Which do you think is dirtier: your toilet seat or your kitchen sponge? As much as I hate to say it, your kitchen sponge likely wins out—and by a shockingly large margin!
According to the Wall Street Journal, a grimy kitchen sponge can be 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat and host up to 10 million bacteria per square inch. (Yikes!) The thought of taking that germ-ridden sponge and using it to scrub my dishes is enough to turn my stomach!
Once I had processed this unsettling discovery, I was motivated to do some research on my own to learn how we can prevent this type of bacterial takeover on our sponges, brushes, and other dishwashing tools. I simplified my findings into three simple rules that I’ll be sharing with you here, in hopes that it makes it a little easier for you to keep your kitchen safe and sanitary!
3 Simple Rules To Keep Your Sponges Sanitary
1. Trust Your Nose
Regardless of whether you prefer sponges or brushes, any dishwashing tool can get grimy over time! If you’re not sure whether you should continue to use your sponge or brush, there’s an easy test to help you decide: just sniff it!
If it smells slightly sour, that suggests bacteria has already settled in. If it’s a sponge or dish brush, you may never be able to sanitize it completely, so it’s best to just replace them! Sour-smelling dish cloths, on the other hand, can be washed in warm water with bleach and then reused without worry.
2. Avoid Cross-Contamination
As much as I love a good multipurpose tool, I also know how important it is to avoid using the same sponge or cloth to wash dishes and clean countertops. Doing so can easily spread bacteria around your kitchen, and it’s especially dangerous when dealing with juices from chicken and other raw meat.
The best way to avoid harmful cross-contamination is to designate a separate sponge or cloth for each surface in your kitchen. You should also use disposable paper towels to wipe up messes made by raw meat.
3. Follow The 1-1-4 Rule
To keep your kitchen sponges sanitary and prevent them from developing that unpleasant sour smell, follow the easy-to-remember “1-1-4 Rule”:
- Dry your sponge completely at least once (1) per week to discourage bacterial growth. (If possible, set it out in the sun for a while for added antibacterial action!)
- Sanitize your sponge at least once (1) per week using your dishwasher or microwave.
- Replace your sponge every four (4) weeks. (This also applies to brushes too.)
Looking For A Better Dish Cleaning Tool?
- If you’re ready to ditch your current sponge or dish brush, you’ve come to the right place! Here are a few of the most beloved products for cleaning and washing dishes, from sponges to scrubbers:
- Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges – These sponges are consistently popular on Amazon because they work well, they’re durable, and they won’t scratch up your cookware.
- Scrub Daddy – Scrub Daddy is made with a heat-sensitive material, making it easy to control how abrasive the scrubber is. Use it in cold water for maximum scrubbing power, or use it in warm water to make the scrubber softer and more pliable.
- OXO Good Grips Dish Brush – This inexpensive dish brush is sturdy, durable, and has a good ergonomic design too. The front of the brush comes in handy for getting into corners and scraping baked-on messes.
For more highly rated cleaning products from Amazon for both the kitchen and beyond, check out my recommendations here.
What’s one way that you keep your kitchen safe and sanitary kitchen?