Did You Know – Sponge

Did you know that if you use a squishy soft sponge made of cellulose fiber in your kitchen, it could be one of the filthiest things in your house? They harbor bacteria, mold and yeast. However, don’t give up on your sponge as I will share two solutions to this problem.

1. According to the scientists at the USDA, you can zap your sponge in the microwave for one minute on high and kill up to 99.9999 percent of the bacteria, mold and yeast. However, follow their advice and make sure there isn’t any metallic material or a plastic scouring pad attached. Thoroughly soak the sponge in water because a dry sponge could catch on fire. Place the wet sponge in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for one minute. Let the sponge cool in the microwave for 10-15 minutes. Remove the sponge and squeeze out any excess water.

2. You can also clean your sponge in the dishwasher, with your dishes, on the hottest and longest setting. According to the USDA this will kill 99.9998 percent of all microbes.

It is recommended to sanitize your sponge every day and replace it every 1-2 weeks. Throw away your sponge the moment it starts to smell funky.

Only use your sponge to clean dishes in the sink. You will be spreading germs if you also use it on your countertops, cutting boards, appliances and the dining table.



  1. Wash cloth we use and change each day. Sponge we found smells and cannot be recycled .I use old wash cloths as oil rags in my work shops

    • That’s a great idea. We wash our dish cloth for countertops 2 times a week and hang it so it is spread out and dries fast after each use. When we have food like raw meat and eggs on the counter we spray the counter with rubbing alcohol and wipe with a paper towel (not recyclable). You gave me a good idea to use a rag!

    • Wow good for you! I am not a lover of sponges, I use a nylon cloth because it dries completely. However, my husband loves them so I make sure his sponge is sanitized. He would use it until it fell apart without the thought of sanitizing it. Lol

      • I’m used to always having a sponge in the household but I also use microfiber cloths, so I see how you can love them.

        One thing is clear, we need to clear everything in our homes, including the cleaning tools 🧽😊

    • I agree Dorothy but it is nice to know there is a way to sanitize the sponge daily. Before my hands caused me problems, I use to crochet hundreds of nylon net scrubbies (I sold them) and they were the perfect thing to use since it was nylon net.

    • I spray rubbing alcohol and paper towel for things like raw chicken/meat, eggs etc. Ever since Covid started we even do this when ever we bring groceries home and place the bags on the counter.

  2. I know about these two cleaning methods for the sponges, but I must admit I don’t follow the routine regularly. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. My sponges have a scouring pad attached … so I’d rather not risk it in the microwave. But the dishwasher sounds like a good option. I have a whole drawer full of sponges because I replace mine about every 10 days. Very interesting, thanks Diane!

    • Ten days is perfect to keep and running them through the dish washer works in between new ones. I zap my sponges and it has the scouring pad too but mine is not plastic. I have not had any issues, just make sure the sponge is wet.

  4. This is great advice for those of us using sponges. I did not think about a dry sponge in the microwave could potentially catch fire -Yikes!! I agree 100% is sponges are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.

  5. Interesting – I didn’t know you could do that with a sponge … I don’t have a dishwasher or a microwave so … I see you warned readers about the sponges that might have metallic pieces in them.

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