A Grungy Sponge Story

If a person had a rental unit near the beach and let her friends use it as a discounted rate, and one of those friends liked to clean everything with one grungy sponge, and then she left it under the kitchen sink, can you guess what would happen after that?

The next friend came down to use the house and found the sponge under the kitchen sink. Since I am from the Midwest where people wash their dishes with dishrags, not sponges, my California friend did not look in the dishrag drawer to find a cloth to wash the dishes with. Instead she used the grungy sponge (which had been used to clean the toilets and maybe the floors) to wash the dishes.

The next group down there was a girlfriend thing. I was there, too. When I saw a girlfriend washing the dishes with that grungy sponge, I said, “Where did you get that?”

“Right here, in the drainer,” she said.

I thought back to Tess renting my house, then Sherry renting it before her and realized what had happened.

“Oh, don’t use that!” I said.  “It’s a toilet sponge!”

“Ew!” went everyone within earshot.

After that, I threw away any sponge I came across whenever I went down there.

Dishrags can dry out between uses. If they don’t, then you put them in the wash and get a new one. Sponges may or may not dry out. To me, it is gross to use them over and over. It’s all how you grew up, I guess.

My mother and grandmother had a strict rule that dish towels were only used on dishes. If you dropped it on the floor, you got a clean one out of the drawer. A hand towel was for hands, not the same as a dish towel.

So when I was at a recent dinner party, drying the dishes at the end of the night while a friend washed them, I was horrified when a guy came up and dried his hands on the towel I was using.

“My grandmother would roll over in her grave if she saw you do that,” I said.

“What’s the big deal?” he said. “We are both drying things that are wet – dishes and hands.”

It’s all how you were raised. My friend, who grew up on an Iowa farm, had an immaculate house and the dirtiest kitchen hand towel you ever saw, as though she only washed it once a month.

I have a drawer full of dish towels. Oh, another thing my grandmother and mother did — they washed the dishtowels, hand towels and dish rags in a separate load, never with clothing, bath towels, or underwear.   Maybe it’s a German thing. I continue the tradition of washing things for the table and kitchen separately from the rest.

They also separated whites and darks, and fuzzies and non-fuzzies when doing laundry. I am not sure what they would’ve done with a toilet sponge in the dish drainer. They probably would’ve run screaming from the kitchen, like I did.

A sponge is a sponge is a sponge, until it is a toilet sponge, in which case it should be kept in the bathroom cabinet, not under the kitchen sink.

Couldda Wouldda Didda

I threw out all of the sponges in the house.


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