File it under life’s most frustrating truths: The items that you use to clean the rest of your home also need to be cleaned. When you stop and think about it, it’s kind of a no-duh because mops, vacuums, and kitchen sponges are the ones picking up all the dirt, grime, and grossness that accumulates.
“The thing you use to clean other items is more than often filled with germs itself,” explains Leanne Stapf, Vice President of Operations, The Cleaning Authority, who offers that kitchen sponges are notoriously guilty of harboring all types of bacteria including e. coli. This is, of course, in addition to the fact that damp environments (where kitchen sponges often live) are great places for bacteria to breed. To which I have only one response: No thanks.
Keep scrolling to find out how to keep your kitchen sink from looking like a science experiment.
You should be washing and replacing your sponges frequently
First things first: You should really be replacing your kitchen sponge anywhere from once a month to once every two weeks depending on how much you use it, according to Stapf. That means if your dinner plans usually consist of take out and paper plates you can squeeze some extra calendar days out of the rotation. She also says that by cleansing your sponge on a daily basis you can keep it from getting so germ-ridden so quickly.
So this is where the cleaning your cleaning items comes in. First, you can microwave your sponge which Stapf says is “by far one of the easiest and most popular methods to clean your sponge.” Start by soaking your sponge in water, wringing it out, then placing it in the microwave to nuke it. You don’t want to burn your sponge, so Stapf says to “keep an eye on it while it’s in the microwave to make sure that it’s not getting burnt.”
If you have a dishwasher, place it on the top rack and set it to the “heated dry” setting. Alternatively, soak your sponge in vinegar or bleach “filling a cup with vinegar and soaking the sponge for about five minutes,” Stapf says. “Or you can fill a cup with diluted bleach (1/2 cup of bleach for every gallon of water) and soak the sponge for five minutes.”
Is there a more economic and environmentally friendly option?
So let’s do some math, shall we? If you’re replacing a sponge every two weeks that means you’re going through 24 sponges a year (a lot). One option to help save the environment could be to opt for biodegradable sponges. Stapf also says you can cut back on how often you have to replace your sponge by opting for a microfiber sponge. It lasts longer (up to two months) since it dries quicker, giving the bacteria less time to grow. A win for your health and TBH your busy schedule too.
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