Partner Series

You buy some sponges at the supermarket to do the dishes or clean the bathroom. You get home and rip open the packaging, and out pops a sponge.

But not just a sponge, a wet sponge.

It seems curious, maybe even a little bit gross . Is the sponge moist from condensation inside the plastic packaging? Did some disgruntled sponge factory worker hock a loogie on it? What's the deal?

The answer is deceptively simple and pure marketing: Sponges are moist because manufacturers wet them just before packaging. Typical cellulose kitchen sponges get hard, wrinkled, and crusty-looking when dry. But adding about half of an ounce of water restores them to new heights of consumer-friendly glorious sponginess.

The only reason that sponge packages are airtight is to keep the moisture in, and the water used is purified and distilled. This is done to make sure that there are no bacteria sealed in with the sponge. Otherwise, the moisture would be a potential breeding ground for all sorts of nasty stuff, and the sponge would be spreading germs instead of cleaning them up.