Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

The Shocking Truth About Sponges

September 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

While you have probably heard how much bacteria your kitchen sponge holds, you might not realize how difficult it is to kill that bacteria and clean your dishes with a sanitized sponge.

While you can microwave your sponges to kill some of the bacteria, it will not eliminate the worst ones. A used kitchen sponge carries a wide variety of germs, and microwaving it will only kill the weak ones. The strongest germs, however, will survive. These germs then reproduce and take up the empty space of the dead. This will result in an even dirtier sponge.

Microbiomes in Kitchen Sponges

Studies have shown that there are as many as 362 bacteria species at any given time in a used sponge. Additionally, these microbiomes are very dense because they are all living in such a tight space. All in all, around 82 billion bacteria live in one single cubic inch of a sponge. Some of these sponges have even been cleaned to the best of the user’s ability.

It is not shocking that bacteria live in used sponges since they come in contact with raw chicken juice, dirty food, seafood, and other germs that are on food packaging. This type of cross-contamination is one of the main causes of foodborne disease.

People typically use sponges to clean the kitchen sink and other things in the kitchen that have come in contact with raw food or other germs from outside of the house. These bacteria stay on the sponge and start to grow and reproduce.

One issue with sponges is that they are usually stored under warm or hot running water, which facilitates the growth of bacteria because the moisture and warmth make a perfect living environment for bacteria to grow. Some bacteria that are often found on sponges include:

  • Moraxella osloensis
  • E. coli
  • Campylobacter
  • Enterobacter cloacae
  • Klebsiella
  • Proteus
  • Salmonella
  • Staphylococcus
  • Your Kitchen Sponge vs. Your Toilet

During their research, scientists found that the sponges they tested contained more bacteria than an average toilet. This depends on how long the sponge has been used and what it has been used for. However, scientists have noted that there is no single thing on earth that contains more bacteria than a kitchen sponge.

Studies also show that a lot of people don?t thoroughly wash their hands, or don’t wash them as often as they should. Additionally, because your kitchen is likely the main room in your house, is the room that has the most foot traffic that brings in germs.

While you may be tempted to disinfect your sponges every now and then after using them for a while, it is best to throw them away and buy a new one. Better yet, use a brush to clean your dishes rather than a porous sponge.

While there are some things you can do to make your sponge smell better, those tactics are not likely to reduce the bacteria on the sponge or make it cleaner to use on your dishes. Even microwaves are unable to sanitize sponges like people think they do.

Some people think that boiling their sponges or even putting them through the dishwasher might be enough to keep them clean, but this is not true.

If you are not sure if your sponge is clean or dirty, it is best to throw it out. This should be done at least once a week even if your sponge appears to be clean. Not only will you then be sure that you are not spreading germs around your house, you will have the peace of mind that you are living a sanitary life.

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Frank Salvatore