Keep Kitchen Sponges Free of Bacteria




About: I am a wife and mother of 3 grown children. I was a bio/micro technician until I became ill with the incurable disorder Interstitial Cystitis, Fibromyalgia, and several other chronic pain syndromes. I live m...

It is important to keep our family save from any type of danger that our loved ones come in contact with. Keeping our kitchens clean and the extra steps that can save our familes from dangerous bacterial infections is just another way to keep them safe.

Some of the most dangerous bacteria thrive in warm moist environments, such as kitchen sponges which makes it harder to disinfect them. When we use dirty sponges we transfer these bacteria from one surface to another causing cross contamination through out the kitchen.

It is important that we keep our utensils, counter tops, everything we touch and our hands clean to avoid cross contamination.

I will do another instructabable that is more detailed about kitchen contamination soon.

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Step 1: Keeping Your Kitchen Sponges Clean

After using your kitchen sponges do not wash them in the washing machines or dishwasher. First use a small amount of dish soap and wash and rinse the sponges. Second put them in your microwave for 1 minute; turn them over and heat for another minute. Be very careful they will be hot, I use a pair of tongs or a clothes pin to flip mine.

This action will kill any bacteria living on and in the sponges.

Step 2: Dry Your Sponges

After microwaving (carefully remove the sponges the same way you turned them over) hang up your sponges to dry, or place one in one of these suction cup sponge holders. I got this one years ago for about $.50. I am sure you can find them anywhere that carries kitchen wares or on line. Another way is to turn over your dish drying rack and place them on that. Any thing that allows air flow around the entire sponge will work.

I have made a small drying line across my rolling pin shelf, when the sponges are dry (they dry in several hours, I hang them up overnight) they are ready to use again. When I am done with the string I just remove it until ready to use again.

By washing your sponges this way they last longer, smell better, they no long harbor bacteria, and are safer for your family.



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    6 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Simple easy to follow, makes sense, and doesn't take much effort. Great job.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Not all bacteria are bad for us, in fact there are many we can not live without. But this discussion is on the pathogenic bacteria that are in our kitchens. Bacteria can grow in theory; at all temperatures between the freezing point of water and the temperature at which protein or protoplasm coagulates; for most protein that is between 71-85 °C (160-185 °F). Somewhere between these maximum and minimum points lies the optimum temperature at which the bacteria grow best.

    Temperatures below the minimum stop bacterial growth but do not kill them. However, if the temperature is raised above the maximum, bacteria are soon killed. Most cells die after exposure to heat treatments in the order of 70°C (158 °F) for 15 seconds, although spore-forming organisms require more severe heat treatment, e.g. live steam at 120°C (248 °F) for 30 minutes.

    Once the cell wall is denatured the bacteria can no longer live and this is how the heat kills the bacteria we are concerned with in our kitchens. I hope this answers any questions others may have.


    5 years ago

    microwaving your sponges doesn't actually kill the bacteria/viruses/fungal spores or sterilize the sponges. Some bacteria/fungal spores divide & replicate at higher rates after being exposed to extreme temperatures (such as heat). Not to mention that heat can cause viruses which are just DNA strands wrapped in proteins to mutate making them possibly more resistant to other forms of sterilization.
    I'm a med student & we recently had to do this (sponge nuking) as part of creating a differential diagnosis on a case study of a patient with mysterious symptoms caused by environmental factors.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I am a Bio-Technologist and I know all about binary fission (which is the replication of a cell into a identical match in every way to the parent bacteria). I have found a quote for you that may ease your mind. "Wet your sponge and then pop it in the microwave for two minutes to eliminate the germs that lurk inside the crevices," says Neil Schachter, MD, medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai in New York City, and the author of The Good Doctor's Guide to Colds and Flu.


    5 years ago

    maybe its time to buy new ones? think using sponges like yours are more a hazard to your health then the bacteria on them....