Best way to clean a kitchen sponge

Best Way How to Clean a Kitchen Sponge of Germs

Studies have shown that the average kitchen sponge may contain way more germs than on a toilet seat. And if you’re not careful, those germs, microbes and foodborne pathogens can make it onto your dishes, your drinking glasses, utensils, and your countertops. I’m updating my previous method how to clean a kitchen sponge from bacteria and germs to something even simpler.

Previously I had been recommending to microwave the sponge for 30 – 60 seconds. Rinse the kitchen sponge, wring it out, and microwave on high. However, there are a few caveats to this. You cannot do this to some sponges (check the packaging – which you’ve probably already thrown away). Can’t do it to anything with conductive materials. Also, some ‘scrubby’ plastic portions of kitchen sponge may release fumes (less than ideal). Lastly, the sponge ‘could’ catch fire if gets too dried out during microwave time.

Instead, there’s a way to clean a kitchen sponge that’s safe, and, it’s nearly every 100% as effective as using a microwave to do it…

Best Way To Clean A Kitchen Sponge

It’s so easy, there’s no excuse not to clean your sponge every day.

Reported from usda.gov, microbiologists tested 5 methods for cleaning a kitchen sponge of bacteria, microbes, yeasts, and molds. The best ways were to microwave or to use your dishwasher.

Microwaving sponges killed 99.99999 percent of bacteria present on them, while dishwashing killed 99.9998 percent of bacteria.

As for yeasts and molds, the sponges treated in the microwave oven or dishwasher were found to harbor less than 1 percent (0.00001 percent).

Place the kitchen sponge on the top rack in your dishwasher. Best to use a cycle which includes hot water and dry-heat cycle (which is typical of most standard dishwasher cycles).

For convenience, simply utilize two kitchen sponges. One at the sink (we keep ours in a small bowl at the edge of the sink), and one in the dishwasher for the next cycle. When you’re emptying the dishwasher, rotate the sponges.

It’s a good idea to clean – sanitize your kitchen sponge every day (assuming you use it every day).

Also, it’s a good idea to completely replace your kitchen sponge every so often – before it gets all dilapidated and falling apart! That all depends on usage.

Okay, no dishwasher? Well the microwave method works! Just be sure the sponge you use is okay to toss in the microwave.

This is our favorite kitchen sponge:

Scotch-Brite Clean & Rinse Scrubber – 2 ct, 4 Pack (Total 8 sponges)

[ Read: Bleach – Water Ratio For Disinfecting Food Surfaces and Non-food Surfaces ]

12 Comments

  1. we have always soaked ours in white vinegar. i’m not sure it’s the best way, but it hasn’t killed us yet. cutting boards get wiped off with vinegar to.

  2. I occasionally use the rough plastic scrubber on the counter with bleach so I don’t see any issues there.
    The main thing I use is a stainless steel scrubbie thing for anything metal or glass.
    For the trying times I have two pounds Calcium Hypochlorite.

    If bleach won’t kill it something is wrong.

    1. Horse, Bleach will not kill some bacteria that are drug resistant. the one that grows pink on soap..serratia…. is one… good news is peroxide does kill it.. Non chlorine bleach is shelf stable.and contains powdered peroxide.. received this gift in form of Hospital acquired pneumonia, we almost died. thanks to use of herbals and antibiotics we survived after the medical people had given up.
      Should you suspect this:wash dishes in hottest water possible, then make up strong solution of powdered non chlorine bleach, wash every thing that a sick person has utilized, allow to sit in solution for an hour..and then rinse well and re wash in clean wash water., rinse as normal

      1. @TOJS – thank you VERY MUCH for this important info – am adding non chlorine powdered bleach to cleaning supplies.

  3. +1 on the microwave – we put a bit of dish soap on the sponge, run it under the faucet and wring out excess water, then microwave for 1 minute. Works great!

  4. Have been using chlorine dioxide solution for years, cheap and easy to make. Just soak the sponge.

  5. At my casa, please do not chide me on this, about once a month, I put toothbrushes, combs, hairbrushes, shampoo scalp brushes, razors, dish sponges , animal water and feed bowls, and dishes and tableware in the dishwasher and add one cup of bleach nothing else, and everything comes out clean and no bleach smell after it is dried….big plus you have also not only cleaned and sterilized the items inside but you have a new looking dishwasher and sterilized unit on the inside. Try it you will be amazed how well it cleans, been using this method for as long as I have used a dishwasher, this was a trick home inspectors suggested to clients and it just works.

  6. Most bad bugs require moisture to live. A complete drying out kills them. I put sponges in the laundry. Yep

  7. Another good way to clean is to put them in the “whites” load in the clothes washer. Though I DO use the dishwasher method mostly.

  8. We use white vinegar. Also boil a teapot of water on stove and rinse sink and sponge in that. I have no lab results other than i think it works.The boiling water also keeps grease from building up in drain.

    1. Greg,
      it’s also the best way i have found to clean a coffee pot. run some through a cycle and like you said, pore it hot down the sink. it helps.
      sorry guy’s if i have posted to much today but it’s been raining it’s a** off here all day. cabin fever is setting in.
      thanks Greg

      1. I get the cabin fever, its here too in Alleghany Natl Forest. I use winter to work on home projects, firewood processing and hiking without the ticks! Great site here. Information sharing is really good. Theres a nasty norovirus in US right now so tips on prevention and boosting immunity is useful. Please everyone read up on Covid “vax” mortality and immune system compromise. Stay healthy !

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