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Germs at Your Fingertips

It is party season and did you know your kitchen sponge is the hostess of the most-est. Yep, the average kitchen sponge can play host to upwards of 7 billion bacteria. Yikes!

Most of the bacteria comes from surprise - food left on dirty dishes, especially raw foods like meat, poultry and veggies.

Sponges that were tested after 3 weeks of use were found to contain fecal bacteria. That's because some people go to the bathroom and don't wash their hands. Gross. Or people use the same sponge to scrub behind the toilet that they use to wash their dishes. That's beyond gross.

Want to know what you can do to make your sponge a less hospitable home for bacteria?

  • Clean the sponge with soap and hot water after using it.
  • Get rid of any visible food left on the sponge.
  • Wring out the sponge as much as you can to get any extra water out. Store it in a place where it can dry out.
  • Keep it away from the cutting board. You don't want the sponge you use to clean your dishes coming in contact with any juices from raw meats. Reach for a paper towel and some disinfectant instead.
  • Some sponges today are designed to resist germs. Look for a sponge that says "resists bacterial odors" on the label.

Fit's Tips: If your sponge stinks - that means bacteria's growing. But just because it doesn't smell bad, doesn't mean bacteria isn't growing. A good rule of thumb? Replace your kitchen sponge once a week.

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Join The Conversation
gagirl gagirl 9 years
I also never use sponges. Someone asked what we use then.....dishcloths. And I use paper towels for the counters. I try to be really careful w/ germs and stuff.
Beaner Beaner 9 years
My friensd is obsessed with using that sponge that has that clear tube attached to it that you fill with dish soap - what a DUMB idea. The sponge gets full of disgusting germs and you wwaste a ton more soapt than you would normally. A guy totally invented that.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I use sponges as well. I do not use the same sponge to clean my bathroom however. I had a friend that did that and I about threw up. I have one for the kitchen counters and one for dishes and they both get run through the dishwasher everytime I run it.
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 9 years
Considering I do almost all the dishes in my house, I'm going to assume there is no fecal bacteria on mine. I use a sponge (the kind with scratch-free scotch pad on one side) for dishes. I buy a pack and replace each one every time Hus does the dishes (He always leaves the sponge FULL of water), then bleach them all and use them again. I only go twice, then they get bleached again and used for cleaning nasty stuff. I'm totally going to try the microwave, though. I use paper towels and spray on the counter. And THANKYOUSOMUCH,FIT! This was one of the things on my shopping list that I couldn't remember!
BlondeSugar BlondeSugar 9 years
Fecal bacteria on the sponge that you wash your dishes with? WASH YOUR HANDS PEOPLE!!
hautegeek hautegeek 9 years
that's so gross. if you don't use sponges to clean your dishes what do you use? nuking the sponge doesn't sound like a bad idea though..
scratch5 scratch5 9 years
My mom always used rags and changed them frequently. But I am sponge gal now. I try to change them frequently too. Never tried nuking them though. I do have use yellow ones for the counter and blue ones for dishes. I like the system and think it works well.
Marci Marci 9 years
I tried living without sponges but found myself going back to them. But I nuke them in the microwave twice a day for 2 minutes each time. That's supposed to kill any germs that may be lingering. That being said, I change them up pretty often, too.
medicgirl medicgirl 9 years
I've never used sponges either...my mum always taught me they were nasty.
rubialala rubialala 9 years
Oh yeah, I never ever have sponges around the house. The kitchen at my office used to have them before I started working there and then I kept throwing them out right away so they stopped buying them.
J_Stone J_Stone 9 years
I just got a cool Christmas gift, its a dish scrubber that is not nearly as absorbant as a sponge, so I assume its less likely to contain bacterias. I will find out what it is called and let everyone know!
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