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How to Clean a Kitchen Sponge Cleanzen Infographic

 

Kitchen sponges are put to use throughout the kitchen at least once or twice a day. They are conveniently used for cleaning used dishes and wiping down appliances and counters. Through their use, the small pores in sponges collect tiny food particles and other debris, including bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and staphylococcus.

 

Sponges are the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, and the sponge can become saturated with bacteria in a short period of time. Eventually, the sponge will no longer effectively clean your dishes and kitchen surfaces.

 

Instead, it will spread bacteria throughout the kitchen with each swipe, making your kitchen and dishes dirtier than before you started cleaning them. Because of this, it is important to clean your kitchen sponges, and we’re here to help you find out how.

 

 

What Are the Risks of a Dirty Sponge?

 

According to the USDA Food Safety Laboratory, regularly used kitchen sponges used to wash dishes can actually transfer bacteria to stainless steel surfaces, where they can survive for up to four days, gross!

 

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When you are exposed to it, the bacteria can cause unpleasant symptoms and even serious illness. Bacterial infections include whooping cough, strep throat, meningococcal disease and others. Depending on the type of bacteria that you are infected with, you may experience symptoms like headaches, fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, red eyes, a runny nose, ear pain, coughing, nausea, vomiting and other unpleasant or debilitating symptoms.

 

There are several ways that the bacteria on contaminated kitchen surfaces can enter your body. These include eating food that has been on the counter, having a cut on your skin and touching the contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. Even with the best effort to prevent your exposure to the bacteria , the risk persists. Thankfully, there are several easy ways to clean your sponges and create a more sanitary kitchen.

 

Tips to Keep Your Kitchen Sponge Clean Longer

 

Without cleaning your kitchen sponges regularly, they will become saturated with bacteria in a few weeks or less. The bacteria will begin accumulating after the first use. Cleaning them regularly can help you get the most life out of them. Each of the cleaning methods requires minimal effort and is highly effective. You should not go more than a week or two between cleaning sessions. In fact, you should clean your kitchen sponges daily for the best results.

 

How to Clean a Kitchen Sponge With Bleach

 

One of the best ways to clean a kitchen sponge is with bleach. Every week or two, combine three-quarters cup of bleach with a gallon of water. Let the sponge sit in this bleach solution for five minutes to kill the bacteria. After the time has passed, rinse the sponge thoroughly before using it as usual.

Remember to wear some protective rubber kitchen gloves if you are sensitive to chlorine bleach.

 

How to Clean a Kitchen Sponge in the Microwave

 

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When cleaning a kitchen sponge in the microwave, you need to first completely saturate it with water. Soak it in a half-cup of water for cellulose sponges and a quarter-cup of water for scrub sponges. When the sponge is saturated, microwave it on the highest setting. Scrub sponges should be microwaved for a minute, and cellulose sponges require two minutes to sanitize and kill the bacteria.

 

How to Clean a Kitchen Sponge With Distilled White Vinegar

 

Soaking in Distilled White Vinegar: Distilled white vinegar has anti-bacterial properties. To clean your sponge with distilled white vinegar, thoroughly saturate the sponge with the vinegar. Allow the vinegar to remain in the sponge for five minutes or longer. Then, rinse the sponge thoroughly before using it.

 

How to Clean a Kitchen Sponge With Boiling Water

 

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Need to clean and sanitize your kitchen sponge in a pinch? Here’s the easiest way to keep your sponge clean and sanitized for regular use: Fill a pot with water and set it on the stove to boil. Once the water has started to boil, place your sponge in the pot and allow it to boil with the water for about 5 minutes. After you’ve allowed the sponge to heat up and boil in the water, turn off your stove’s burner and give the water time to cool. When both the water and the sponge have cooled, take the sponge out of the water and wring it out. Allow the sponge to fully dry before using it again.

 

How to Clean a Kitchen Sponge in the Dishwasher

 

Running a sponge through the dishwasher is also an effective way to clean it. Simply toss it into your next load of dishes. Use the Heated Dry setting to ensure that all of the sponge’s bacteria are killed. An alternative to running the sponge through the dishwasher is to place it in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Bacteria cannot survive in intense heat.

 

Check out Southern Living’s practical guide on how you can keep your kitchen sponges fresh and germ-free in a snap!

 

 

FAQs

 

How Often Should I Replace My Sponges?

 

Kitchen sponges can get coated in bacteria with even a single use. Generally, a sponge should not be used for more than a week or two. However, you can optimize the life of your kitchen sponge by cleaning it regularly. For example, you can toss it in the dishwasher with each load to keep the sponge cleaner for a longer period of time. Even when the sponge is cleaned frequently, however, you should still replace it after several weeks.

 

What Is the Best Sponge Alternative?

 

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Sponges are among the most used kitchen cleaning items in homes across the country and beyond, but they are not the only option. More than that, they are not the most hygienic option. To scrub your dishes, you can choose a non-porous silicone scrubber, wooden dish brush and compostable luffa scrubber.

 

To wipe down countertops and appliances, choose wood cellulose Swedish dishcloths or machine-washable dishcloths. Like sponges, these cleaning supplies should be cleaned regularly. You can simply toss your dishcloths in the laundry after using them for a day or two. The silicone scrubber or luffa scrubber can be cleaned in boiling water or with bleach after each use.

 

Bacteria in the kitchen and throughout your home is only one of many safety concerns that can affect your health. You and your family deserve a clean, healthy living environment, and our team at Cleanzen is ready to help. With residential cleaning service in Boston, you can enjoy your pristine space without tackling the tough chores yourself. Schedule your first Cleanzen service today.

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