Sponges are a kitchen staple used to wash dishes, absorb spills and wipe countertops. Sponges not only soak up liquids, they soak up loads of bacteria that can lead to the spread of food borne illnesses. Home Food Safety.org has several dos and don’ts to follow when using a kitchen sponge.
- Clean sponges daily. Sponges are a perfect place for bacteria to quickly multiply. Wring out sponges and pop them in the microwave for one minute to kill most germs.
- Replace sponges frequently. Just after a few uses, sponges can become bacteria magnets. If your sponge begins to smell, toss it immediately. Have extra sponges on stand-by.
- Store sponges in a dry location. Wet sponges breed bacteria quicker than dry sponges. Don’t let them sit in water, a bucket, or under the sink.
- Wipe up meat juices. Using a sponge to absorb juice from meat is a good way to spread harmful food borne pathogens. Instead, use a disinfectant wipe or spray with paper towel.
- Use on countertops. Again, millions of bacteria can live on sponges and it only takes a few to cause an illness. Save countertop or table wiping for disinfectant wipes or sprays.
- Ignore the dishcloth. Dishcloths are less porous than sponges and may not harbor as much bacteria, but they still need to be washed in hot water frequently. Dry them in high heat and consider using a separate towel for hand washing and dish drying.