A Kitchen Sponge is Full Of Bacteria
Kitchen sponges are handy in the kitchen, but they are full of germs, more germs, in fact, than a toilet!
Everyone I know uses kitchen sponges, those pieces of foam covered by a soft scouring pad that is perfect for removing stubborn dirt from dishes, pots and pans. But I bet you were not aware of the fact that these kitchen sponges harbour more germs than a toilet!
A study undertaken in 2017 by Scientific Reports cites that more than 362 types of bacteria can be found in a kitchen sponge. That's not something you want to think about, especially not when doing the dishes or wiping down kitchen countertops. And while the majority of bacteria found on a kitchen sponge are harmless, there are several that are not and can be detrimental to your health.
Replace kitchen sponges regularly - every week!
Only use a kitchen sponge for washing dishes.
But how can a kitchen sponge harbour more germs than a toilet, you may ask? It's mostly due to the fact that in the kitchen you work with all types of food groups on a regular basis. Perhaps you prep and cook chicken on Monday night and then pork on Tuesday night, and so on. All this time you are using the same kitchen sponge to wash your dishes. And while you cannot see the germs on a kitchen sponge, they are definitely there.
Regularly sanitizing a kitchen sponge will sanitize it for the next load of dishes.
Only use a Kitchen Sponge for Dishes
• Prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen
The only way to prevent cross-contamination in a kitchen is to only use a kitchen sponge for washing dishes and use different cloths for cleaning countertops. In this way, you won't be spreading germs around the kitchen.
• Regularly sanitize your kitchen sponge
Regularly sanitizing a kitchen sponge will sanitize it for the next load of dishes. Rinse the sponge in hot water and then lightly squeeze so only a small amount of water is left in the sponge before popping it into the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. This should kill off most of the harmful bacteria.
Some people like to soak their kitchen sponges in household bleach after every single use, but my experience with this is that the sponge becomes very soft and not as good for wiping down dirty dishes.
Another great idea for sanitizing a kitchen sponge is to have a jar of white spirit vinegar mixed with 3 heaped spoons of salt, with a cup of hot water added to this. Soak the sponge overnight and rinse ready for the next day.
• Replace sponges regularly
Kitchen sponges aren't meant to be used for a long time, so you should limit their use for no longer than a week before taking out a new sponge. You don't need to throw out old sponges; remove the scourer pad and use it for cleaning brass, copper or silver items.