Please wait while I go throw out all my kitchen sponges! And I think you might too after you read today’s blog post. I have had this habit lately of going down rabbit holes of information. This week it has been finding out the dirty truth about kitchen sponges! And I am going to share some great alternatives with you!
I mean, I know they can get gross but not this gross. We do our best to keep them sanitized, but it doesn’t help! That’s right! Is one way better than the other keeping them clean? Throwing them in the microwave or the dishwasher? Nope, turns out both don’t work! Let’s break it down together. And speaking of dirty, I did a blog post a while back The 5 Most Forgotten Areas When Cleaning Your Home. You can read that here.
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What do the experts have to say about your dirty sponge?
It turns out that most of our cleaning methods for cleaning our kitchen sponges have shown to increase some bacteria growth. Many studies have been done on kitchen sponges and most have come up with the same conclusion, they’re gross! If you want to read one on the microbiome analysis and confocal microscopy study of used kitchen sponges, you can click here.
The main issue with the typical kitchen sponge is they never dry out fully between uses. Or they take a long time. The makeup of a kitchen sponge is the perfect place for bacteria to grow. They are like little incubators for microorganisms. Most of the germs hang out in the middle of the sponge.
Studies have shown that while most people think they are avoiding bacteria by throwing them in the microwave or dishwasher they aren’t. They help a bacteria grow called Moraxella Osloensis. It is resistant to being cleaned in both the dishwasher and microwave. Do you know that smell that sponges sometimes get? That’s Moraxella and there is no saving it at that point. Just throw it away.
Common ways of sanitizing a kitchen sponge
Now if you are stubborn and want to keep your kitchen sponge it’s recommended that at a minimum you replace it once a week. This will help prevent E. Coli and Salmonella from growing. I am going to include the three popular ways of cleaning kitchen sponges. Experts recommend the 1st one, the bleach and water method.
- Bleach Method – Use a solution of one-quarter to one-half of a teaspoon of concentrated bleach per quart of warm water. Soak your sponge for one minute. Rinse, squeeze out thoroughly, and let dry.
- Microwave method – First make sure there is no metal on your sponge. Make sure the sponge is completely wet. This is important if it’s not completely wet it could catch on fire. Put in the microwave for 1 minute. Be careful when removing it because it will be hot.
- Dishwasher method – Place your sponge on the top rack and use the hottest setting. Be sure to use the dry cycle.
Kitchen sponge alternatives
If you are like me after finding out that “cleaning” your kitchen sponge really doesn’t get rid of the bacteria and threw them all out, don’t stress! I have several alternatives for you to try!
This is a great alternative because silicone is non-porous, gentle, and flexible. They are also very quick-drying and resistant to harmful bacteria. You can sanitize them in the dishwasher, and it will work! Silicone is also heat resistant up to 500 degrees. A lot of people use them on pans that scratch easily and say they are so gentle that they do not scratch anything they have used them on. I am giving them a try!
These have been around for a while now. Yes, they are cute but also functional. That smile has a purpose, did you know that?! The texture of the Scrub Daddy allows for them to rinse easily and dry quickly, so bacteria doesn’t have a chance to grow. It’s recommended that you replace them every 8 weeks. And they are made in the USA! Even better.
The Scrub Daddy won’t scratch your pans. Use cool water to keep it firm and warm to make it soft. You can also throw them in the dishwasher to give them a quick clean. And yes, it actually works on this type of “sponge”.
Experts recommend kitchen brushes because they dry quickly and don’t give bacteria a chance to grow. You can also throw them in the dishwasher for a quick clean. It’s recommended that you store them somewhere elevated so they can dry out and not under the sink where it is dark. (Unless they are dry)
If you are going to go this route, make sure you have a lot of them! It is recommended that you use a new one daily. So don’t use one and let it sit on the sink. They typically don’t dry out quickly so they will also grow mold and bacteria in them if you use the same one more than once. So, once you are finished for the day with the dishcloths, they recommend that you wash them in your washing machine with hot water and soap. Seems like a lot of work to me…
What are your thoughts on the information that our kitchen sponges don’t ever really get clean and free from germs? I always tried to replace mine often, but I didn’t realize that bacteria was holding on this tight! I am going the route of the Scrub Daddy and silicone sponge. What are your plans? Please share below in the comments.