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A Better Way to Disinfect a Sponge

This article originally posted June 2, 2014 on our tumblr blog


Do you use a sponge for handwashing dishes? How quickly does it get really, really disgusting? 

The standard advice for this problem is to get the sponge wet and put it in the microwave for a minute or two.There’s nothing particularly wrong with that, as it will certainly get the job done. However, something about not seeing the magic happen, and the occasional result of drying up the dirty sponge because of leaving it in too long, is unsatisfying. Many people end up using bleach to really feel like everything is dead.  
Next time try the stovetop method. Just as with the microwave, you’re essentially boiling the sponge itself, and those temperatures are high enough to get rid of troublesome bacteria that love growing in the damp environment. As a bonus, this works even for those that don’t have a microwave and it’s very hands off!
Simply place your sponge in a small saucepan, cover with water, and simmer for a few minutes. Highly recommended to use some tongs and flip the sponge over after the first few minutes. This way both sides get really clean.  
Using boiling water or steam to disinfect is great because you don’t have to use any additional chemicals - it’s the temperature that does the work for you. 
If you’re a recovering bleach user and like to see your sponge bright white after disinfecting it, rinse it out and then let it sit in a solution of hydrogen peroxide or water with a powdered oxidizer like Oxo-Brite.
Letting the sponge simmer while you’re doing something else in the kitchen means you can watch it getting thoroughly disinfected without using chemical cleaners and disinfectants.