How to keep your household sponges clean and free of bacteria
One of the most amazing inventions of all time is none other than the common sponge. This hardworking, simple idea has one of the dirtiest jobs on planet earth.
The sponge, it mops our dirty floors, cleans our cars, washes our dishes, and loofas our bodies. This simple product is used daily but is rarely given any thought or consideration…until now!
So why is it that nobody talks about the sponge? Probably because if we knew the truth we would be totally disgusted! But I’m here to give you good news, not dirty news. The good news is, that although sponges can hold tons of bacteria, there are lots of things we can do to mitigate the problem.
Every item in its place. That’s my motto. This includes sponges. Today, I am going to talk about how to care for the various sponges in our life, making them sponge worthy.
Did you know that you can clean your kitchen sponge, significantly reducing the number of bacteria it holds? Yep, it’s true! Jennifer Quinlan, a food microbiologist at Drexel University offers the following suggestions on kitchen-safe sponge handling:
- Keep the sponge away from raw meat. "If you're dealing with raw juices from meat or poultry, you should be using paper towel that can be disposed of," Quinlan says.
- Don't keep sponges around for too long. "I replace mine every, one to two weeks," she says. "That's reasonable to me."
- Clean the sponge every few days. The USDA recommends putting it in the dishwasher with a heated dry cycle or wetting the sponge and popping it in the microwave for a minute.
Microwaving the sponge will knock down the bacteria living in it by about a million-fold. The heat targets the dangerous bacteria, Quinlan says. "It doesn't sterilize the sponge," she says. "But remember, the bacteria we want to kill are the ones that will make you sick." According to Good Housekeeping – The microwave is one of the most effective at zapping 99.9% of germs.
To keep your sponge from getting smelly between cleanings, there are things we can do daily to help reduce bacterial and orders. I recommend sponge holders by mDesign. These little helpers are great for circulating air around the sponge, helping it to dry more quickly. Whatever you do, do not let a wet sponge fester at the bottom of your sink!
For sponge mopheads, it is recommended that you soak the mop head in a bucket with 1 cup hot water and 1 cup vinegar for 30 minutes. Allow to air-dry completely. Sponge mop heads should be completely replaced every 2 to 3 months. To prevent bacteria growth, make sure the mophead is dry before storing it away. Once dry, keep your mop off the floor to keep the air circulating. Elevate the mop by using this space-saving mop holder from mDesign.
And what about our loofas? These funky sponges actually touch our bodies, so of course, we want to make sure they are clean and not full of bacteria, right?
No matter which loofah you are using, you should clean it at least once a week. To do so, soak it in a diluted bleach solution for 5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly and air dry. The same concept applies here as with the other sponges, let the loofa hang dry so that it dries more quickly. This is particularly important if you have an enclosed shower. After you shower, leave the shower doors open for a while to allow the air to circulate.
Joyce Colovas is a content writer at mDesign
and an avid lover of all things fun and fabulous!
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