by homify

After reading this you'll throw out your kitchen sponge immediately

SHILPI CHAKRAVARTY SHILPI CHAKRAVARTY
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We do not need any architect or designer to tell us that every one of us loves a spick & span home with squeaky clean floors, spotless bathroom, tidy bedroom and a neat kitchen. And for the same, we invest a lot of time, effort and cleaning material. We all swear by the utility of good old sponge, when it comes to cleaning. This humble material is quite popular owing to its versatility in conveniently cleaning a myriad of surfaces & getting rid of tough stains with ease. 

More often than not, we tend to use the same sponge over & over again, choosing to clean it for re-use. But there is a caveat: a dirty sponge is a fertile ground for hazardous micro-organisms and it is a dangerous proposition to try cleaning up a dirty sponge in order to re-use it. How? Read on in this homify story!

1. A hospitable haven to teeming millions.

No matter how many cleaning liquids you douse your dirty sponge in and irrespective of the countless times you microwave it, the hardy & most harmful pathogens colonizing your dirty warm, wet sponge will continue to thrive, making it even stinkier and nastier. 

2. Kitchen grease- a nutritious feast!

Studies have shown that a soiled kitchen sponge is densely populated by a wide range of pathogenic bacteria, making it as dirty as human stool samples. Yuck! 

The dirty sponge attracts the bacteria which arrive via food, the skin or other surfaces, and with the perfect living conditions—ample wet, warm and nutrient-rich space, they multiply rapidly. Among those taking advantage of these amenities, one particular microbe lives on the human skin and can cause infections in people with weak immune systems.

This very microbe eats the grease & fat, excreting the fat with added toxins that stinks badly. And this is primarily responsible for the stench of dirty laundry & for that funky odor your sponge has lately been emitting. EEWW!

Expert studies warn against using the kitchen sponge to scrub off chunky food debris or wipe up unpasteurized milk products, fresh meat juices, dirt from vegetables & fruits, vomit or the pet’s droppings, and suggest using paper towel, cleanser or running water.

To avoid cross-contamination, it is advised to wash the hands properly after using the kitchen sponge, and have different sponges for different parts of the kitchen like the dishes, countertops and floor.

3. A comfortable estate for the resistant ones.

The thrifty among us may try to clean a sponge that starts to stink, but it’s a better idea to let it go. Disinfecting it, as many have tried, does not necessarily work. Microwave it, throw it in the laundry or dishwasher, douse it in vinegar or other cleansing solutions or even cook it in a pot, the resistant and potentially the most harmful ones remain.

Experts say that trying to clean a dirty sponge is similar to encouraging antibiotic resistant bacteria by choosing not to follow the doctor’s orders. If not cleaned perfectly, it is in the best interests to replace it with a new one every week or so, especially when the sponge starts coming apart. 

Imagine the bacterial populations you will be ingesting, when a clean sponge is used to wipe the water off freshly washed dishes. Scary, isn't it?

But if you would rather not like to waste the modest piece of sponge, a safer recourse is to run it through a laundry machine at the hottest setting, using a powder detergent & bleach, and then to use it somewhere other than the kitchen, that is less hygiene-sensitive… .for instance, on the bathroom tiles.

Drying is also a cheap and somewhat effective way to keep bacterial numbers down as the moisture-loving bacteria can’t usually multiply on a dry piece of sponge. 

4. Washed away… .or simply transferred??

Re-using that cleaned kitchen sponge for cleaning in the bathroom is not exactly advisable. With a view to balancing hygiene & sterility, thriftiness and a sustainable environment, it is wise NOT to use a cleaned kitchen sponge in the bathroom as it may further lead to even more serious ailments. This is because bathroom is another favorite hangout for moisture loving pathogens to breed & grow.

Be it the bathroom tiles, sink, your shower cabin or the bathtub, using a cleaned sponge is better avoided. Though not 100% unsafe, it is still potentially quite unhealthy.

5. Clearly not that clean.

Again, using a dirty/ washed kitchen sponge to clean up the windows is not really a very good idea. The reason behind that is more living spaces like the living room, bedroom, kids' playroom, etc. may get contaminated. Besides not cleaning the windows efficiently, the germ laden dirty sponge may affect the more vulnerable age groups- children & the aged.

Weighing the options… ..

It will not be wrong to say that options like mops, brushes, paper towels and washcloths are much more sanitary & hygienic for regular cleaning around the house, as these materials are washed more often, soak less water, dry faster and have smaller inner surfaces.

On the road to assured safety.

All said & done, the safest way to avert health hazards is to toss away that dirty stinky sponge and use a fresh one!

How often do you change your kitchen sponge?
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