Kitchen sponges are likely the most used cleaning items you have, which means they often end up dirty, smelly, and full of germs. When this happens, you can’t keep cleaning stuff with them, especially when those are your dishes and kitchen utensils.
Luckily, you can get rid of those yucky germs in many ways! Here are five of the most effective methods for disinfecting your kitchen sponges.
Method #1. Chlorine bleach
Bleach is a homeowner’s favorite because it can kill most viruses and bacteria. Perfect for disinfecting your kitchen sponge.
To use this method, mix 3/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water, and let your sponge soak in it for five to ten minutes. Once the time’s up, rinse the sponge under a faucet and wring it out.
Warning: Bleach is corrosive and can harm your skin and lungs, so always ensure the area is well-ventilated and wear gloves to avoid direct contact with your skin.
Method #2. Microwave oven
Most bacteria can’t survive in high temperatures, so heating your sponge in the microwave is a quick trick to disinfect it.
You just need to soak your germy sponge in a microwave-safe container with plain water, place it in the appliance, and heat it for two minutes. Once you hear the finishing beep, carefully remove the sponge and wring out the excess water.
Warning: Do not try this method if your sponge has metal or plastic fibers. Otherwise, you risk making sparks fly inside your microwave!
Method #3. Dishwasher
Your dishwasher has many settings, the most important for this task being the dry heat cycle—the one that kills the bacteria at high temperatures.
To disinfect your sponges with your dishwasher, place them on the top rack and run a dry heat cycle. The dishwasher will pump hot air into the sponge and kill the germs!
Note: Bacteria only start to die at temperatures over 140°F. Check if your dishwasher reaches said temperature on dry heat cycles. Otherwise, try another method.
Method #4. White vinegar
White vinegar is often used for many cleaning tasks, so it isn’t too surprising to find out it’s also a decent sanitizer and odor remover!
To sanitize your sponge with this method, you need to soak it in a bowl filled with white vinegar for ten minutes. Then, rinse the sponge under a faucet and wring it out.
Note: While vinegar does work for disinfecting, it’s not as effective as the other methods and only kills some viruses and bacteria. So, unless you don’t mind some germs remaining in your kitchen sponge, you may want to try a different option instead.
Method #5. Boiling water
Since bacteria can’t survive in high temperatures, boiling water does wonders for a germy sponge.
Heat a pot filled with water and once it starts to boil, place the sponge inside and let it simmer for five more minutes. This way, high temperatures in the water will kill the unseen germs in your sponge. Use tongs to remove the sponge from the pot and wait for it to cool before wringing.
Pro tip: air dry your sponges
Never leave your sponges wet and closed off. Dark, moist environments make for an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. To avoid germs growing in your recently disinfected sponge, keep it in an open, ventilated spot to air dry—do this after every time you do the dishes or scrub surfaces!
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