Home Care

There is Only One Way to 'Clean' Your Kitchen Sponge

Better yet, if it stinks, throw it out.


We’ve already established that your kitchen sink needs constant sanitizing and disinfecting as it’s considered to be one of the dirtiest areas in your home, but did you know that your kitchen sponge also needs your attention?

In fact, a feature on TIME suggests that you ditch your sponge all together, as oils and food residue tend to embed themselves in its porous material, turning it into the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Moreover, your sponge never really dries, so it can invite a lot of bugs to propagate in it, too.

Chucking your plates in a dishwasher is considered the most effective way of rinsing them, however, dishwashes are quite expensive and not as popular in the Philippines—so when you hand wash your dishes, the next best thing is to know how to clean your kitchen sponge as thoroughly as possible.

Ditch the vinegar and the boiling water


Cleaning techniques like dousing your sponge in hot water, soaking it in vinegar, and even microwaving it doesn’t cut it, as only the weaker bacteria die. University of Furtwangen microbiologist Markus Egbert reveals on The New York Times that there are “362 different species of bacteria” in the common kitchen sponge, and there are about 82 billion bacteria in just a cubic inch of space. The usual methods of cleaning often only aggravate hardier bacteria rather than killing them.

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There is actually just one household item that can satisfactorily clean your kitchen sponge: bleach. You can either soak it in a bleach-plus-water solution, or toss it in your laundry machine in the hottest setting with bleach and detergent. Even then, you have to remember that your sponge will never truly be clean. So an option would be either to shift to using a plastic or a silicone brush for dish washing, or to make peace with the fact that you have to throw out your sponge every week (or use it on less sensitive surfaces outside the kitchen). And If it begins to stink in less than seven days, don’t hesitate to throw it out, as it means that a hardy, odor-producing microbe called Moraxella osloensis is present, and it’s known to cause infections in people who have weak immunity. Better safe than sorry.


h/t: Reader's Digest

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