Kitchen chefs are thinking twice before wiping down their counters. Turns out that out favorite cleaning tools may not be so clean after all. A study published in Scientific Reports analyzed the number of bacteria found in each kitchen sponge, and the results created a mass frenzy in kitchens across the globe. Apparently, the average kitchen sponge hosts 362 different bacteria species, with 45 billion microbes condensed into one square centimeter of your favorite cleaning tool.
Is It Actually Possible To Sanitize A Sponge?
Many people found it even more alarming that routinely sanitized spongers actually host much larger amounts of two bacteria species, according to the study.
But don’t worry – much of this is due to people not understanding the best way to clean a sponge, with many putting it in hot and soapy water which actually encourages the bacteria to grow.
And there only five bacteria species that cause over 90% of food-related hospitalizations, all of which are very rare to find in a sponge.
Want to minimize your sponge’s bacteria count? Here’s what to do:
Here’s How To Keep Your Sponge Clean:
Change out your sponge every one to two weeks: The easiest way to ensure you’re not washing dishes or wiping down counters with a sponge that contains more bacteria than your bathroom toilet? Replace it frequently. You can even cut one sponge in half so you get more bang for you buck the next time you buy a back.
Clean Raw Meat With Disposable Paper: Raw meat and poultry is one of the greatest culprits when it comes to attracting bacteria. Use paper that you can throw out instead of sponge here to prevent a microbe-attack.
Clean it in the dishwasher or the microwave: Run the sponge under water and zap it in the microwave for a minute, or put it in the dishwasher under a heated dry cycle.
There are billions of bacteria living in each sponge, so don’t expect the microwave trick to kill all of them. However, zapping it in heat does target the most dangerous ones or the ones that makes us sick.
Data Source: nature.com, npr.com