I don't know how many times I have heard people say they think sponges are disgusting. In fact, I once had a well intentioned friend lecture me about how sponges are worse than petri dishes, and that my kitchen sink was an E. Coli outbreak waiting to happen (he has a tendency to overreact). Yet, for all the arguments circling about what is better— dishcloths, sponges, or brushes—for some time I had no idea how long it was safe to keep any of these cleaning tools in rotation. Which is why I set out to do some investigative work, and sure enough, my kitchen sink is not only a petri dish of E. Coli and Salmonella, it's patient zero. But all kidding aside, keeping your dishes clean, and your household healthy is not so difficult. We'll tackle some of those things now. 1. How long can you keep a sponge in rotation? It depends on how often you do dishes. If you wash dishes daily, then you should replace your sponges at least once a month. To keep your sponge nice and clean in between replacements, toss it in the dishwasher with the rest of your dishes every time you run the cycle. If you do not own a dishwasher, you can wash your sponges in hot water with a little bit of bleach to kill the bacteria. If you are neurotic (like many of us) you can zap the bacteria away by microwaving your sponges on high for two minutes. If you choose to microwave your sponges, do so at your own risk-- keep these suggestions in mind:
- Make sure that your sponges contain no fragments of metal.
- Make sure that your sponges are moist prior to microwaving—dry sponges are a fire hazard.
- Be careful after microwaving your sponges—allow them to cool prior to handling them.