Sandpaper was first mass produced in 1834, but dates back to China in the early 13th century. Similar to sandpaper, sanding sponges are used to smooth an object's grit or texture. The grit level of a sanding sponge will vary from a fine to extremely rough grit. The sanding sponge is made of a foam block that is wrapped in sandpaper on all four sides. The blocks can be used to sand flat and contour surfaces while being wet or dry. The sanding sponges are disposed of after several uses, or when there is no longer texture on the block.
Determine the type of sanding block needed. The sanding sponge's packaging material will read the grit level of the sponge. Understand the higher the number, the finer the finish. Look for wet/dry sponges that can be used on wood, plastic and metal surfaces. Recognize that different surfaces require different sanding blocks—though most sanding blocks are wet/dry and will work on all surfaces. Read the packing label to ensure you have chosen the correct block.
Put on safety equipment. Prior to sanding, wear a safety mask to avoid inhaling small airborne particles. Wear additional safety material such as eye protection and gloves, if desired.
Sand in the direction of the grain. Start with a heavy- to medium-grit sanding sponge, and finish sanding with a fine- or light-grit sponge. Always wipe off and clean an object well after sanding; paint and other material will not stick to a dust coated surface.
Wet the sanding sponge with water to decrease dust and debris. Pass the sanding sponge lightly over the surface for a fine to medium finish. Scrub the finish to remove texture and rough surfaces. Rinse the sponge in the sink if it starts to clog.