Housekeeping
Mar 4, 2015

How to: Keep dish sponges germ-free

By: Mary Levitski
How to: Keep dish sponges germ-free

How to really keep your dish sponges clean Author: Joe Kim

Housekeeping
Mar 4, 2015

How to: Keep dish sponges germ-free

By: Mary Levitski

Sanitation tips on how you can keep your dirty dish sponges clean.

 

E. coli, salmonella – nasty things can lurk in a kitchen sponge. Our resourceful research editor, Mary Levitski, shows you how to keep it germ-free.

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How to keep dish sponges germ-free

Step 1: Forever moist and full of dark nooks and crannies, a kitchen sponge is ideal breeding ground for all kinds of harmful bacteria. Sterilize it on a regular basis, preferably daily. The best method is soaking it for a few minutes in a mixture of two teaspoons chlorine bleach and one cup water. But if you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly approach, you can also place the sponge in a pot of boiling water for five minutes and hang it to dry.

Step 2: To deter germs from thriving in your sponge, keep it as dry as possible. Always rinse and wring it well before depositing it in a designated spot that has good drainage. If possible, the spot should also be in direct sunlight, which will significantly speed up drying time.

Step 3: Replace the sponge about once a month. If your sponge has a foul odour even after you sanitize it, toss it out immediately.

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Stylish solution
Give your sponge a home that’s beautiful and practical. The Meridian from Umbra ($5, umbra.com) attaches to the wall of your sink with a suction cup. The fun plastic lattice pattern and ventilated bottom keep air circulation at a maximum, encouraging fast drying.

Sponge subs
To keep bacteria in check, consider replacing your dish sponge with an alternative.

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1 Scrub
Made of peach pits or corn cobs, these stringy scrubs are so good at resisting microbes that you can use them sans soap! Goodbye Detergent! The Original Spaghetti SCRUBS, $10 US per pack of 2 each, vat19.com.

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2 Brush
The recycled plastic bristles dry quickly when this brush is propped up or hung by its bamboo handle. Be Good Dish Brush, $8, williams-sonoma.com.

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3 Cloth
A washable microfibre dishcloth is a great substitute for a sponge. No matter how grimy it gets, just toss it in the washing machine to disinfect. We love this one’s scrub pad for lifting stuck-on foods. MÜ Kitchen Dishcloth in Red Poppy, $7, bedbathandbeyond.ca.

TIP: To minimize cross-contamination, designate a sponge for each surface: one each for dishes, countertops and floors.

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How to: Keep dish sponges germ-free