Would you clean your silverware with a dirty rag? No? Then why would you even think that your smelly cleaning sponge is sanitary enough for regular use? Similar to a dirty rag, a kitchen sponge is the breeding ground for several microorganisms that include bacteria, mould and yeast. As per studies, 90% of the time when a household witnesses a sudden bout of illness in its family members, the reason could be a dirty cleaning sponge.
A kitchen sponge needs to be cleaned to keep not only your plates and kitchen utensils free from contaminants but also your food as well. On top of that, it is best to keep on replacing your kitchen sponge with a new one after every two weeks. With that information in mind, if you want to get your hands on high-quality kitchen sponges, you can buy it here.
Here is a ‘DIY’ trick that doesn’t really work on a dirty cleaning sponge:
The internet is filled with several Do It Yourself hacks which ‘claims’ that when followed could effectively disinfect a dirty cleaning sponge. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Soaking the dirty sponge in a bleach and water mixture
- Dousing the cleaning sponge in an excess of lemon juice
- Spraying the cleaning sponge with hydrogen peroxide.
For your information, several independent studies have proven time and again that none of the above mentioned ‘hacks’ is effective when it comes to disinfecting a dirty cleaning sponge.
A few cleaning methods that DO work:
Microwaving your sponge
As per the results put forth by the ARS, microwaving your cleaning sponge can kill about 99 % of the bacterial or microbial growth within the same. You can also dip you cleaning sponge in boiling water and keep it there for at least 10 minutes. Boiling your cleansing sponge causes microbial cells to explode thereby cleaning them instantly.
Rinse the cleaning sponge well and make sure that it is free from any residual food particles. Put the wet cleaning sponge in the microwave and set the temperature of the device on high. Set the timer for 2 minutes. Make sure that the sponge is cool enough to handle when you decide on removing it from the microwave. Rinse out any remaining water from the sponge and let it air dry. Be sure to clean the microwave after you are done disinfecting the cleaning sponge.
Running your sponge through your dishwasher
Get rid of any residual food particles from the cleaning sponge and don’t forget to squeeze it dry. Place the sponge on the top rack of the dishwasher and set the same on full wash and dry setting. It is best to repeat the process for at least once a day.
It is an environmentally friendly and easy method where you will be soaking the cleaning sponge in a bath of full-strength vinegar for about 5 minutes. The results are better if you choose to soak the sponge in the vinegar bath overnight. Dry the sponge by either letting it into the sun or air dry – as per your convenience.
As per the opinion of the ARS (or Agricultural Research Service’s Food Technology and Safety Laboratory), even if you subject the above-mentioned methods to clean your dish washing sponge, around 90 per cent of the microbes that was residing in the same are still alive. It is enough for you and your loved ones to fall ill very quickly from foodborne diseases. Make sure you disinfect the cleaning sponge before and after using the methods mentioned above for best results.