Due to their damp and porous nature, kitchen sponges are breeding grounds for bacteria.
You may have heard the kitchen “hack” that you can simply throw a used sponge in the microwave or dishwasher to make it clean again.
Unfortunately, according to a recent report from Faculty of Medical and Life Sciences and Furtwangen University, dirty sponges tested with these two methods had just as much bacteria as before the “cleaning”.
The report notes that the microwave actually does kill about 60% of the microbes on the sponge. However, the germs that survived grew and spread quickly, resulting in even higher amounts of bacteria than before.
The worst? The germs that spread and multiply are generally the scarier, stronger ones.
Want to hear even more bad news? The kitchen sponges they tested were dirtier than a toilet!
Here’s what the researchers had to say about that:
“Despite common misconception, it was demonstrated that kitchen environments host more microbes than toilets. This was mainly due to the contribution of kitchen sponges, which were proven to represent the biggest reservoirs of active bacteria in the whole house.”
They were able to identify 362 different bacterias living in the sponges. 82 billion bacteria were living in just a cubic inch, surprising researchers by the incredible density. They even made a point to note that it is the “same density you would find in a human stool sample” and “there are probably no other places on Earth with such high bacterial densities”.
So what is the best way to clean your kitchen sponge? Throw it away! You should be replacing it at least once a week.
If you’re too freaked out to keep a sponge around at all anymore, you could use a silicone scrubber or a washcloth.