Thorough cleaning of kitchen utensils requires a reliable sponge. It helps you eliminate stubborn grease that sticks easily to your plates, forks, and spoons. However, misusing a sponge can do more harm than good. It can spread bacteria rather than get rid of them. Having said that, you need to know how to disinfect a sponge properly. Doing so will ensure you’ll have clean utensils for your daily use.
Moisture makes the best breeding ground for bacteria. Since sponges do not dry out, you have to make sure to sanitize them properly so that they can still be safe to use next time. This article will teach you the four best ways to sanitize kitchen sponges.
Disinfecting Sponges Using a Microwave
Your microwave can do more than just heating your food. Using the microwave is also an effective way on how to disinfect a sponge. According to studies, a quick microwave can kill germs and bacteria present in your sponges. To do so, here’s what you need to do:
- Remove any plastic or metallic materials from your sponge.
- Soak the sponge in water.
- Place it in a microwavable bowl and put it inside the device.
- Set the microwave in High settings for 1 minute.
- Remove the bowl.
- Squeeze the excess water from the sponge.
Disinfecting Sponges Using a Dishwasher
Another way on how to disinfect a sponge is to use a dishwasher. You can toss it along with your kitchen utensils for a thorough cleaning process. Here’s how to do it:
- Place your sponge in the top rack of your dishwasher.
- Set the machine to the hottest and longest setting.
- Add another round of the dry cycle.
Disinfecting Sponges Using Bleach Solution
As an all-around multi-purpose cleaner, bleach can also be an effective method on how to disinfect a sponge:
- Combine one-quarter to one-half of a teaspoon of concentrated bleach, preferably 8.25% sodium hypochlorite, to a quart of warm water. Never use hot nor boiling water for this solution.
- Soak your sponge in the solution for one minute.
This solution can effectively kill germs and bacteria in your sponge. However, to prolong the life of your sponges, try not to use them in cleaning raw meat juices since they carry very high bacteria content. Instead, use paper towels and throw away immediately. This solution is also ideal for cleaning your countertops and tables.
Disinfecting Sponges Using Vinegar
How to disinfect a sponge is a simple step you can take to extend its use. If you don’t have bleach available, another more natural option is to use vinegar. A full-strength with higher concentration can do the trick.
- Rinse your sponge and get rid of any food particles left.
- Squeeze out excess water.
- Soak your sponge in a container with full-strength pure vinegar.
- Let it soak for 5 minutes.
- Rinse your sponge with mild dish soap and squeeze out excess water.
Concentrated vinegar can be acidic to the skin, so try to wear gloves when doing this process. Also, take note that this kind of vinegar is used solely for cleaning purposes. Since it’s too concentrated, it’s not safe to digest.
Sponges are essential for thorough cleaning. Especially when you do not have a working dishwasher, it can help you get rid of any grime and grease from your utensils to keep them clean. However, sponges can also get dirty easily. That’s why it’s recommended to give it a deep clean often to keep it sanitized.
Risks of Dirty Sponges
Some people use a sponge for cleaning utensils and other surfaces. Although it can thoroughly do so, this can pose a huge cross-contamination risk for bacteria and germs to multiply. Raw meat can carry bacteria that can transfer to your sponge, utensils, and surfaces if you only use one sponge to do all cleaning jobs.
Thus, it is recommended to assign different sponges for various kitchen tasks. Using paper towels to clean out food particles and juices can be a more sanitary option than using a sponge or dishcloth. Doing so can keep you and your family away from nasty bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli, which can potentially make you sick.
Disinfecting Your Sponges
If possible, disinfect your sponge daily and replace it every 1-2 weeks. Sponges are not meant to be used for a long time, so know when to throw them away. Also, try to use your sponge only to clean your dishes. On the other hand, for surface cleaning, use paper towels and disinfectant wipes.
When to Throw Away Sponges
Like most kitchen tools, sponges also have a limited lifespan. Thus, you need to know when to throw them away. The easiest way to know when to do so is to do a quick smell test. A smelly sponge means bacteria and germs are already breeding inside it. Also, a worn-out sponge needs to go away. The good thing about sponges is, they are very cheap to purchase. So you can conveniently buy one, or many, whenever needed. Get more cleaning hacks here!
Knowing how to disinfect a sponge is essential in keeping your utensils clean. Doing otherwise can pose serious health problems since bacteria and germs can thrive easily, which can contaminate all your kitchenware. Depending on your preference, the methods above are tested to be the best ways to sanitize kitchen sponges. Keeping a good sponge maintenance routine can keep your kitchen clean and sanitized.