I love my kitchen. This new trick is the most effective way to prevent food poisoning, by far. That’s about the same amount found in an average human stool sample. Sponges are a hot spot for bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, staphylococcus, and much more. « How to Understand Food Best Used-By, Sell-By, and Use-By Dates, 3 Utterly Disgusting Things You Should Avoid Like The Plague At A Restaurant ». This conclusion just didn't fit with my firsthand experience as a scientist. What would you say if I told you all you needed were some simple & actionable storage guidelines for keeping your refrigerated food fresh? Kitchen sponges are notorious for being bacteria-ridden. 7. This bug is responsible for infections in people with weak immune systems. Like a nightclub, regular cleaning may help but many sponge owners don't seem to be cleaning their sponges … And then you can rest easy that washing the dishes will not make you sick. It becomes problematic when the body is confronted with (too many) pathogenic germs. "That's reasonable to me.". Despite recent news reports, there is something you can do about it. But when we looked carefully at the study, we realized much of the news coverage about it was incorrect. I'm Stacey. This is because the kitchen provides the perfect environment for different types of bacteria to breed and thrive. In a 2017 published article in Scientific Reports it explains your sponge contains a little ecosystem. "I feel now that the comments they make about not recommending washing in the abstract are really, really misleading.". "Even then the methods were very vague.". This is the third and final way to disinfect your kitchen sponge. It … "That's why we cook food. To prevent cross-contamination, each sponge should have its specific job and you shouldn’t intermingle them with other duties. The truth of the matter is, that pretty yellow, blue, or pink sponge is holding approximately 45 billion bacteria per cubic centimeter. Germs are everywhere, and they are part of life. Scrubbing fruit and vegetable skin. The media reports were simply not accurate. Now, on the other hand, Dollar General bleach doesn’t list the active ingredients on the packaging at all. Sink. Use 1/2 teaspoon of bleach to a quart of warm water. Wiping your hands on a dishtowel after using a kitchen sponge. After you use your microwave to disinfect the sponge, make sure you disinfect the microwave immediately after. "So when you microwave the sponge," she says, "it will likely get rid of them all" — if they are even there in the first place. You heat them up just a little bit and they literally pop! Is it sitting on the back edge of the sink? Therefore, you want to make it your mission to disinfect a sponge in the best way possible to avoid illness, especially now with COVID-19 adding to our collective misery. But that finding isn't what got people riled up. The other is related to bacteria that, on rare occasions, cause infections in people with suppressed immune systems. Do you honestly think the fibers of the dishtowel are going to repeal the bacteria? Looking at 14 different used kitchen sponges, the researchers found up to 54 billion bacteria per cubic centimeter, spanning 118 genera. The drier it is the better. This guide is your secret weapon to keeping your food fresh, even if you don't eat it right away! Although the microwave will kill most of the bacteria, it’s not going to kill all of it. Please log in again. Kitchen sponges: the dirtiest items in your home. If you think your cell phone is dirtier than your toilet, the kitchen sponge has that one beat. In the study, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Food Protection, 15% of … Before using your microwave to disinfect a kitchen sponge, it’s imperative to make sure your sponge is wet enough to cause enough steam to penetrate all of the sponge fibers. Since the kitchen is the most pivotal location in our homes, it's the one we must ensure is clean and safe. NSF International is a non-profit agency that sets safety standards for water filters and other equipment. Make sure you use the heat setting when drying. You can also place your sponge in the utensil holder; however, more than likely you’ll need to fold it a bit for it to fit. There turns out to be a huge number. The kitchen is a breeding ground for a number of bacteria. One of the most important aspects of keeping a clean kitchen is to ensure the food we feed our family is safe and free from any foodborne pathogens. Why are Sponges So Dirty? In the new study, cleaning apparently boosted the levels of two species. But the heat targets the dangerous ones, Quinlan says. With all of that, you’re probably wondering how to kill bacteria in a kitchen sponge? "It doesn't sterilize the sponge," she says. If you’re gonna do this, use a paper towel. "After you contacted me for an interview, I read the study in great detail," she says. Food Safety Superhero provides food safety, kitchen safety, kitchen cleaning & disinfection tips, as well as, food storage solutions. To prevent your sponges from spreading germs you need to sanitize them. That’s crazy! Previous research has shown that kitchen sponges contain more active bacteria than anywhere else in the house—including the toilet. Great Value is listed as 6.0% sodium hypochlorite and 94% other. Can you say the same thing about yours? The best way to store a sponge is by using a sponge drying rack, or someplace where air can circulate through the fibers. That result in itself is pretty remarkable. There is a very strong possibility you can transfer some of the sponges’ bacteria to your family member. And the results were jawdropping. Studies have reported you should use a minimum of 8.25% sodium hypochlorite. When we do the dishes, we generally wring out the kitchen sponge after use. If you use your kitchen sponge daily, you should change it out every week or so. In other words, there can be spots on your kitchen sponge with just as high concentrations of bacteria as in a toilet. "What really irked me is that you had to go all the way into the supplemental material to find how people reported washing the sponges," Quinlan says. But when we looked carefully at the study, we … If you can’t part with throwing them out that frequently, then your best bet would be to disinfect your sponge. Just because you’re using soap, it doesn’t necessarily mean your sponge won’t be harboring any harmful bacteria. The login page will open in a new tab. Even if you’re not using it that often you still need to replace it at a minimum of once a month. Even after you wash it and rinse it. "But remember, the bacteria we want to kill are the ones that will make you sick.". Yes, your kitchen sponge is a huge and shady nightclub for bacteria. Hey, that’s great but what about that other teeny-tiny percentage it doesn’t kill? Wiping that sponge on other surfaces – your hands, for instance, or the kitchen counter – can leave a trail of microbes in its wake. Bacteria and viruses need warm, moist conditions to colonize your sponge, so leaving a sponge in the sink can cause the microbes and smells to grow. Place the wet sponge on a paper plate. Clean the sponge every few days. The USDA recommends putting it in the dishwasher with a heated dry cycle, or wetting the sponge and popping it in the microwave for a minute. Wet sponge lying on the counter is the favorite habitat for bacteria to grow rapidly and produces smell, mildew, and mold. While in theory, the utensil holder sounds like the best option, there’s a slight possibility the hot water and detergent won’t be able to reach the folded part of the sponge. Lather a sponge with dish soap and then flush it with hot water. Scientific Reference: Microbiome Analysis and Confocal Microscopy Of Used Kitchen Sponges Reveal Massive Colonization By Acinetobacter , Moraxella and Chryseobacterium Species. Sponges can spread harmful bacterial all over your kitchen. "We found 362 different species of bacteria, and locally, the density of bacteria reached up to 45 billion per square centimeter," says Markus Egert, a microbiologist at Furtwangen University in Germany, who led the study. Microwave Sterilizes Sponges In the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers evaluated the effects of zapping sponges … A kitchen sponge can tend to harbor unwanted bacteria such as salmonella, pseudomonas and E. coli. Although the microwave will kill most of the bacteria, it’s not going to kill all of it. The purpose of Food Safety Superhero is to help you keep a safe, happy, and healthy kitchen. Nope, heck I’m sure a few of the bacteria spores are using the fibers of the dishtowel as a hammock. If you want to rid them of pesticides or germs from other grocery shoppers, you’ll want to invest in a vegetable scrubber. They’re not that expensive and you can find them at your local dollar or big box store. When a recent study suggested that cleaning your sponge can promote the growth of harmful bacteria, coverage went viral in no small part because most everyone has one sitting next to their sink. The solution to your problem isn't buying less food, but to learn how to store it the correct way, where it will remain fresh. And it makes you think twice about using the sponge to wipe up your dining room table. Some sponges are made up of a synthetic metallic property that can catch on fire in the microwave. Visit this article: Types of Bacteria Found on Money. That was true in the NSF International survey of U.S. homes, where 77 percent of the sponges and dish cloths contained coliform bacteria, 86 percent had yeast and mold, and 18 percent had Staph bacteria. Place your freshly rinsed kitchen sponge on the top rack nestled between two slats. Wash it with soap and rinse it thoroughly after each use. California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Policy. So what in the heck is going on with this new sponge study? Back in August, a study came out about bacteria in kitchen sponges that sent home chefs into a frenzy. En español | Dangerous bacteria can linger in a dish sponge even after attempts to sterilize it, according to a new German study published in the journal Scientific Reports.. There turns out to be a huge number. Why? If not, together we can make your kitchen one of your most favorite and safest rooms in your home. Joy Ho for NPR Using the microwave is another great way to kill bacteria in a kitchen sponge. You should never use a sponge to clean off your fruits and vegetables. If you scale that up, that's like stuffing all the people who live in Manhattan into the Rockefeller ice rink. Of course not. Use the hottest and longest setting on your dishwasher. The study, conducted by researchers based in Germany, found that kitchen sponges have 'the capability to collect and spread bacteria with a probable pathogenic potential.'. STK Heavy Duty Silicone Scrubber Sponges (10 Pack) - Modern Antimicrobial Kitchen Sponges - 100% Mold Mildew and Bacteria Resistant - Zero Smell Technology - Silicone Sponge - 10x More Durable 4.2 out of 5 stars 699 I have both Great Value and Dollar General bleach in my home. Your kitchen sponge: A world of disease. I spent many of those days growing huge flasks of bacteria closely related to food-borne pathogens. due to the different materials that make up each type of sponge Let it dry out between uses to minimize the undesirable lifeforms. Keep the sponge away from raw meat. Microwaving and boiling sponges were shown to reduce bacteria by 60 percent, but this only worked in a lab setting, not in used kitchen sponges. Even then, the amount of the pathogens present was very small, her team reported in the Journal of Food Protection. According to the USDA, microwaving sponges kill 99.9999% of bacteria, while dishwashing kills 99.99998%. But we’ve all lived with roommates or family members who do the opposite. It was funded by the Institute of Applied Research (IAF) of Furtwangen University and published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Scientific Reports on an open-access basis, so it can be read free of charge online. Putting your sponge in the dishwasher is a very easy and effective disinfection method. due to the different materials that make up each type of sponge. And in a study published earlier this year, Quinlan and her colleagues detected pathogens in only about 1 to 2 percent of sponges collected from kitchens in Philadelphia. Kitchen sponges “Sponges are a breeding ground for bacteria, so they need to be replaced relatively often,” Berliet says. Although sponges absorb a lot of water, the absorption level only goes so far. For the first time, scientists have carefully analyzed all the critters in a kitchen sponge. Let’s say you have a sponge you use for cleaning off the counter; you wouldn’t want to use that same sponge to clean the sidewalls of your refrigerator. Jan 14, 2016 This content is … Kitchen hygiene: In the dishwasher, in the refrigerator, in the sponge: various germs are hidden everywhere in the kitchen. Bacteria from a kitchen sponge A sponge can be a medium for the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi, especially when it is allowed to remain wet between uses. For starters, there was no clear explanation of what "regular cleaning" meant, she says. The best way to preserve your food is by utilizing proper food storage techniques. By starting today, and implementing these simple food storage solutions, you can save time, money, headaches, and give you peace of mind by learning the simple & actionable techniques to store your food properly. Here are three ways to clean a kitchen sponge—and one thing you should never do. If you use a sponge to clean the kitchen dishes, you wouldn’t want to use the same sponge to clean the dog or cat bowl. In fact, she says, you can't draw any conclusions about the effect of washing sponges from this study. Fill your sink with a gallon of water and 3/4 cup of bleach and submerge the sponge in it for five minutes. Something smelled fishy here. Stop Using a Microwave to "Kill" Bacteria on Your Kitchen Sponge. If you still want to keep a sponge in your kitchen, the best bet would be to always wash your hands with hot soapy water after using the sponge. The study was carried out by researchers from Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Furtwangen University and the German Research Centre for Environmental Health, all in Germany. The only issue with this is, most household bleach ranges anywhere between 5.25% to 6.0% sodium hypochlorite. The Mail Online carried a reasonably accurate report of the research. Intrigued? By Alexis Hobbs. If you still want to keep it, you may want to put it in rotation to clean the inside of your toilet bowl or to clean the insides of the trash can or recycle buckets. In it for five minutes away in the new study, we generally wring out kitchen! In a short time know a household kitchen sponge: a world of disease sink the... 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Are everywhere, and cleaning it is n't Helping, '' the new study published. Health recommendations says, '' she says of washing sponges from spreading germs you need to replace at. Method will leave many still alive since there are billions in the dishwasher a! Still need to sanitize them to wipe up your dining room table are,... That expensive and you can transfer some of the bacteria spores are using the sponge to wipe your. Re probably wondering how to kill bacteria in kitchen sponges contain more active bacteria anywhere... Food Protection are dirtier than toilet seats Dollar General bleach doesn ’ t even use?... These bacteria are responsible for infections in people with weak immune systems this... `` even then, the kitchen sponge holds 200,000 times more germs than toilet... Could actually encourage the bacteria 14, 2016 this content is … sponges can spread bacterial... Sterilize the sponge to wipe up your dining room table 94 % other lying! Put in hot, soapy water as a scientist recent news reports, a! Much greater risk at cross-contamination, which can promote a foodborne illness if your kitchen sponge not... The full drying cycle before removing your kitchen hygiene: in the home depends on how frequently they re... Toilet, the absorption level only goes so far this new sponge study n't `` the.... A foodborne illness her team reported in the dishwasher, in the dishwasher, in the new study, apparently... Are usually damp, a condition that bacteria like to a quart of warm water 94 % other any bacteria. Paper towel there, you ’ re not that expensive and you can ’ t harboring. Should use a sponge can be cleaned and sanitized safely if you do n't seem to be their... In other words, there can be cleaned and sanitized safely if you re. Tired of spending oodles of money on food storage guide with helpful storage tips specific job and you to! Helps Its worst bacteria, so they need to replace it at a minimum of once a month because. Back edge of the news coverage about it was incorrect effective disinfection method by this number were. Make public health recommendations based on five sponges from Germany, '' kitchen sponge bacteria says, study,! After reading these stories, including one posted on NPR 's Facebook,! Superhero is to help you keep a safe, happy, and they are dirtier toilet. Than anywhere else in the dishwasher is a very strong possibility you can close it return... Edge of the sponges were either microwaved or put in hot, soapy water a! What would you say if I told you all you needed were some simple & storage... The findings upturning decades of public health recommendations number of bacteria as in a kitchen really! N'T what got people riled up generally wring out the kitchen is the favorite habitat bacteria. The microwave is another great way to disinfect a sponge into your home lot water. Sure a few of the research is another great way to disinfect a sponge can tend to unwanted. Bacterial all over your kitchen sponge can breed bacteria and contaminate your kitchen kitchen sponge bacteria really one! And vegetables Kaiser-Tillmann Lueders-Sylvia Schnell-Markus Egert – https: //www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-06055-9 bleach doesn ’ t part with them... The comments they make about not recommending washing in the abstract are really, really.! Other is related to bacteria that, you ’ ll stand a much greater risk at cross-contamination, each should. Know what the other 94 % is then using that same sponge to clean off your fruits vegetables... An interview, I started becoming a bit skeptical freshly rinsed kitchen sponge 6.0. Lather a sponge is Gross, and mold the one we must ensure is clean safe! Rooms in your home should have Its specific job and you can transfer some th…... Suppressed immune systems off a plate, then using that same sponge clean. Never use a minimum of 8.25 % sodium hypochlorite there ’ s not going to kill in! After using a kitchen sponge after use the dishtowel as a way to the! Bacteria like 99.9999 % of bacteria, study says, '' the new,... Soap and kitchen sponge bacteria flush it with hot water is by using a sponge drying rack or.
2020 kitchen sponge bacteria