Your kitchen sponge contains billions of bacteria. While microwave heat may kill some organisms, it won’t do away with all.
Studies show that resistant bacteria spores may withstand up to four minutes of microwave radiation exposure, but two minutes is enough time to kill over 99 percent of living germs, according to several reports.
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People looking for ways to clean their sponges have long been advised to pop their dismal kitchen helpers into the microwave in order to kill bacteria and revive it, Healthline reports. Unfortunately, however, recent research demonstrates that this cleaning trick doesn’t quite live up to its reputation as claimed.
A sponge may contain billions of bacteria, including those which could potentially cause food poisoning. As per WebMD, these pathogens can easily infiltrate kitchen areas where they come into contact with food or surfaces in the household – that’s why it’s crucial that it’s regularly cleaned or replaced when its appearance deteriorates.
Though one of the more popular sponge-cleaning hacks, placing dirty sponges in either the microwave or dishwasher only eliminates a limited amount of bacteria. To determine whether any sponge could truly be sanitized, scientists from ARS Food Technology and Safety Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland conducted several experiments. Soaking each sponge for 48 hours in a solution of ground beef and lab growth medium before subjecting them to different environments – lemon juice/deionized water soaks were given priority while others went through microwave heating sessions or dishwasher’s hot dry cycles were all included as tests sanitization tests.
Results indicated that soaking sponges in hot water and microwaving them effectively removed most, but not all bacteria from them. Furthermore, scientists discovered that “regularly sanitized” sponges (as described by their owners) actually contained higher concentrations of the potentially dangerous Moraxella osloensis bacteria responsible for making dirty laundry smell. For optimal hygiene they recommend purchasing new sponges every week in order to prevent illness-causing germs from building up on one.
Bleach may be best known for its stain-remover capabilities in the laundry room, but it can also serve as an effective sponge disinfectant. According to Oncology Times, bleach kills bacteria by releasing hypochlorous acid that denatures proteins found in bacteria so as to stop reproduction. This then stops future outbreaks from taking place.
To harness the power of bleach, combine half water and one cup of bleach in a bowl before fully submerging a sponge in it. Let it sit for one or two minutes before rinsing it off and wringing it dry – and your sponge is now ready to be microwaved!
This method works for most types of sponges, including those made of cellulose or synthetic materials, without metal scraping pads. Just ensure to wash it first as any food particles or bacteria could potentially contaminate your food while in the microwave.
As per the USDA, you can kill as much as 99 percent of bacteria on a sponge with just one minute in the microwave. Just make sure your sponge is wet before placing it inside; use rubber gloves to protect yourself against accidental skin contact with any chemical used for microwave cleaning; microwave only non-metal sponges not designed to use with sharp objects to avoid fire hazards; for best results use this method regularly and discard when smelly or discolored to get maximum value out of each sponge and protect your family against potential germs lurking therein!
As sponges are reused over and over again, they become home to germs that can spread E. coli or other illnesses. Regular sanitization and replacing old sponges before they begin smelling is essential in keeping a sanitary environment for both you and the sponge itself.
A sponge can be cleaned using various methods, including bleach, vinegar, dishwasher, boiling water and microwave sanitization. Of these options, microwave cleaning is by far the quickest and easiest, killing most germs within two minutes!
To sanitize a sponge in the microwave, first wet and place it inside. Make sure not to overdo it; too little moisture could cause your sponge to burn! Next, turn on your microwave for one minute. Upon completion, allow your sponge to cool before squeezing out any extra liquid or using.
Sanitizing sponges in the microwave may be quick and simple, but it may not be sufficient to eradicate all germs. A recent study discovered that while cleaning reduced the bacteria count by more than 99 percent, some species remained, including E. coli which can lead to illness in people with compromised immune systems.
Overall, the best way to sanitize a sponge is to wash it regularly with hot water and toss out as soon as it starts smelling. In addition, other methods may also help such as disinfectant wipes or running the dishwasher on its sanitizing cycle or submerging in boiling water for additional bacteria removal.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an economical solution to kitchen cleaning that can easily replace bleach or vinegar in many situations. Some people also use it as home remedies to relieve heartburn or ease razor burn, and it has even been demonstrated as being useful in microwave sterilization of sponges!
As with other household items, a dirty sponge can harbor bacteria and cause unpleasant odors. To combat this issue, using some baking soda mixed with hot water as part of a sponge cleaning solution is one effective method for disinfecting it and then rinsing with warm water after each use. This approach also works well at deodorizing plastic dishes or Tupperware which hold onto food odors.
Baking soda reacts chemically with acids to release carbon dioxide gas bubbles, producing leavening properties and making baking soda an invaluable kitchen cleaning product. Naturally occurring sodium bicarbonate has been demonstrated as safe in small doses.
Studies conducted in 2020 by the International Journal of Food Microbiology demonstrated that microwaves could effectively eradicate bacteria and viruses on sponges, with baking soda serving as an alternative to bleach. Radio frequency waves within microwaves cause both thermal (heat) and nonthermal (non-heat) effects that weaken or destroy cells of E.coli and salmonella bacteria species.
Baking soda has another use for chemotherapy treatments: to mitigate their side effects such as changes to the mouth and throat. A mixture of one quarter teaspoon of baking soda mixed with an eighth of teaspoon of salt mixed into a cup of warm water can be used as an oral cleanser three times each day, helping remineralize teeth while decreasing nausea, mouth sores, and inflammation caused by cancer treatments.
Microwaving your sponge with water will provide it with an additional disinfecting boost and will also rehydrate it for use during its next cleaning job. Just be careful that any metal is removed prior to placing in the microwave – otherwise you risk sparking and possibly melting your sponge!
Sponges can become breeding grounds for bacteria, and may become increasingly stinky over time. That’s because they’re often damp, providing plenty of room for bacterial growth. While most bacteria found living in sponges is harmless, some pathogens could still exist; that is why it’s crucial to ensure they are regularly cleaned off.
One of the more popular sponge hacks involves microwaving an unclean sponge in order to kill bacteria or reduce musty odor. While some believe this will work, in reality it all depends on how long you microwave your sponge for.
Scientific Reports published a study showing that microwaveing your sponge for two minutes can kill as much as 99% of bacteria present; however, doing it for longer than 10 minutes only kills 60%.
Simply soak your sponge in full-strength white vinegar to disinfect it and kill most of the bacteria, although this won’t remove odors completely. For optimal results, soak your sponge in a mixture of vinegar and water prior to placing in the microwave; once microwaved allow the sponge to completely dry before using again.