8 Tips of How to Clean a Kitchen Sponge

Disinfect Kitchen Sponge Hacks

A kitchen sponge contains more bacteria as inside a toilet bowl. Yes, it is that disgusting when not proper care is taken. In this post, we will explain to you what hygiene measurements you need to do to eliminate harmful germs and bacteria and how to clean a kitchen sponge correctly. Also, the most powerful hacks to clean and disinfect the kitchen sponge. Remember, we do not want to give bacteria even a slight change to survive.

WHY YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT KITCHEN SPONGE BACTERIA

kitchen sponge bacteria

According to many scientific studies more than 40 billion bacteria reside inside a sponge at any given time. As I have said earlier, this is more than inside your toilet bowl. The number sounds high, but in fact a lot of harmless bacteria gather here too.

The problem with harmful bacteria is caused mainly by cleaning raw food such as eggs, fish, and meat. The Furtwangen University, Germany conducted a study and found that over 300 harmful bacteria from the risk factor group 2 reside inside a used sponge.

For a healthy person, most of the bacteria are harmless as the body’s immune system can easily take care of them. However, risk groups like children, elderly, or sick people have a higher potential to get problems. Here is list a of the top 5 most harmful bacteria found inside a used sponge:

  1. Salmonella
  2. Enterobacter cloacae
  3. Escherichia coli
  4. Campylobacter
  5. Klebsiella

REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO DISINFECT THE KITCHEN SPONGE

As a kitchen sponge is made out of polyurethane foam, the interior has a lot of spores for the water to absorb. Although, the water is easily absorbs, this brings room for bacteria growth.
Once the bacteria finds its home inside the sponge, it can easily spread when washing the dishes or utensils for food preparation.

The life cycle of bacteria is around 10 – 14 days giving it enough time to contaminate your dishes.

TIP: CHANGE YOUR KITCHEN SPONGE ON A REGULAR BASIS EVERY 4 WEEKS

Proven ways to disinfect a dish sponge

No doubt, a sponge should be changed on a regular basis, but also disinfecting the kitchen sponge is important. These are the most powerful and proven hacks that work

1. Disinfect sponge in microwave

Kitchen Sponge microwave

The microwave can kill 99% of the bacteria due to its heat, but please be careful as the heat can burn the polyurethane foam. HOW TO DO IT CORRECTLY:

  • Firstly, a dry kitchen sponge will burn inside the microwave. Therefore, either add detergent onto the sponge and let it soak with water or use vinegar and water instead.
  • Next, either put a paper towel underneath the kitchen sponge or place it inside a bowl filled with water
  • Place the sponge inside the microwave and turn on for 2 minutes
  • Caution Hot: Do not take out the kitchen sponge right away. Let it cool off for a couple of minutes before putting it back onto the sponge holder.

2. Clean Kitchen Sponges in the Washing Machine

Simply put the kitchen sponge into your next load of laundry. The washing machine not only cleans clothing but also can take care of your sponge. The best, it also protect the environment! HOW TO DO IT CORRECTLY:

  • Place kitchen sponge with laundry into washing machine
  • Once finished, squeeze out all the left over water and let the sponge dry before use.

3. Washing sponges in the dishwasher

Not only the washing machine can clean the kitchen sponge as the dishwasher is also a suitable alternative. Please use only the low heat level when cleaning the kitchen sponge HOW TO DO IT CORRECTLY:

  • Place kitchen sponge into the dishwasher the next time you run it
  • Once finished, squeeze out all the left over water and let the sponge dry before use.

TIP: Use this method only with microfiber sponges as the regular Scott Foam Sponges are not suitable.

4. Disinfect Kitchen Sponge with Vinegar – Version 1

White Vinegar contains a lot of organic acids and is very powerful to use as a general disinfectant solution everywhere inside the house. HOW TO DO IT CORRECTLY:

  • Heat one cup of water (needs to be boiling)
  • Have a small bowl handy where the sponge completely fits into it.
  • Add around 4 tablespoons of white vinegar into the water (also
  • Put the sponge into the mixture and let soak for approximately 15 minutes
  • Squeeze out the water from the sponge to remove leftover dirt

5. Disinfect Kitchen Sponge with Vinegar – Version 2

This is another alternative version of cleaning a kitchen sponge with white vinegar. HOW TO DO IT CORRECTLY:

  • Fill up a small bowl with hot water as following: 250ml water, 125ml white vinegar, and 3 tablespoon salt
  • Place the sponge into the mixture
  • Let it absorb overnight (or at least 10 hours)
  • Squeeze out the water from the sponge to remove leftover dirt

6. Sterilize the kitchen sponge with liquid dish-washing Soap

Clean your kitchen tiles

Due to the properties of killing bacteria on dishes, the dishwashing soap also can take care of your kitchen sponge. I recommend using hot water in combination with the soap as it disinfects much better. HOW TO DO IT CORRECTLY:

  • Heat one cup of water (needs to be boiling)
  • Have a small bowl handy where the sponge completely fits into it.
  • Add a spritzer of liquid dish-washing soap into the water
  • Put the kitchen sponge into the mixture and let soak for approximately 15 minutes
  • Squeeze out the water from the sponge to remove leftover dirt

7. Disinfect a dish sponge with Lemon Juice

kitchen sponge disinfect lemon

Lemon juice is another natural alternative besides using white vinegar. It is environmentally friendly and also contains natural antibacterial agents to kill off 99% of bacteria. One of the reason, why dishwashing detergents are lemon based are because of the said reason. HOW TO DO IT CORRECTLY:

  • Heat one cup of water (needs to be boiling)
  • Squeeze out the juice of 2-3 lemons or limes and add into the hot water
  • Place the kitchen sponge inside the mixture and let it soak for one hour
  • Squeeze out the water from the sponge to remove leftover dirt

8. Disinfect the kitchen Sponge with Bleach

Bleach is the number one bacteria killer of all times, and yes you can also disinfect the kitchen sponge with bleach. I, personally, use this method for my countertop sponge only as I am a little bit cautious cleaning the dishes with a disinfected bleached sponge. HOW TO DO IT CORRECTLY:

  • Add 1/5 cup bleach to 1 liter of water
  • Place the sponge into the bleach/water mixture
  • Let it soak for 15 minutes
  • Squeeze out the water from the sponge to remove leftover dirt

MORE ABOUT KITCHEN SPONGE SAFETY

  • If you are doing all your dishes by hand wash, replace the sponge every 2 weeks
  • Have at least 6 sponges to rotate them around
  • If the sponge gets smelly, it is time for the trash bin
  • Use Microfiber Sponges for countertop cleaning only
  • For the countertop and dishes, use two separate sponges (do not use the same!)
  • Always wring the sponge after use and let it dry completely
  • Use the foam sponges for dish-washing only

Remember that your kitchen is the lung of your health. Having a badly sensitized kitchen with bacteria running around like there is no tomorrow, your health will also suffer. Stay safe and keep everything spotless clean!

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