How to Clean a Sponge

Urethane_sponge(ウレタンスポンジ)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The most used tool in my kitchen isn’t a pan or a utensil. It’s not the stove or the refrigerator. The most used tool in my kitchen is a sponge. I use sponges to hand-wash my kitchen knives and wooden utensils. They get daily usage cleaning the counters, stove-top and sink. Every couple weeks, I give the cabinet faces, appliance doors, and the vent hood a scrubbing as well.

The only problem? A wet sponge sitting on the edge of your sink is a breeding ground for bacteria that can make you sick. Many people replace their sponge ever few days, but this isn’t enough. Under ideal circumstances, an e. coli culture can reproduce every 20 minutes. That means that a single bacterium could grow to a colony large enough to get a person sick in just 4 hours. Obviously, throwing your sponge out ever a single use is a waste of money and resources. So instead, you should be cleaning your sponges regularly.

Microwave Method to Cleaning a Sponge

One way to clean your sponge is to put it in the microwave. This method is only suitable for urethane or cellulose sponges that do not contain any metal. To sanitize your sponge in the microwave:

  1. Make sure the sponge is wet. Place it under running water for a second and then wring out so that it is no longer dripping.
  2. Place in microwave. Set microwave cook time for 2 minutes. This is sufficient to kill 99.9% of all bacteria in the sponge.
  3. Let sit for 5 minutes to cool down enough to handle.

Dishwasher Method to Cleaning a Sponge

For sponges that aren’t microwave safe, you can use the dishwasher method instead. Simply place it on the top shelf of the dishwasher. Make sure it is upright and clear of other items. Run the dishwasher as you  normally would. When the dishwasher is done, your sponge will be clean and like-new.

What some people do is keep two sponges out at any given time. This way, one can be in the dishwasher to be cleaned while another one can still be used. Personally, I don’t bother with this because running the dishwasher is the last step in cleaning up for the day.

By cleaning your sponges, you will keep your family healthy and pro-long the life of the sponge. Clean your sponge every day and say goodbye to cruddy sponges that may get you sick.

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