Your Kitchen Sponge Is Filthier Than Your Toilet Seat And Garbage Can
Your kitchen sponge is dirtier and more dangerous than you would ever imagine.
And the reason is simple: It never gets cleaned properly. Even your toilet seats and garbage cans are more sterile than your sink sponges.
A sponge’s tiny holes are a safe haven for bacteria, and they can survive in a sponge a lot longer than anywhere else.
A clinical professor at the Microbiology and Pathology departments at NYU, Dr. Philip Tierno explains why you should take better care of your sponge in his new book, “The Secret Life of Germs.”
It has a lot of nooks and crannies, so as you clean up a mess with potential pathogens in it, some of the organisms become lodged in between the sponge. People rinse their sponges, but they really need to sanitize them. And that’s something people don’t do.
Germs also grow astoundingly fast as the sponge remains damp, with new bacteria emerging every 20 minutes.
So, as you’ve probably already deduced, wiping a surface with a sponge doesn’t exactly make it clean.
Soap and water don’t kill germs — they only wash germs away. But if you have a dirty sponge to start with, you have a nice layer of germs to cover your plate.
In other words, the less harmful germs might go away, but the ones that have been building up strength on the sponge have found a new home.
To effectively clean a sponge, Tierno says, make a solution containing one part bleach and nine parts water.
Let the sponge sit in there for at least 10 to 30 seconds, and you will have killed every possible organism.
Another option is to place the dirty sponge in a bowl of water and cook it in a microwave long enough to boil.
Once the water bubbles, the germs begin to die out.
After either of these methods, make sure to let the sponge dry out, which will preserve the disinfected state.
This last step is crucial because, without it, all of the sanitation effort will mean nothing.
And finally, wash your hands. As anyone in an office knows, germs love hanging out there, too.