Years ago during the renovation of my space, the painters left behind some sanding sponges that they used to sand between coats of the high-gloss enamel used throughout the space, to achieve a perfect finish. Something made me pick one up to try sanding an ugly heating pipe coated in green enamel (at bottom). The fine-grit pad removed the enamel in a jiffy and burnished the copper pipe enough to make it more sculpture than eyesore. The ease-of- transformation was a revelation.
The sanding sponges grit is so fine that it can remove surface blemishes, old paint, tarnish, etc without leaving marks or gouges. They can be used with water and/or soap and, like an ordinary sponge mold to the shape of object, accessing the finest crevice.
Since then, I’ve found myself using the super fine-grit sponges for all sorts of fixes.
Of late: removing the darkened patina of oil cooked onto the backs of cooking pots, to restore them to a handsome, well-used luster (at top). Something about the super fine grit quickly whisks off the baked-on stuff that heftier scrubbing pads can’t seem to make a dent in.
I use finer sanding sponges as a quick fix for random pieces of tarnished silver…They are available in Superfine and Microfine at Woodworking Express. (I keep one with my dish sponge for just such instant polishing).
Note: Be sure to test the effect on a small hidden side of a piece of silver to make sure you like the effect. If you happen to use a sanding sponge that leaves slightly scratches on silver because the grit is too high, polish with a finer grit sponge to remove them.
I use them to remove gilding that, to my eye, muddies some otherwise good designs…
…and “soften” the high-shine of chrome hardware utensils and hardware, from sink to clothing accessories…
I use them in projects and around the house to remove adhesive or penetrating dirt. They are a wonder at cleaning the stove.
They are the only way I’ve found to remove the blims on the toes of worn boots before polishing them, without damaging the leather.
I’ve found that there are sanding sponges and there are sanding sponges. When I couldn’t find the ones the painter left behind, I tried thin, single-sided 3M sponges. Somehow, although they come in very fine grit, their texture is not as malleable as the originals. Amazon now carries the soft, two-sided, washable, reusable sanding sponges. A bargain at about $1 each, although you might find them cheaper at some paint stores. Be sure to chose Superfine, here for most home projects. For silver, you’ll likely want the even finer ones from Woodworking Express. (Hot top: I find cutting the sponge in half cross-wise makes it fit in the hand better and easier to use.)