing dish rags and kitchen towels in my own kitchen.

          1. No sponges in our house. We use a kitchen scrub brush for any dishwashing and then rinse it off and put it in the dishwasher with the rest of the dishes. I keep a drawer full of plain white dish towels for everything else like wiping off the counters, drying dishes, etc. No "show" towels here....ever since I watched my sister in law wipe up some water that dripped off the floor and then resume drying dishes.

            1. I throw away my sponge every week or two. I just buy big packages of them at a wholesale club. I run the sponge I'm using through the dishwasher a couple of times during its short life and if it smells bad, I boil it in the microwave.

              1. I use a dish brush to scrub dishes. Sponges are for countertops, when black from the charred burners they go into the wash with towels and dusters. Once disgusting they get trashed. I was just thinking this today as my counter top sponge has been machine washed too many times and has a tear. But it's clean.

                1. I use small rough textured dish rags and scrubbies of all sorts, having given up sponges years ago in the kitchen, dish rags last longer. I throw the rags in the laundry with a little bleach and put the non-metal scrubbies in the MW to sanitize them, once a week or more. The towels always look clean and fresh after laundering, and I keep a pile of them in a hanging basket for show. I have dish towels, but let dishes air dry.

                  I have show potholers also, that I never use, and no one else is allowed to touch either.

                  1. Laughing that most of you have the 'show' pot holders...loving all your responses!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      I never knew it was a thing, I always thought it was just me. I do ask, though, when I visit friends for dinner, which potholder to use. I get some "don't touch that one" remarks sometimes; obviously a show potholder!

                    2. I always have at least two towels and two potholders in the kitchen. I have a brand new kitchen sponge that then is retired to the bathroom and then to the trash. Seems that the sponge isn't used on dishes since almost everything goes in the dishwasher. I have a brush that I use for nonstick pans and that goes in the dishwasher.

                      I guess my sponge is just used in the kitchen for the counters and such. It would NEVER touch the floor.

                      1. I hate sponges. They stink and grow bacteria. We use 3M Scotchbrite pads cut in half. When it wears out we use he other half. We also have a steel wool pad for the stainless steel pans and a brush that also occasionally gets used. We don't even have a dishcloth anymore. I bought a pack of cheap white towels and I used about one a day as a bar rag. We have lots of them and they are easy to wash.

                        1. I don't have a show sponge, but I find a quick weekly soak in bleach keeps the sponge-y side of my dish sponge looking fairly not nasty. :)

                          1. Not really, but I do have two (sometime three) dish brush. One for regular dishes. One for tough and oily residue.

                            1. We use a dishcloth. The solution to all sponge and dishcloth problems is to:

                              1. Change/launder them frequently.

                              2. In between launderings, wet the sponge or dishcloth and microwave it on HIGH for two minutes. Daily or more often, if need be.

                              1. no 'show' sponge, but every coupla days I run the sponge thru the microwave (thinking I'm killing bacteria) and a rinse with my diluted bleach solution. He gets replaced every coulpa weeks. I like Sydney's brush idea, seems it would be cleaner

                                1. I believe the American Kennel Club now has a "best in show" category for sponges.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: beevod

                                    LOL...don't forget the pot holders!

                                  2. No show anything, even in the guest rooms — I've always found that wasteful. Why have something you're not going to use?

                                    The sponge is changed out regularly. In between it takes regular bleach baths and dunks in the dishwasher. The sponge normally dissolves from the battering it takes well before it turns nasty.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: odkaty

                                      I remember a Miss Manners column where someone wrote in to complain quite pompously about guests using her "guest towels". She couldn't believe that they would touch her precious show towels. Miss Manners absolutely skewared her, basically saying that towels hanging in the bathroom are fair game. Great moment!

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        I remember reading somethng years ago about how some people dried their hands on the bathroom curtains because they were afraid to mess up the nice towels. When I was growing up and we had company my mother always put out 'bait' hand towels. She laid two on the counter and sort of ruffled up one of them so that people would know it's ok to use them.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          Your mom sounds like a considerate person.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            Agree with Sandy — your mom sounds wonderfully considerate. My aunt used to do that too, though with the nice towels — she expected her guest towels to be used.

                                            1. re: odkaty

                                              I don't remember my mother having any 'show' towels. They were all for use too. She just put a couple fresh ones on the counter when guests were over. She never had any fancy basket of soap either. That wasn't her style. She did not want to have to dust knick knacks so she did not have much of that kind of stuff.

                                              1. re: odkaty

                                                It's sort of the equivalent to taking a piece out of the cake before putting on a buffet table. No one wants to feel like they're messing up something someone put effort into.

                                        2. I'm in the no show version of anything camp. I live in my house every day and figure I deserve to see and use my nicest stuff. If it's too fragile, I don't want it :)

                                          But, more closely related to the OP, I don't use sponges. I have a bunch of 3M kitchen cloths from Costco which get thrown into the wash after one use. Sponges gross me out.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: CanadaGirl

                                            Yeah, we use mesh dishcloths that we wash frequently and nuke even more frequently.

                                          2. Nope. When a sponge gets grungy I toss it and take out a new one. Sponges are cheap.

                                            I don't use them for serious scrubbing anyway though, that job goes to the Dobie pads. And they get tossed when they're a mess also.

                                            1. I buy pretty pink or printed scrubber sponges, sterilize them in the microwave, and replace them often. I guess that's kind of "showy".

                                              1. MS says to toss and replace with new your kitchen sponge every week.
                                                you won't have to hide the one you really use and won't need one for show.
                                                I buy 'em on sale and stock up.
                                                just counted
                                                5 only sponges
                                                3 with gritty scrub ability
                                                4 half and half

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                  No sponges here, either. For counters, I love the Lysol wipes, and for dishes, we use dishcloths. I buy them in the 12 pack; all used towels, dishcloths and potholders go in the laundry after kitchen cleanup. I also have the scratchy scrubby things, and they go in the dishwasher.

                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                      I'm guessing Martha Stewart -- who knows everything about everything, naturally. I think tossing away a sponge every week is wasteful.

                                                  1. yea martha stewart is right.
                                                    you don't have to toss 'em once a week, I'm only saying that's what marth says to do.
                                                    [same day of week too so you don't forget]

                                                    I too use the bacterial wipes for the counter, our DD taught me that trick.
                                                    for the dishes, I buy from that wearhouse store, a plastic box of dishwasher thick paper towels that are already pretreated with dishwasher soap, so use and toss

                                                    4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        Given the common usage of DH for Dear Husband out here, I'm guessing Dear Daughter? Time to start a CFTAOUAOC (Committee for the Abolition of Unnecessary Acronyms on Chowhound). ;-)

                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                          Martha Stewart and Darling Daughter, geeeeeeez................like no one says LOL or ROFLMAO anywhere in the cyber world.....................guess you BobB and CK need to start on that quest

                                                          1. re: BobB


                                                            See you are wrong. It is Darling Daughter not Dear Daughter (just kidding) :)

                                                      2. Am I the only CH who washes their dish sponges, dish towels, aprons and pot holders in the dishwasher? One cycle for all items, a little bit of dishwasher soap and air dry (just leave the door ajar overnight). Works like a charm.

                                                        15 Replies
                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          We don't wash sponges and potholders, we don't often use aprons (what happened to our 'Kiss the Cook' apron?) but towels go into the washing machine with the other hot water stuff. Why would you wash towels in the dishwasher?

                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                              I use the washing machine, but a dishwasher gets way hotter than a washing machine, and so a better job killing any nasties on the cloths.

                                                              1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                The dishwasher is my kitchen washer. The small dish towels and the other things, even the kitchen latex gloves come to think of it, get super clean w/out getting ripped to shreds or mingled with our family clothes, bath towels. Diff machines, diff purpose. Works like a charm. Uses less water too.

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  When you suggest it, it seems completely reasonable and logical. Never occurred to me, even though I immediately saw how it might be better.

                                                            2. re: HillJ

                                                              I've done sponges in there a few times but that's it.
                                                              I have run sponges through the microwave a few times too as I've heard both work (?).
                                                              husb says I need to be more aware of squeezing the sponge really good&strong after use.
                                                              I'm now trying to pay closer attention.

                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                I read a very interesting article in Consumer Reports about this a few years ago. They measured the bacteria present on used sponges - through the roof. They then ran them though a dishwasher, washing machine, microwave etc. and measured the bacteria count after doing so. The result? By a LONG shot, microwaving them for 3 mins. reduced the number of bacteria far more than any other method.

                                                                1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                  There does come a time, no matter how well we clean or maintain our daily kitchen cleaning arsenal, to just THROW IT OUT.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    indeed, this post made me buy new sponges the other day!

                                                                    1. re: smartie

                                                                      hee hee...I'm a shill for scotch-brite sponges..

                                                                    2. re: HillJ

                                                                      LOL...said a little prayer when I finally finally finally chucked that nasty ass bad boy sponge in the trash..it sat so ceremoniously on top of the trash heap with such pride.

                                                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                        I just lit a candle in celebration, BC! That sponge earned it.

                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                          Ha...I hope it was a soy candle.
                                                                          ; )

                                                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                            Ha! Will a floating soy candle do? ;-)

                                                              2. I'm really paying close attention to how thorough I need to be when squeezing them out since hub mentioned it.

                                                                1. Interesting comments on this thread. I don't believe in non functional stuff in my kitchen. I don't want to maintain anything I don't have to. I have 2 red potholders, an array of matching red kitchen towels, and no sponges at all. In fact I hate sponges in general. Mr. Sueatmo uses paper towels to clean the counters. I use a kitchen brush in preference to a sponge for scrubbing. I have a soft nylon scrubbie that looks like metal, for harder scrubbing, and both of these latter items go into the dishwasher. When I clean the counters I use the disposable disinfectant wipes, with silent apologies to the environment. I put everything away when I have people coming into my kitchen.

                                                                  I do have things that please my eye in the kitchen. But those things must have meaning to me, and as items of visual pleasure I feel they have function. But I want my kitchen to look clean and uncluttered.

                                                                  In the bathroom concerning hand towels: I have had the experience of people not using the hand towels carefully left on the towel rack, so I always put a hand towel on the vanity for use when I have visitors in the house. I think decorative hand towels are beyond silly. I've visited plenty of home bathrooms where I couldn't decide if the homemaker expected me to use the silly towels, or not. It is best to leave clues for people in this situation--hence the towel left on the vanity.

                                                                  1. Interesting topic. My mother likes keeping her counter space clear so she can fill it with decorations. I have a more practical approach and feel the kitchen should be clean yet efficient.

                                                                    Regarding a sponge: We stopped using those after we found this thin nylon open weave dishcloth. It stays odor free and easily rinses free of debris. Scrubr is the name, http://www.amazon.com/6pack-Dishcloth...

                                                                    1. Trader Joe's has a 6pk of sponges for $6.99 that are great and last a long time...just getting over the hurdle of paying $7 bucks..

                                                                      1. Actually, I have a "show husband". The regular one is frayed around the edges, can be grumpy at times, and dresses in a mish-mash of uncoordinated clothes. My Show Husband, on the other hand, is gracious, impeccably groomed and and the perfect host. He remains hidden as well, only appearing at important social events.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. Is this your trophy sponge?