‘I refuse to have sponges in the house because I can’t resist eating them’

Claire Louise Owen revealed she can’t be around anything made of sponge as she has an uncontrollable urge to nibble on the foam, which began when she was a teenager

Claire’s bath sponge cravings developed when she was 14

A mum-of-two has revealed that she refuses to buy sponges for her household as she can’t resist eating them.

Claire Louise Owen, 44, says she started chewing sponges when she was 14, and believes she’s suffering from an eating disorder called pica, which makes her crave non-food items with no nutritional value.

Claire, from Criccieth, North Wales, said: “It started when I was around 14 or 15. I worked in a chemist, and I used to want to buy sponges so I could eat them.

“I like the ripping sensation, putting it in my mouth, ripping, chewing, and swallowing it. It’s the texture that I like – they taste horrible.

Claire used to get through one sponge a week


Kennedy News and Media)

She would hide the sponges in her bedroom and eat them in secret


Kennedy News and Media)

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“The cheaper the better and I like the sponge with the smaller holes. Some sponges are the wrong texture, and you can’t rip it.

“If I have a sponge, I keep it in my bedroom drawer and take two to three bites a day so it will last for around a week.”

Claires says she knows her eating habits aren’t good for her, and even feels “relieved” when she’s finished a sponge.

Claire believes an iron deficiency caused her to develop pica


Kennedy News and Media)

She has now curbed her cravings and doesn’t do it “as much anymore”


Kennedy News and Media)

She added: “When it’s gone, I feel relieved and stop myself from buying another one.

“I try really hard not to. I bought one a few months ago, started eating it then threw it in the bin because I know I shouldn’t.

“I do worry about whether I’m digesting it.”

Claire’s cravings get worse when she’s on her period, stressed, or tired, and they were particularly hard to resist when she was pregnant with her sons, William, 11, and Sam, 10.

She explained: “I think it’s hormonal because the cravings come and go.

“At the beginning of my pregnancy it was bad because I was tired, but I was worried for health reasons, so I tried my hardest not to.

“It gets worse in the stressful times in my life, if I’m on my period or run down and when I was a teenager, I would pick bits of the sofa and eat it.

“I wasn’t open enough to tell the doctor, I was really secretive about it.

“I haven’t been diagnosed with pica but it’s something that’s always been a thing in my life.”

The mum – who runs her own coaching business, The Soberholic, where her mission is to “share the benefits of a sober life” – also thinks her addiction could be down to an iron deficiency.

And although she still battles with her sponge craving, Claire says she doesn’t chew on the common cleaning item “as much anymore”.

She said: “I don’t do it as much anymore but it’s hormonal and my vitamin deficiency.

“I wasn’t eating it instead of food, it was the texture in my mouth that I craved.

“I stopped drinking alcohol, started drinking protein shakes and taking vitamins.

“I’m much more in tune with my body now.”


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