Health, Lifestyle

How to sanitise your kitchen sponge using an everyday appliance

Melissa Imbesi by Melissa Imbesi
March 26th, 2017

There’s not much in this world that grosses me out as much as a kitchen sponge.  A stinky sponge (you know the smell I’m talking about) makes me want to gag. I get so anal about mine that I usually replace it every week, which is A LOT of sponge purchasing.

Are you ready for some stomach-turning facts?  Microbiologist Professor Charles P. Gerba says that the damp environment of a sponge is perfect for allowing germs such as FECAL bacteria (POO!!!) from raw meat to fester in its spongey surface – and if you think your house is clean, think again. Dr Gerba says that the ‘cleanest’ kitchens are often the dirtiest because that constant wiping is just spreading bacteria all around the kitchen surfaces. In fact, Gerba claims that bachelors who live alone often technically have the cleanest homes because they rarely wipe their benches and therefore, aren’t spreading the germs around everywhere.

How clean is your bench?

Try as you may, those germs are INVISIBLE little bastards


Before you resign yourself to using disinfectant wipes for the rest of your life, there is a quick, easy and cost-effective way to kill all that grossness that resides in the old sponge – and all you need is a microwave.  Researchers at the University of Florida discovered that microwaving a completely damp (never dry) sponge for two minutes in the microwave killed over 99% of nasties from a sponge soaked in a cocktail of protozoan parasites, fecal bacteria, viruses and bacterial spores. Yummy.

It’s recommended that you nuke your sponge every second day or so, but just be careful – that sponge will be smokin’ hot after it’s finished, so give it a little while to cool down. Also, make sure not to microwave any sponges that have metal in them, like those ones with a mesh-like coating.

You can also chuck your sponge into the dishwasher for a full cycle which will give the same results.

Farewell, gross sponge.

What’s your best kitchen hack?

You can listen to our chat with self-confessed ‘clean freak’ Ada Nicodemou in pod form below, then come join us here for more podcast goodness.