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Ways To Clean Sponges + Tip For Clipping Them

Posted By Tipnut On October 6, 2009 @ 8:41 am In General,Kitchen | 6 Comments

Did you know sponges used for day-to-day wiping up should be sterilized at least every other day? They are nice for scrubbing and wiping up, but make sure to wash them regularly to help prevent spreading grubbies around your home.

HandfulAccording to Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in the Home:

A sponge that’s been in use for no more than two or three days in a kitchen will harbor millions of bacteria, said Elizabeth Scott, co-director of the Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in the Home at Simmons College in Boston. That’s a problem, she said, if you pick up the pathogen or a pathogenic E. coli, salmonella or campylobacter.

She added: That means that any time you use one to wipe up a surface you are potentially spreading those pathogens.

Source: NYTimes [1]

Cleaning methods depend on what they’re used for and what chemicals they’re already holding.

Used For Kitchen Counters & Dishes:

  • Toss them in the dishwasher when you do a load of dishes. The detergent and the heat should sterilize them.
  • You could also put them in hot soapy water with a good splash of vinegar, rinse well, then when still wet microwave for a couple of minutes. Bleach and water could be used as well rather than soap and vinegar.

Used For Wiping Up Toilets, Bathrooms, Showers & Floors:

  • You can soak them in a bleach solution*, then toss in the laundry. If you’re going to add them with other items, don’t mix with clothing, dish clothes or towels–keep them with other household rags.

Containing Ammonia:

  • Don’t add bleach. Use hot soapy water*, then toss in the washing machine.

More Methods:

  • Soak in bleach and hot water (as long as they haven’t been in contact with ammonia). Use one ounce of bleach per gallon of water.
  • Soak them in vinegar and hot water.
  • Add them to a pot of boiling water with vinegar added. Boil for a few minutes, cover pot and remove from heat. Let sit for an hour.

*Soaking and rinsing before tossing in the laundry helps remove most of the hair and grubbies before being tossed with other items in the machine.

Here’s a tip sent in from Margie and it’s a great way to keep those used for nasty jobs separate from your good stuff:

If you are going to use old face cloths, dish cloths, tea towels or sponges as dust rags or for messy cleaning jobs, cut a piece off one corner so they don’t get mixed up with your good items. You’ll recognize them right away.

I have a stash I use just for the bathroom that I wash and store separately, clipping them will be a useful way to know at a glance that these guys didn’t get mixed with the good stash by mistake.

Thanks very much for sharing that Margie!

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[1] Source: NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/28/dining/squeaky-clean-not-even-close.html?sec=health

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