October 5, 2015
Goodbye Germs, Hello Clean Sponge – 3 Ways to Safely Sanitize Your Sponge
It should come as no surprise that sponges rank right up there as one of the dirtiest items in the typical kitchen. They are put to work on a variety of cleaning tasks, from scrubbing dirty dishes to wiping up drips and spills. Due to their absorbency, the material that they are made from and what they are typically used for, they excel at trapping germs, food particles and general nastiness. With minimal care and effort, you can easily sanitize and care for your sponges to ensure that they are not only clean but have a long life span as well.
Today I’m sharing my favorite three methods to clean and sanitize your sponge safely and effectively. While bleach might seem like the obvious choice, I prefer to stick with non chemical methods and cleaners that are safe in the home and around children. Pick your favorite method to clean your sponge easily and safely.
TIP: If you use a kitchen sponge daily to wash dishes and wipes surfaces, you should also disinfect your sponge daily to keep kitchen bacteria from being spread as you’re washing dishes and wiping down surfaces. A sponge will last at least two to three weeks with daily disinfection without disintegrating or losing its effectiveness. Toss your sponge when it starts to show wear.
This method is great for an end of the day routine and it’s what I do with my kitchen sponge (and I also wash the scrubber of my dish wand nightly too). After finishing up with your sponge, give it a good rinse and squeeze and put it in the top rack of your dishwasher. Be sure to use the Heated Dry option if you are able to. The next morning, or when the cycle is complete and has cooled, squeeze your sponge and it’s ready to go.
This method is perfect for the middle of the day when you have used your sponge to wipe up lunch remnants or errant drips and spills and want to give it a quick yet effective clean. Begun by rinsing it out and get it as crumb and dirt free as possible. Saturate it with enough water that it is soaked but not dripping profusely. You want it to be wet enough that the heat from your microwave doesn’t burn the sponge but not so wet that it leaves a puddle in your microwave. A minute on high should be sufficient to clean your sponge, but keep an eye on it regardless. Be sure to let it cool before removing it.
If you don’t have a microwave, prefer not to use one or are looking for a different method to clean your sponge, a good soak in vinegar also does the trick. Fill a container with enough full strength vinegar to submerge the sponge. Rinse the sponge throughly to remove any solid particles or remnants first. Allow the sponge to soak for a good five minutes, rinse, squeeze and use. That’s it!
All three methods of sponge cleaning do a superior job at disinfecting and killing germs and pathogens that can make your family sick. Make sponge cleaning a part of your kitchen cleaning routine to give germs the boot!
I didn’t know about the vinegar – great tip! I might also suggest only using a sponge on dishes & the sink – counters & surfaces with a microfiber cloth or bar towel. Keep those tips coming!
Jessica [Havok] Says
I try and not think about how gross sponges get (because, ew) and have always loved a sponge fresh from the dishwasher (though I tend to forget to put it in until the dishwasher is running! I will have to try this vinegar method, though – I use it throughout the rest of the house, why not in this case?! 😀
I use two sponges. Everytime I unload the dishwasher, I take out the clean one and put in the dirty one. This way u always have a clean sponge and it reminds you to switch them!
I used to do the microwave method, but I think it actually broke it. I may not have had enough water in the sponge when I did it the few times I did. If there’s nothing for the microwave to “cook” it cooks itself…which is bad. So just be careful with that method! I love the dishwasher method, do it every few days (our dishwasher doesn’t fill up very quickly)
I have also fried a microwave! I now put a quart measuring cup of water in the microwave when I am doing anything that might be a problem (even using the timer because it’s easy to hit the wrong button when I’m busy!!)
Kim Ellison Says
I have been cleaning homes for over 20 years and recently ran across your blog. I absolutely love the cleaning and organizational tips. Chemical and products do cost so, anyway I can make something last longer I try to. After reading this post, I think my sponges life span has been extended 🙂
On Dr Oz recently, a chemist did the dishwasher and microwave test and also, a bleach /water solution. The test that proved to be the surest disinfectant for the sponge was the bleach water combo. The others got hot but not as 100% effective as tbe bleach /water. I have done the microwave and dishwater method but no longer. After he showed tbe bacteria present, I was convinced. Of course , vinegar is a natural disinfectant , so I would buy the vinegar solution. We cleaned my classroom with it because of tbe asthma law. I use it in my house all the time. Sooooo cheap and healthy! 1/4 c vinegar to 1 gallon of water. I will use the bleach to wash my scrub brushes esp becausecof the dirt collection and mold posdibilities people do not think of. It grossed me out when he showedup it on Dr. OZ.
I love CLEAN MAMA!!!!