As silly as it may sound, our cleaning sponges also need cleaning. Even though they are mostly in soap and water, moisture and food remaining can cause the accumulation of bacteria in your sponge.
But don’t worry; here are three methods to disinfect your kitchen sponge and keep it bacteria-free for longer.
Method #1: Bleach solution
This is a commonly used solution for disinfecting a kitchen sponge:
- Pour 4 cups of water into a small container and mix in 3 tbsp of bleach.
- Once mixed, soak the sponge in the mixture for 5 minutes to let the solution kill the bacteria.
- Take out the sponge, rinse, and then squeeze as much water as possible.
- Let dry in a cool, dry place.
Note: You can replace bleach with full-strength vinegar and follow the same steps for a gentler and greener solution—but never use them together!
Method #2: Microwave
Follow these simple steps to disinfect your kitchen sponge:
- First, you must make sure your sponge doesn’t have any metallic material or a scouring pad.
- Take a small microwave-safe container (big enough to fit your sponge in) and place your sponge in it.
- Pour enough water into the container to make the sponge soak.
- Carefully place the container inside the microwave.
- Microwave in high heat for 1 minute.
- Let the sponge cool down in the microwave for 10-15 minutes.
- Once it cooled down, take the sponge out and squeeze as much water as possible.
- Place the sponge in a cool, dry place.
Method #3 Dishwasher
By using this method, you can save a lot of time and effort. You place the sponge on the top rack of your dishwasher, place the cycle on heat-dry mode, and that’s it. The longest and hottest cycle will have even better results.
Note: According to the previously mentioned studies, this method kills 99.9998 percent of bacteria, mold, and yeast too.
How can I keep my sponge bacteria-free for longer?
First, STOP using your kitchen sponge for anything other than washing your dishes. Cleaning your countertops with a sponge will easily spread bacteria everywhere. It is recommended to use disposable paper towels for that.
Also, avoid using your sponge to wipe out meat juices or food from your dishes since the sponge will not only absorb the bacteria and accelerate its growth, but it may contain E. coli and/or salmonella from the meat juices. Try rinsing your dishes before washing them.
It is important to squeeze all the water out of your sponge, considering that humidity is one of the main factors that speed up bacterial growth. Considering this, you should also store your sponges in a dry location.
Nothing lasts forever. Replace your sponges when they look worn out and start to smell—roughly every month (depending on how frequently it is used).
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