© Ghassan Safi | Dreamstime.com

How to Clean Your Kitchen Sponge

You need to wash your sponge to properly wash your dishes

© Ghassan Safi | Dreamstime.com

Bacteria is not something humans can see with the naked eye, and because of that, we tend not to realize how dirty certain items or surfaces in our home actually are. You might not know it, but your kitchen sponge can be full of bacteria. 

The Dirtiest Places in Your Home

We may forget to clean this vital kitchen tool that helps us to hand-wash dishes. But if you don’t clean it, your sponge could actually be spreading germs and bacteria all across your kitchen.

Sponges tend to not dry out after being used, and that leftover moisture in the sponge allows bacteria to multiply. There are three easy methods to sanitize your sponges: You can use your microwave, dishwasher or a sanitizing solution.

If you want to use your microwave, make sure your sponge doesn’t have metallic scrub pads. The sponge should be completely wet because if it is not, it could catch fire. Microwave the sponge for one minute on high, then wait 10-15 minutes after the microwave timer goes off to give the sponge time to cool down. According to the United State Department of Agriculture, microwaving sponges kills 99.9999% of bacteria present on them.

Another method that is nearly as effective is running the sponge through the dishwasher. When using your dishwasher, select the hottest and longest cycle and use the dry cycle. According to the USDA, dishwashing kills 99.9998% of bacteria on sponges.

The third method is to clean your sponge using a sanitizing solution. The solution should be one-quarter to one-half of a teaspoon of concentrated bleach per quart of warm — not hot — water. Soak the sponge in the solution for one minute. 

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No matter which method you choose, make sure you clean your sponge. It’s just one of many places in your home crawling with hidden bacteria.