How to Clean Sea Sponges Found on the Beach

By Lisa Miller
Clean Sea Sponges Found, the Beach
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Sea sponges are simple marine animals of the phylum Porifera, which consists of several species that occasionally wash up on beaches. Sponges lack a nervous system, and they are composed of network of collagen fibers and "ostia" (open channels that allow food, water and debris to flow to the animal's interior). The animal is covered with a thin skin that often remains even after it has washed ashore. The process of cleaning sea sponges is relatively simple and involves the removal of this outer skin, leaving the porous skeleton behind. These cleaned sponges are often collected by hobbyists or used as home decor.

Step 1

a piece, burlap, water, the sponge
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Dampen a piece of burlap with water, and cover the sponge. Leave your sponge under the burlap for several days, or until the outer skin has rotted off. You might want to place the sponge outside during this time because it will smell.

Step 2

a pair, rubber gloves, the sponge, running water
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Put on a pair of rubber gloves, and rinse the sponge under running water. Squeeze the sponge to remove any non-skeletal debris that might still be inside.

Step 3

a container, alcohol, the sponge, the lid
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Fill a container with rubbing alcohol, and place the sponge inside. Close the lid to the container, and let it sit for 48 hours.

Step 4

the sponge, the alcohol, it, a sunny spot
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Remove the sponge from the alcohol, and place it in a sunny spot to dry completely. The cleaned sponge will be a light color, full of open pores, and will lack any remnants of the dark outer skin.

Step 5

your sponge, a dry environment, it
Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media

Store your sponge in a dry environment to preserve it.