People don’t typically think about their sponges. As long as it does its job and cleans things like it’s supposed to, you don’t care. However, you should know that your sponge is dirtier than your toilet, bathroom and kitchen floors, and your doorknobs combined. This is probably because your sponge touches, cleans and gets to know all of those surfaces pretty intimately. Even if you scrub and rinse out your sponge after every use, it’s probably still filled with a bunch of harmful bacteria that can make your family sick.
The type of bacteria that’s on your sponge depends on what you’re cleaning with it. If you use your sponge for nothing more than dish washing and wiping down counters and cutting boards, then odds are it’s loaded with salmonella and E.coli.
Exposure to either one of those can cause your family and loved ones to get horribly sick for seemingly no reason. But, that might not be a huge problem for you and your family – because if you’re using your sponge in the bathroom… well, let your imagination come up with what that will mean.
The best way to sanitize a sponge is with chlorine bleach. Bleach kills all of the bacteria that has made a cozy home inside your sponge. Mix one part bleach to nine parts water and let the sponge soak in there for a good thirty seconds or longer. Even new sponges pass germs back and forth like a game of hot potato from one surface to the next. From now on, you might want to consider keeping this mixture on hand for quick sponge cleanings between one surface cleaning to the next.
After you’ve cleaned your sponge, dump out the mixture. Don’t reuse it. Also, make sure that you wring out your sponge as much as you can after you give it its bleach bath, and let it dry completely. A dry sponge is a happy sponge because no bacteria or germs can grow and spread in it.
If you’re not fond of bleach, you can also sanitize your sponge is to place it in a bowl of boiling hot water and then placing the sponge in the microwave to disinfect it. The water has to be boiling before you put the sponge in there. Again, remember to wring the sponge out completely and let it dry completely, too.
Lastly, if you’re not willing to try any of these on for size, you can also – supposedly – run your sponge through the dishwasher. Just put it on the top rack and make sure the drying cycle is on.
With these new cleaning tips in hand, you may be on your way to having a happier, healthier sponge – and a healthier home because of it. Keep in mind, however, that it is still a good idea to replace your sponge as often as possible, even if you sanitize it after every single use – which you probably should.
After you’re done washing your sponge, please wash your hands. You can only imagine what the sponge has left on them after spring cleaning certain areas of your house!