Tag: Natural Sea Sponges

Sponge and Chamois News and Issues

Below is a list of sponge and chamois news and issues related articles. These articles relate to our products, industry and interests. We hope you find them as interesting and informative as we do.


09/2017 –  Tarpon Springs sponge company goes back to family roots

Acme Sponge and Chamois Co. in Tarpon Springs has sold its chamois business to Hopkins Manufacturing Corp…Acme will continue to operate its natural and synthetic sponge business as The Acme Sponge Company, which was not part of the transaction, a press release said.

“The chamois business was almost completely automotive in nature while the sponge business spans bath, cosmetic, paint, general cleaning and hardware. Hopkins focus is automotive. Chamois was a perfect fit for them,” Jim Cantonis, president of Acme, told Tampa Bay Business Journal. “We now take Acme Sponge back to our family roots.”…read more


05/2017 –  The More You NOAA: What Budget Cuts Mean for Florida’s Sponge Business

The Trump administration has proposed cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) budget that will have huge impacts on the economies of coastal communities. Growing up in Florida, I know that these cuts mean more to my community than numbers on a spreadsheet. For so many of my neighbors, from the commercial fisherman to the marine researcher, these cuts will impact how they make a living and provide for their families…read more


08/2016Dirty Microfiber and Plastic Fish

Although microfiber cloth and microbeads seemed to allow for a new generation of drying and scrubbing products, we are only now beginning to understand their impacts on our environment. These types of products are made from plastics or synthetic materials that are not biodegradable, but are small enough that they cannot be filtered out by existing water treatment systems. And, as a result, are eventually washed out into our lakes, rivers and oceans to become microplastic litter. The primary source of mircoplastic litter, the most prevalent of which is microfibers, are produced from washing synthetic or microfiber cloth…read more


12/2015Tarpon Springs Business Links its Success to Florida Sea Grant

Jim Cantonis is president of Acme Sponge and Chamois of Tarpon Springs, Fla., a successful processor and wholesaler of marine sponges and sheepskin chamois products sold around the world. Florida Sea Grant contributes to the company’s success by conducting research in the biology of marine sponges that helps ensure the sustainability of the commercial fishery…read more


10/2015Clean the Fleece, Dirty the Planet

It’s getting cold. Time to break out the fleece. Warm and light, it even comes in a nice shade of green: a lot of the material used to make fleece comes from recycled plastic bottles — better in your sweater than in a landfill.

Green that is, until you run it through the washing machine. That’s when thousands of plastic microfibers get flushed into the sewer system and on to some stream, lake, river and ocean…read more


08/2014Restoring Florida Bay: Sponges the foundation for thriving ecosystem

Prior to the 1990s the Florida Keys sponge community was a lively underwater city for fish and invertebrates. Curious divers could hear the snap, crackle and pop of snapping shrimp. The noisy bottom was a sign of health for the organisms that provide nursery habitat to juvenile marine species.
But now when divers plunge to the bottom, it’s as if the sponge community is on mute. There is no hustle and bustle of creatures foraging for their next meal, only silence…read more


08/2014Sponges: The Keys to the Keys
Where have all the sponges gone? Healthy sponge populations are an important part of the Florida Keys ecosystem. But a series of harmful algal blooms has essentially eliminated once thriving sponge communities over large areas of Florida Bay and the Keys. Can this critical habitat
recover? With Florida Sea Grant funding, researchers are now testing transplant techniques to see if they can accelerate the restoration process. Initial results are promising…read more

Natural Sea Sponge Uses

Natural sea sponge uses are many and varied. Sea sponges are one of the most versatile cleaning tools available and have been used for the last 2000 years by cultures all over the world. They are routinely used for many different types of jobs including baby care, bathing, cosmetic application and removal, wall washing, general cleaning, wallpaper application, hand washing delicate fine china, crystal and silver. Natural sponges are used by car, boat and aircraft enthusiasts to safely wash vehicle finishes, interiors and clean wheels and tires.

Baby bathing is one of the most popular uses of natural sponges, as they are extremely soft and gentle on a baby’s skin and produce a rich soothing lather. Sea sponges are not only soft, absorbent and durable, they are also a hypo-allergenic and non-toxic solution for cleaning delicate skin. The same qualities that make these sponges popular for washing infants, also makes them ideal for adult faces and bodies. Natural sponges have also been used as a natural makeup remover for centuries.

Natural Sea Sponge Uses Collection of Sponges
Natural Sea Sponge Uses
Collection of Sponges

Natural sea sponge uses also include kitchen and bath applications. Using a sea sponge in the kitchen has many benefits over the commonly used synthetic sponges. Sea sponges, unlike synthetics, are naturally antibacterial, essentially self-cleaning (because of their pore structure) and, as a result, don’t develop the nasty odors normally associated with a kitchen sponge. In addition, they create a thick dense lather and hold an enormous amount of soap, which makes the job quick and easy. The same properties make it great for cleaning showers, tubs, counter-tops and tile.

Vehicle detailing is also one of the great sea sponge uses. The incredible softness and nap of a sea sponge and the amount of soapy water they hold, protect the finish from marring or scratching by creating a buffer between the sponge and the surface. The porous nature and nap of sea sponges, pull dirt and grit away from the surface and into the pores of the sponge where they will not mar the finish. They are also great for cleaning wheels and tires because of the sea sponge’s ability to completely release the dirt and grit they collect.

Painting or faux finishing is also one of the main sea sponge uses. The techniques are simple to learn, require no special equipment and create an unlimited number of effects. A newly popular use, is using natural sponges with military color paints to create different types of camouflage effects.

Why Use a Sea Sponge

Sea sponges are soft, absorbent, durable, non-toxic and hypoallergenic. Natural sea sponges, unlike artificial sponges, naturally inhibit the growth of bacteria, are 100% biodegradable, environmentally safe, economical, and a sustainably harvested, quickly renewable natural resource.

Sea Sponge Uses and Care

They also have natural antibacterial properties. Maintaining a natural sponge is as simple as thoroughly washing with warm water and soap. They can also be washed in a dishwasher or be disinfected using both natural and synthetic disinfectants. Natural sponges cannot be disinfected with bleach products, as they will attack the fiber of the sponge, causing it to breakdown.

See all Sea Sponge Products

How Sea Sponges Are Processed for Use

All sponges are a dark brown when they are first harvested. It is only after processing that sponges take on the brown or light tan color that most consumers are familiar with. Processing sea sponges for use is a multi-step process that begins on the boats right after the sponges are harvested. The process begins with cleaning all of the unwanted tissue and any debris from of the sponge.

Harvesting and Cleaning Natural Sea Sponges

Wool Sea Sponges with Outer Black Skin Covering - Florida Sea Grant Photo
Wool Sea Sponge with Outer Black Skin Covering – Florida Sea Grant Photo

Sea sponges are cleaned through a process that requires several steps. Once removed from the water the living tissue begins to breakdown. The sponges are covered with wet burlap and left on the deck for several days where the heat of the sun and the damp of the burlap help with the removal of the non-skeletal tissue; if the outer skin dries out and hardens, the sponges become worthless. The sponges are then squeezed, or “paddled”, to remove all of the unwanted tissue until only the skeleton of the sponge remains.

During this messy cleaning, or curing, process, the tough outer black skin, gurry and the debris from the sponge’s canals are removed. The market price of a sponge is determined, in large part, by how well the sponges have been cleaned. After cleaning, the sponges are rinsed and hung to dry before being sent to a sponge processing warehouse.

Processing Natural Sea Sponges

After arriving at the warehouse, the sponges begin the processing stage of preparation for sale. The raw sponges are first soaked in water and then partially dried to the point where the sponges are still damp, but the excess water has been removed. The damp sponges, which are easier to cut than when dry, are then trimmed to remove any remaining roots or any other unwanted portions. The trimmed sponges are then sorted by quality and those that are well-rounded and symmetrical are set aside to be processed and sold as “form” sponges, which are also suitable for decoration, and “cut” sponges that have more working surface area.

Once the sponges are trimmed and separated, they are soaked in a weak solution of acid overnight to remove any remaining bits of root, skin, gurry, sand (or any other debris) that may have been missed in the other cleaning processes. The sponges are then removed from the solution and washed, often in large commercial washing machines, with a soda solution that not only neutralizes the acid and removes any remaining particles form the sponge, but also lightens the color of the sponge. The washing time and amount of acid used ultimately determine the color and texture of the finished sponge; this is the most delicate part of the process and requires a high level of skill and expertise. The sponges are then sent to the drying room and allowed to dry completely before being shipped to our retailers.

The Finished Natural Sea Sponge

The finished sea sponges (Wool, Yellow or Grass) are available in a variety of sizes, depending on the intended application. But all of our sea sponges are highly absorbent, inhibit the growth of bacteria, reusable, economical, environmentally safe and a 100% biodegradable sustainably harvested renewable natural resource.

See all Sea Sponge Products

Acme The Natural Brand

Our “The Natural” brand sponges are sourced from all over the world, the bulk of which are purchased directly from the fisherman who harvest them.  In order to insure the quality of our sponges, no middlemen are involved; the sponges are purchased at the source by our own employees.  The sponges, which are

The Natural Brand Yellow and Wool Sponge Collection
The Natural Brand
Yellow and Wool Sponge Collection
initially sorted for quality at the point of purchase, are then sorted again at every stage of processing; and before final packaging, where our team rejects any sponge that does not adhere to our rigid standards. Our natural sponge team boasts over 160 years of experience and skill, resulting in the highest quality natural sea sponges available.

Types of The Natural brand Sea Sponges

We offer several different types of natural sea sponges under “The Natural” brand including “Wool”, “Yellow” and “Grass”.  “Wool” (or “Lamb’s Wool”) is one of the softest types of sponge available and is often used for washing more delicate surfaces, or where it is critical that dirt and grit be pulled away, without scratching or marring.  “Yellow” Sponges are somewhat stiffer than Wool and are great for soft scrubbing or exfoliation. “Grass” sponges have finer pores than either the Wool or Yellow sponges, and are more economical.

The Natural brand Sea Sponge Uses

Our “The Natural” brand sponges are often used by car enthusiasts and exotic car owners to safely clean the vehicle without scratching or marring the finish.  Because natural sea sponges completely release the dirt and grit (pulled away from the finish and into the pores) when rinsed, they are also often preferred as a means to remove abrasive and corrosive brake dust from the tires and wheels.  In addition to automotive applications, natural sea sponges are used for bathing sensitive skin on both mothers and babies, cosmetic application and removal, hand washing delicate china and glassware, safely polishing silver and antiques, as well as wallpaper and faux finish applications, wall washing and general cleaning.

See our “The Natural” brand sponges