How to Sterilize a Sea Sponge

Written by steve sparkes
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How to Sterilize a Sea Sponge
The loofah is a type of sea sponge. (loofa sponge on side image by Stephen Orsillo from Fotolia.com)

Sea sponges have long been used for bathing and scrubbing. The ancient Greeks even used them for this purpose. With the modern preference for more natural products, sea sponges are popular once again. Sea sponges naturally accumulate less bacteria and mould than synthetic ones, but as they do last a long time, you will probably want to clean/sterilise them at some point. As they are so resistant to problems with bacteria, you can now even buy reusable, environmentally friendly tampons made with sea sponge material. In fact, coastal dwelling women have used sea sponges in this way for centuries. Sea sponges are hypoallergenic and, as they are a natural product, are fully biodegradable.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Either:
  • Bowl
  • Warm water
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Bleach
  • Or:
  • Cup
  • Boiling water or colloidal silver
  • Few drops tea tree oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp baking soda

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Wash your sea sponge using antibacterial soap. Although it is resistant to bacteria, it can't combat it completely without a little help occasionally.

  2. 2

    Soak your sea sponge in a mild bleach solution if you feel it needs a good clean and you have had it for a long time.

  3. 3

    Dry your sea sponge in the sun if you can. If you keep your sea sponge dry when you are not using it, it will last longer. If you dry it in the sun, the ultraviolet rays will also help keep bacteria from growing on the surface.

  1. 1

    Rinse your sea sponge tampons between uses during your period.

  2. 2

    Put the sea sponge tampon in boiling water for 60 seconds or let it soak in a colloidal silver solution to disinfect it.

  3. 3

    Mix a solution of baking soda and cider vinegar with a few drops of tea tree oil. Place cooled disinfected tampons in mixture to soak.

Tips and warnings

  • Although sea sponges are more hygienic than man-made sponges, they do tend to wear out quicker. A good way to revive an old sea sponge is to let it soak in some cold salt water. As the sea sponge used to live in the sea, cold salt water is, of course, its natural environment. Soaking it like this will bring your old sea sponge back to life.
  • You will probably not need to be too harsh on your sea sponge unless you are using sea sponge tampons. Its natural antibacterial properties will mean that for ordinary uses, mild cleaning techniques will suffice whilst causing least damage to your sponge.
  • Don't use your sea sponge for doing different jobs. For instance, if you use one in the kitchen, don't use the same one in the bathroom. Although sea sponges are naturally resistant to bacteria, as they are porous, and they do pick up dirt. You don't want to rub the contents of your dirty oven all over your skin!

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