Tip of the Day
Kitchen Sponge Safety
A sponge is a great tool for wiping up messes and absorbing liquid, but it can also absorb harmful foodborne pathogens that can make you ill. You can't remove 100 percent of germs lurking in a sponge, but there are ways to dramatically reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Sanitize sponges daily. Researchers at the USDA found that over 99 percent of bacteria, yeasts and molds were killed by microwave heating damp sponges for one minute or dishwashing with a drying cycle.
Replace frequently. Even after two or three uses, your sponge may be teeming with bacteria. And while cleaning your sponge daily helps reduce the risk of food poisoning, you should consider replacing your kitchen sponge regularly. Throw away your sponge right away if it begins to smell.
Store in a dry spot. It's important to not only wring out your sponge completely after each use and wash off any loose food or debris, but you should also store it in a dry spot. Letting your sponge lay wet on a countertop takes longer for it to dry and allows bacteria to multiply quickly.
Wipe up meat juices. Cleaning up spills from raw meat or poultry with a sponge can increase your chances of spreading harmful foodborne pathogens. Instead, use a paper towel or disinfectant wipes to clean up juices from raw meat and poultry.
Use on countertops. Many sponges contain millions of bacteria—avoid spreading those germs and bacteria to countertops by using a paper towel or disinfectant wipe to reduce the chances of cross-contamination with your sponge.
Visit HomeFoodSafety.org to download and share our Kitchen Sponge Safety Guide.
Receive the Tip of the Day RSS Feed!
Reviewed May 2013