How to Keep Your Kitchen Sponge Clean

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OMG -- I could just scream when I walk into the kitchen, look into the sink and find a soaking wet sponge laying there. I know, I know, it sounds a little petty to freak out over a wet sponge but my problem is not seeing the sponge there, it is the effect that leaving the sponge wet in the sink causes.  Although there is an initial irritation, the real anger comes later that day or that week when I go to use that same sponge and clean up something in the kitchen and --

  1.                1) The stink from the sponge rubs off onto my hands and they smell like stinky sponge. Not to mention the fact that regardless of how many times I wash my hands after using the gross sponge my hands still stink like garbage.
  2.                2) I realize I just used that gross disgusting sponge to clean [you choose the kitchen item] and now I have to clean it all over again because there is no way it got clean with that stinky germy thing.

So being the problem solver that I am, my first thought was to throw the sponge at the person or persons who left it there in the first place so they could stink too. For the record the aforementioned stinky sponge was brand new just a few days ago, thus the reason for so much anger and hostility towards the person(s) responsible. But throwing a sponge never really solved anything so I suppose I will have to move on to the next possible solution.

I could ask nicely that they remember the sponge needs to be rung out and in its place -- but I have tried that before and while it works sometimes, the sponges cleanliness is just not as important to others as it is to me.

Maybe it's just me. No, I seriously doubt that. I would bet that I am not the only person out there with this problem. So since it is OBVIOUSLY not me, and I my requests seem to only be made known to the walls and it is not very nice to throw sponges at people, how do I fix the stinky sponge dilemma?

Thanks to Home and Garden (and a couple other sites), I found and compiled the following list of tips for keeping your sponge clean and contaminant free and hopefully will fix my perpetual stinky sponge problem:

  • Throw it into the dishwasher whenever you run it. The scalding temperatures in there will kill anything.
  • Let it dry full ever 24 hours – bacteria tend to thrive in moist environments so this will stop them. (This will only work for me when other people in my home are not touching the sponge, thus I would not have this problem in the first place)
  • If you’ve used it to clean up after raw meat or chicken – pour some boiling water over it.
  • To clean the sponge, place it in a microwave-safe dish and run on high for 3-5 minutes. Make sure to check it so that it does not dry out and catch on fire. Also DO NOT microwave a sponge with metal in it.
  • The soak method  also works for cleaning a sponge but really should only be used if you are not able to use the microwave or dishwasher. Make a bleach solution with 10% bleach, 90% water. Let the sponge soak for 3 minutes and then rinse. While this method will make your sponge smell better it won't nearly kill the amount of bacteria that the dishwasher or microwave will.
Although none of these tips included throwing the stinky sponge at the perpetrator, in the end I should still be able to make my kitchen sponge last longer than a couple of days with these tips.
Thank you Home and Garden, you may have just saved my family from my stinky sponge wrath. :)


Carrie Dahle

Writer ~ Day to Day Woman


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