How Often Should You Change Kitchen Sponge? As much as dish sponge aims at making things clean, you would expect it to be also clean. Paradoxically, though, kitchen sponges are a nest of harmful bacteria and encourage their growth. So how comes that they are hubs for germs and how often you should replace them?
Read on to know the answers to these questions and tips on reducing the risk of bacteria growth in your sponge.
Sponges and rugs you use to clean your dishes are surprisingly a breeding ground for bacteria. While it sounds like a paradox or a lie, this is quite true and has a scientific explanation. Being absorbent and porous, the kitchen sponge has the ability to hold liquids and food particles. These trapped residues tend to develop food-borne bacteria that are not so good for your health.
Yes, you may argue that after each dish cleaning, you clean your sponge too. But this is not enough to remove all microscopic particles of food stuck in the sponge’s crazy labyrinths. You need a deeper treatment to reach and annihilate contaminants.
If you change sponges every 1-2 months, bacteria will be endlessly grateful to you for letting them invade your kitchen. This is quite a long period of time that allows accumulated germs to build huge colonies and spread. In fact, dish sponge requires replacement at shorter intervals due to its exposure to contaminants. A good rule of thumb is to change it once in 2-3 weeks. However, the intervals vary depending on how much you use the sponge and whether you sanitize it in between dish cleanings.
Besides, there are some tell-tale signs that suggest that replacement is necessary. First of all, it is the moldy and germy odors that start coming from the sponge. If you feel even a slight odor, it’s time to think of a replacement. The smell clearly hints at the large colonies of germs already living inside the sponge. And odor amplification is a sign that they keep multiplying.
Also, if you wash dishes quite often and they are extremely dirty, the changing sponge should also come sooner. You may even not wait for the odors to appear. The more food debris the sponge interacts with, the faster it will accumulate bacteria. So if in one week you clean mountains of messy dishes, the next week should start with a new sponge.
By taking such preventive measures, you avoid disease and keep the health of your family members in safety.
As we have mentioned above, cleaning the sponge with detergent and water does not kill harmful germs. You need to implement more powerful methods that can destroy the germs’ defense systems. Disinfection is the most popular and effective one. Yet we prefer to call it sanitization, and we’ll explain later why. The best way to sanitize the dish sponge is to place it in the microwave. Make the sponge wet and let it spend 2 minutes in the microwave.
The heat and the radiation will compromise the vital processes of the bacteria, causing their death. While killing hundreds of millions of dangerous germs, the microwave does not disinfect the sponge fully. It lacks destroying the potential for all bacteria inhabiting the sponge, which are billions. That’s why this is only a sanitization process that aims at reducing the number of germs.
Even so, the sponge is quite ready for the next dish cleaning, as the risk of bacteria spreading is much lower. However, we wouldn’t recommend you to use the microwave method often. You are better off replacing the sponge and get a new one that is totally free of germs.
Generally, sponge replacement should take place every 2-3 weeks, on the condition that you sanitize it in-between cleanings. This will help significantly decrease the number of pathogens and keep dangerous diseases at bay. Regular sanitization may be a way to prolong the lifespan of a sponge. However, it would wise of you if you apply the frequent replacement strategy.
Buy a lot of sponges and change them once a week. In this way, you will give bacteria no chance to conquer your kitchen and body.