How to Disinfect Your Sponges

Sponges are handy little tools for easy and quick clean up jobs. Unfortunately, they also make handy little homes and breeding places for bacteria. For this reason, sponges should be cleaned on a daily basis if they are used. A properly cleaned sponge will not harbor bacteria and germs that can make us sick. Nor will they develop unpleasant odors that make the kitchen or bathroom an unpleasant place to be.

Four basic methods can be used to properly disinfect your sponges. You can try each one and then select the one that you prefer to use. Additionally, it really does not matter which of the methods you use, so you can alternate among them.

Method 1

This is by far one of the easiest methods for cleaning your sponge. Simply toss the sponge into the dishwasher with a load of dishes. However, only do this if you are planning on running the load of dishes through at the time.

Method 2

Sponges can be laundered in the washing machine along with dishcloths. It is necessary to use the hot water cycle of the washer. Additionally, the sponges and dishcloths should be dried in the dryer to further sanitize them. It is especially important not to add other laundry in with the sponges and dishcloths.

Method 3

If you are extremely careful, you can sanitize your sponge in the microwave. The sponge must be wet when it is placed in the microwave, and it must not stay in too long. Depending on the wattage of your microwave, the sponge should not remain in the microwave any longer than one minute.

Powerful microwaves may require less than a full minute. Whenever attempting this method for the first time, be prepared for an emergency. It is possible to ignite your sponge if you allow it to become too dry for too long. Once you know the time frame that you need to follow for this task, you should remain in the room while using it.

However, since it is possible to ignite your sponge if you are not careful, children should never be permitted to use this method. Adults should only attempt this method of disinfecting if they are comfortable with the process.

Method 4

Sponges can also be disinfected using a solution of one cup of liquid chlorine bleach to one gallon of water. Use a dishpan to soak the sponges in this solution for approximately five minutes. The sponges should then be thoroughly rinsed in clean water. Hang the sponges to dry.

Pat Mulford •