Kitchen sponges are notorious for gathering bacteria over time. They look unassuming, but a sponge can be one of the dirtiest items in the house. Bacteria comes in contact with sponges, and the moisture within them allows germs to thrive.
To prevent sponges from spreading germs you need to sanitize them. While you should still be replacing your sponges regularly, here are three methods for cleaning your sponges (and one to avoid!).
This is by far the most reliable way to clean your sponges. According to the Good Housekeeping Institute, bleach can kill up to 99.9% of bacteria found on sponges. Soak your sponges together in a bucket of hot water, add a little bleach, and let sit for a few minutes. Then, rinse and squeeze the sponges out under a cold tap. Clean all of your sponges at least once a week like this. That’s all there is to it! However, make sure you toss out old sponges, as they still become unusable even after cleaning with bleach. Throw your kitchen sponges out every 2 or 3 weeks, and household cleaning sponges out after a couple of cleaning sessions. Any sponges used for deep-cleaning should be thrown out immediately after use.
This is similar to the bleach bath method, and generally just as effective! Just soak your sponges in a bucket of white vinegar (undiluted with water) and leave to sit for just a few minutes before rinsing. Both bleach and vinegar are quite cost effective and versatile cleaning products, so use whatever you have on hand already.
Another way to clean your kitchen sponges in particular is to put it in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent is effective at cleaning germs and food particles out of sponges. You can do this every few nights as needed. One word of advise would be to use this method for kitchen sponges only, and not sponges used for household cleaning. While in theory both your dishes and your sponges get clean in the process, it is best to keep other cleaning equipment away from your food.
All around the internet you will see articles explaining how to clean your sponges in the microwave. If that sounds dangerous, it’s because it is! While most people won’t run into any problems, there is still a chance that your sponge will burst into flames, especially if not done correctly. Why give yourself another reason to worry? Stick to the tried and tested methods that will get your sponges clean every time.
According to the Daily Mail, the kitchen sponge is 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat – and could even lead to PARALYSIS! So now that you know all that, make sure you either change or sanitise your sponges every couple of days!