We all use a sponge to clean our dishes and clean up in the kitchen (hopefully not the same sponge), but unfortunately this tool can be one of the most unsanitary items in our house. Rather than throw it away, there are ways to disinfect them. Cook's Illustrated is known a 'America's Test Kitchen,' so we'll take their word for it that this is the best way to clean a sponge.
Firstly, Cook's Illustrated recommends using a paper towel or a clean dishcloth instead of a sponge to clean up. But we all know that to green our kitchen, getting rid of or minimizing paper towels (and other disposable paper products) is one of the first steps.
So, to find the best sponge disinfecting method, Cook's Illustrated microwaved, froze, bleached, boiled, washed with soap and water, and ran through the dishwasher month-old dirty sponges. According to the magazine, microwaving and boiling, were the most effective methods, reducing bacteria counts from the millions to an 'untroubling' 1000 CFUs. However, because sponges can burn in a high-powered microwave, the final recommendation is boiling them for 5 minutes.
There you have it, the final word from 'America's Test Kitchen'!