Right Time To Change Your Sponge

Right Time To Change Your Sponge
Right Time To Change Your Sponge | image credit: Volodymyr Hryshchenko/unsplash

The use of sponges is necessary for thorough cleaning. We use them to scour dishes, kitchen counters, and pretty much any other grimy surface. However, sponges can also contain up to 45 billion bacteria per square centimeter, so if you’ve been using your scrubby for longer than a week, some scientists advise getting a new sponge. To find out why sponges are such a breeding ground for bacteria—and the best way to keep your dishwashing equipment clean—we spoke to a microbiologist.

You ought to swap out your sponges every two to four weeks as a general rule. Of course, this will depend on how well you care for them and how frequently you use them. Before the two-week mark, it’s definitely time to replace your sponges if you start to notice that they’re smelling bad or are starting to break down.
If you’re unsure as to whether or not your sponge needs to be replaced, err on the side of caution and purchase a new one. After all, they’re accessible and reasonably priced. Furthermore, when it comes to hygiene, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

How much bacteria lives in your kitchen sponge?

According to Trina McMahon, PhD, a professor of microbiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, sponges are the perfect habitat for bacterial growth. They constantly get wet and frequently don’t dry out completely, which can cause layers of bacteria to accumulate in tiny cracks. Your kitchen sponge may contain up to 362 different types of bacteria, according to a 2017 research.

How harmful is the bacteria?

A paper published in the journal of Environmental fitness in 2012 located that kitchens and sponges housed even more micro organism than bathrooms did. And unless you’re using antibacterial dish cleaning soap, hand-washing gain sanitize your dishes completely—however, scrubbing with soap, writes journalist Ashley Laderer for Insider, will “lift [bacteria] off surfaces so that they may be washed away through water.”

McMahon advises not to panic. The majority of the microorganisms on your sponge are not pathogens, she claims. They won’t give you an illness. Although they may smell unpleasant, old, unclean sponges are not likely to contain dangerous bacteria.

Nevertheless, maintaining appropriate kitchen hygiene is a smart idea. The danger of cross-contamination and foodborne disease when food is handled carelessly can be increased, according to a study by Judy Ikawa and Jonathan Rossen, which discovered that sponges and dishcloths might operate as a vehicle for transporting bacteria over kitchen surfaces. Through a sponge, salmonella? Thanks, but no.

What’s the best way to sanitize your sponge?

McMahon advises boiling, microwaving, or soaking sponges in diluted bleach solutions to sanitize them frequently to prevent the formation of bacteria. The amount of bacteria will be reduced by more than 99.9% using these techniques, according to Ikawa and Rossen, even though not all the germs on your sponge would be eliminated.

To avoid a fire threat, run your sponge under water for a few seconds before sterilizing it in the microwave for a minute on high. You can also boil it for five minutes in a pot, or you can soak it in a bleach solution for the same amount of time (Ikawa and Rossen tested at a ratio of 3/4 cup per gallon). Avoid the microwave at all costs and stick to the last two techniques if your sponge contains metal.

Appropriate time to replace my sponge

Every two weeks, on average, I change mine, McMahon says. The simplest test, in my opinion, is whether the sponge smells unpleasant or is slimy. When a sponge starts to smell bad, she tosses it away and claims that most microbiologists she knows would probably agree.

Ultimately, practicing right hygiene and making the effort to sanitize your sponge regularly is the exceptional manner to lessen the microbial hobby now not just in your scrubby, however all around your kitchen. And while unsure? Throw it out.

The sponge is falling apart or disintegrating

Your sponge might begin to come apart before it exhibits any other indications of aging if you’re a neat freak who puts a lot of effort into cleaning. Replace your sponges before they degrade into nothingness because wear and tear just makes them less effective.

How to Make Your Sponge Last Longer

Keep your sponge in a room with good ventilation. Never keep your sponge jammed tightly within a cleaning caddy or in the bottom of your sink. Like other fabrics, sponges require air to breathe in order to avoid mildew and mold growth, even after only a few usage. A cheap sponge holder that mounts to the side of your sink and aids in speedy drying of your sponge should be taken into consideration.

Always select the right sponge for the task at hand. Use a scrubber sponge rather than a soft sponge when cleaning a crusty cookie sheet. By doing this, you’ll avoid overusing the sponge and using it up too quickly.

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