The study, published in Scientific Reports, undertook a thorough investigation into how many critters are living in used kitchen sponges. Looking at 14 different used kitchen sponges, the researchers found up to 54 billion bacteria per cubic centimeter, spanning 118 genera. Use 1/2 teaspoon of bleach to a quart of warm water. It … "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. Microwave the damp kitchen sponge 5 minutes. California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Policy. A kitchen sponge can tend to harbor unwanted bacteria such as salmonella, pseudomonas and E. coli. With all of that, you’re probably wondering how to kill bacteria in a kitchen sponge? Please log in again. A 2017 study found that the kitchen sponge you’re using may contain as many as 45 billion bacteria per square centimeter. They state every home harbors different bacteria – which is understandable – but they did find a great deal of salmonella and staphylococcus in a kitchen sponge. If you think your cell phone is dirtier than your toilet, the kitchen sponge has that one beat. Wash it with soap and rinse it thoroughly after each use. 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.. "I feel now that the comments they make about not recommending washing in the abstract are really, really misleading.". "After you contacted me for an interview, I read the study in great detail," she says. This is because the kitchen provides the perfect environment for different types of bacteria to breed and thrive. In fact, she says, you can't draw any conclusions about the effect of washing sponges from this study. 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. Kitchen sponges are the No. To be sure you don’t get your new toilet cleaning sponges confused with your kitchen, you’ll want to cut off a corner of the old sponge. 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. I'm Stacey. "That's reasonable to me.". If … You heat them up just a little bit and they literally pop! Is it sitting on the back edge of the sink? 3. Are the findings upturning decades of public health recommendations? Back in August, a study came out about bacteria in kitchen sponges that sent home chefs into a frenzy. Great Value is listed as 6.0% sodium hypochlorite and 94% other. Can you say the same thing about yours? It’s also the one that makes sponges smell… This new trick is the most effective way to prevent food poisoning, by far. When your sponge starts to smell like rotten blue cheese mixed with curdled milk, or just dirty smelling, it’s time to go. To prevent cross-contamination, each sponge should have its specific job and you shouldn’t intermingle them with other duties. Even if you’re not using it that often you still need to replace it at a minimum of once a month. According to the USDA, microwaving sponges kill 99.9999% of bacteria, while dishwashing kills 99.99998%. Yes, your kitchen sponge is a huge and shady nightclub for bacteria. The study also looked at only five sponges that people said they "cleaned" regularly — and study participants did not say whether this cleaning took place in the microwave or in soapy water. Place it in a shallow microwave-safe container. Even then, the amount of the pathogens present was very small, her team reported in the Journal of Food Protection. 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. This guide is your secret weapon to keeping your food fresh, even if you don't eat it right away! The latter can actually make the sponge stinkier, Quinlan says. Does that mean you can’t use it? Before placing it on a drying rack you’ll want to: The good thing about sponges is, they’re pretty darn cheap, so it shouldn’t hurt your wallet to throw them out on a bi-weekly to monthly basis. And it makes you think twice about using the sponge to wipe up your dining room table. The kitchen sponge that does not smell is the first priority of every person who is health-conscious. Do you honestly think the fibers of the dishtowel are going to repeal the bacteria? There turns out to be a huge number. Hi There! That’s crazy! 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. Wiping meat juice off a plate, then using that same sponge to clean dishes. For starters, there was no clear explanation of what "regular cleaning" meant, she says. 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. This bug is responsible for infections in people with weak immune systems. It must remain in the microwave for no less than 2 minutes; however, due to the variance in wattage of microwaves, 2 minutes may not be long enough. "There's hardly any habitat on Earth where you'll find similar densities of bacteria, except for the human intestinal tract.". Use the hottest and longest setting on your dishwasher. Instead, it was a line in the study's abstract: Two species of bacteria "showed significantly greater proportions in regularly sanitized sponges [compared to uncleaned sponges], thereby questioning such sanitation methods in a long term perspective," the study says. The login page will open in a new tab. "It doesn't sterilize the sponge," she says. "I replace mine every one to two weeks," she says. Microwaving the sponge will knock down the bacteria living in it by about a million-fold, scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported back in 2009. You just put a gross stinky bacteria-laden sponge that’s probably filled with fecal bacteria, parasites, and other types of bacteria in the same place you’re planning on heating your Hot Pocket. There turns out to be a huge number. 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. The problem with sponges is that they don’t dry out between uses and the moisture helps harmful bacteria multiply. Although the microwave will kill most of the bacteria, it’s not going to kill all of it. If you use your kitchen sponge daily, you should change it out every week or so. If not, together we can make your kitchen one of your most favorite and safest rooms in your home. 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. Although the microwave will kill most of the bacteria, it’s not going to kill all of it. As it turns out, germ experts say the average kitchen sponge really is one of the dirtiest items in the home. 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. Wiping that sponge on other surfaces – your hands, for instance, or the kitchen counter – can leave a trail of microbes in its wake. Despite recent news reports, there is something you can do about it. Fill your sink with a gallon of water and 3/4 cup of bleach and submerge the sponge in it for five minutes. Print. Scrubbing fruit and vegetable skin. "That's why we cook food. Neither of these relatives are known to cause food poisoning. 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. 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. Visit this article: Types of Bacteria Found on Money. Instead, families should stick with the same recommendations Quinlan has given for years: 1. "That could actually encourage the bacteria.". Keep the sponge away from raw meat. Back in August, a study came out about bacteria in kitchen sponges that sent home chefs into a frenzy. For the first time, scientists have carefully analyzed all the critters in a kitchen sponge. Make sure you use the heat setting when drying. If your kitchen hygiene there, you can turn the kitchen into a real spinner in a short time. So what in the heck is going on with this new sponge study? That’s about the same amount found in an average human stool sample. We know that heating will kill the pathogens," says Jennifer Quinlan, a food microbiologist at Drexel University. Kitchen sponges are notorious for being bacteria-ridden. Kitchen sponges: the dirtiest items in your home. Why are kitchen sponges such germ magnets? A sponge can be cleaned and sanitized safely if you follow some guidelines. SMELL RESISTANT: Antibacterial & Antimicrobial SKURA style sponges are crafted from a patented polyurethane foam base, with an antimicrobial agent in the foam and scouring surface that inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew on the sponge. 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. Then the media took this idea and ran with it. I’d love to know what the other 94% is. Lather a sponge with dish soap and then flush it with hot water. Place the wet sponge on a paper plate. How often, though, depends on how frequently they’re used. A dirty kitchen sponge can breed bacteria and contaminate your kitchen. Back in 2007, I was a biochemistry postdoc slaving away in the lab. In other words, there can be spots on your kitchen sponge with just as high concentrations of bacteria as in a toilet. Now, on the other hand, Dollar General bleach doesn’t list the active ingredients on the packaging at all. There's been evidence that using a bleach solution is the best way to clean a sponge, but truly, the only way to ensure you're working with a clean sponge is to replace it once a week. "If you're dealing with raw juices from meat or poultry, you should be using paper that can be disposed of," Quinlan says. Another important factor is, if your sponge isn’t thoroughly wet, it can cause a fire, regardless if it has synthetic metallic properties in it. Sponges are a hot spot for bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, staphylococcus, and much more. Don't keep sponges around for too long. 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. Massimiliano Cardinale-Dominik Kaiser-Tillmann Lueders-Sylvia Schnell-Markus Egert – https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-06055-9. Is it just laying in the sink? Germs are everywhere, and they are part of life. The truth of the matter is, that pretty yellow, blue, or pink sponge is holding approximately 45 billion bacteria per cubic centimeter. I love my kitchen. Let it dry out between uses to minimize the undesirable lifeforms. Researchers from Furtwangen University described kitchen sponges as a "common microbial hot spot," International Business Times reports.The study included DNA analysis of 14 kitchen sponges taken from private … 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.'. If you or your family member either has an immunosuppressed illness or cancer, you should never allow a sponge into your home. "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. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Scientific Reports , samples taken from kitchen sponges harbored 362 different kinds of bacteria in incredibly large quantities of up to 45 billion per square centimeter. The other is related to bacteria that, on rare occasions, cause infections in people with suppressed immune systems. If you’re going to use a kitchen sponge, use it specifically for one purpose only. If you scale that up, that's like stuffing all the people who live in Manhattan into the Rockefeller ice rink. Of course not. Strains of germs range from campylobacter, salmonella, and … Let it complete the full drying cycle before removing your kitchen sponge. They’re not that expensive and you can find them at your local dollar or big box store. "Cleaning a Dirty Sponge Only Helps Its Worst Bacteria, Study Says," The New York Times put it. But we’ve all lived with roommates or family members who do the opposite. The study stated that the sponges were either microwaved or put in hot, soapy water. Stop Using a Microwave to "Kill" Bacteria on Your Kitchen Sponge. 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. 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 Food Safety Superhero provides food safety, kitchen safety, kitchen cleaning & disinfection tips, as well as, food storage solutions. 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. After reading these stories, including one posted on NPR's Facebook page, I started becoming a bit skeptical. In the study, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Food Protection, 15% of … If you’re gonna do this, use a paper towel. 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. Hey, that’s great but what about that other teeny-tiny percentage it doesn’t kill? Anyone who has worked with food-borne pathogens — or their close relatives — knows that these little critters aren't "the strongest." For the first time, scientists have carefully analyzed all the critters in a kitchen sponge. However, it made much of the fact that some of th… Previous research has shown that kitchen sponges contain more active bacteria than anywhere else in the house—including the toilet. By doing this you’ll stand a much greater risk at cross-contamination, which can promote a foodborne illness. 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. Just because you’re using soap, it doesn’t necessarily mean your sponge won’t be harboring any harmful bacteria. By some estimates, they are dirtier than toilet seats. The same thing goes for cutting boards. Egert has no idea exactly what these species are, but one is related to bacteria that give your dirty laundry that stinky, musty smell. In the new study, cleaning apparently boosted the levels of two species. I spent many of those days growing huge flasks of bacteria closely related to food-borne pathogens. If you can’t part with throwing them out that frequently, then your best bet would be to disinfect your sponge. This conclusion just didn't fit with my firsthand experience as a scientist. The kitchen is a breeding ground for a number of bacteria. There is a very strong possibility you can transfer some of the sponges’ bacteria to your family member. Use the bleach you have on hand, but to be on the safe side, let the sponge soak for 3 minutes instead of 2. Indeed, a 2017 study found sinks and sponges are huge harborers of fecal bacteria in 44% of homes. Julia Child Was Wrong: Don't Wash Your Raw Chicken, Folks. The kitchen is the heart of every household and it's so important to keep our family healthy & safe at all times. Share in a comment below! Sink. But when we looked carefully at the study, we … "That's a very huge number of bacteria, indeed," Egert tells NPR. The only issue with this is, most household bleach ranges anywhere between 5.25% to 6.0% sodium hypochlorite. The best way to preserve your food is by utilizing proper food storage techniques. Sure, that may seem like you’re throwing money down the drain, but the truth of the matter is, it’s still breeding bacteria. Why are Sponges So Dirty? The best way to store a sponge is by using a sponge drying rack, or someplace where air can circulate through the fibers. Kitchen sponges “Sponges are a breeding ground for bacteria, so they need to be replaced relatively often,” Berliet says. The researchers also … 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. Microwave Sterilizes Sponges In the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers evaluated the effects of zapping sponges … How about in an old margarine tube under the sink? Egert and his team didn't find any of these food-borne-illness-causing bugs in their 14 sponges. 1 source of germs in the whole house. It becomes problematic when the body is confronted with (too many) pathogenic germs. When we do the dishes, we generally wring out the kitchen sponge after use. Just five species of bacteria are responsible for more than 90 percent of hospitalizations due to food-borne illnesses. When using this method, always soak the kitchen sponge in water first because a dry sponge can start a fire. Sponges can spread harmful bacterial all over your kitchen. And the results were jawdropping. "Even then the methods were very vague.". The drier it is the better.
2020 kitchen sponge bacteria