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This is when you should actually throw away your sponge (plus 3 ways to keep it super clean)

POSTED: August 7, 2017 9:01 a.m.
David Snell/

Wow, I've been doing this wrong my entire life.

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Go take a look at your sink. How are your sponges looking? If they're anything like mine, they're a bit crusty. We use sponges every day to clean dishes by hand, but just how clean are our sponges to begin with? How long should we use them before they're too dirty? How do we clean them?

These are all great questions. Here are the answers:

When should I throw my sponge away?

According to this website, you should throw your sponge away every few weeks, depending on how often you use it.

This might shock you, but the average kitchen sponge is about 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. So, no matter when you decide to replace your sponges, it's extremely important to keep them clean at all times.

How do I keep my sponges clean?

OK, we've got three tips for you that'll keep that sponge more sanitary than it's ever been. Here they are;

1. Rinse and wring

You're probably pretty familiar with this method. Rinse your sponge off in hot water, squeeze as much liquid out as you can, and set it somewhere where it can dry easily and quickly. Finding a way to set the sponge on end or on its side will help it dry more quickly.

The idea here is that the hot water will help kill bacteria, but warm, moist sponges also promote bacteria growth. So, rinse and wring.

2. Microwave that thing

This website suggests you throw your sponge in the microwave every night AND after each time it touches raw meat or raw meat juices. Some sources say that doing it every other day is fine too.

One to two minutes should do the trick, but make sure you let it sit for a while after it's done. It'll be hot.

This is important: Make SURE that the sponge is wet when you put it in the microwave. If it's not, it could catch fire. You don't want that.

3. Throw some disinfectant in the mix

If you're using your sponge to clean table/countertops, use disinfectant too. It'll help keep the counters and (possibly more importantly) your sponges.

Keep track of sponge usage

This website supports the idea that sponges should be replaced frequently. In fact, it says that if you use your sponge once a day you should replace it once a month. If your sponge starts to smell bad—that's bad news. It means it's growing quite a bit of bacteria and needs to be thrown out.

Be aware. Be clean. Be safe.
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