Sponges are one of the most popular cleaning supplies in any household. We use them to wash dishes, wipe down the countertop, and scrub pots and pans.
If you’ve got sponges that you use but don’t know how to clean sponges or when you should get rid of them, we’re going to share some tips to help you clean a kitchen sponge.
Why Do I Need to Clean My Sponges?
Sponges are always in soapy, hot water so why do we need to clean dirty kitchen sponges? While they’re cleaning all the food off your dishes or dirt off your counters, they’re holding on to those germs and bacteria inside of them.
The bacteria and germs in the sponge will start to smell over time if they’re not cleaned. You can also spread those germs and bacteria to other surfaces and cause cross-contamination problems. By keeping your kitchen sponge clean, you’re reducing the risk of cross-contamination with other foods or bacteria.
Kitchen sponges also hold on to all the soap and cleaners you use so it’s important to clean them regularly to get all of that built-up soap out of them.
How to Clean Sponges
There are a couple of different ways you can clean and sanitize your dirty kitchen sponge. Depending on what you use your sponges for, different methods might work better than others.
No matter what method you use to disinfect your sponges, make sure to sit them out and allow them to fully dry. Wet sponges sitting around can be just as dirty and bacteria-filled as sponges that haven’t been cleaned.
Any of these methods are good for multiple sponges so you don’t have to clean them one at a time. It’s also important to note that there’s no magic way to get rid of all the bacteria living in your kitchen sponge.
How to Clean a Sponge in the Microwave
First, make sure the sponge is wet. A dry sponge is flammable.
Put the sponges you’re cleaning into a microwave-safe container in a single layer. Fill a microwave-safe bowl or dish with enough water to cover the sponges. Microwave on high for up to five minutes to kill the germs in your sponges. Dump out the water and let the sponge cool completely before wringing out the excess water so it can dry.
How to Clean a Sponge in the Dishwasher
Using your dishwasher to clean your sponge is one of the easiest ways to keep your kitchen sponges clean. Add them to the top rack of your dishwasher when you’re running a load of dishes. If you have a heated dry setting on your dishwasher, use that when you’re including sponges in your load of dishes.
Cleaning Your Sponges by Soaking
Soaking a sponge can help kill bacteria that are living inside of the sponge and we’re sharing three methods to clean your kitchen sponges by soaking them. Both bleach and vinegar have very strong smells. When you’re using these things to clean and disinfect your sponges, make sure you’re in a space with good ventilation.
Get a large bowl or a small bucket and fill it with a gallon of warm water. Add in ¾ cup of bleach and let your sponges soak for about five minutes. Take the sponges out of the bleach solution and rinse them well with clean water. Wring them out well and let them air dry before putting them away.
Similar to the bleach method, you can soak dirty sponges in full-strength vinegar. Find a bowl to hold the sponges you’re wanting to clean and add the sponges in a single layer to the bowl. Fill the bowl with white vinegar to cover the sponges and let them soak for five minutes. When they’re finished soaking, rinse with clean water and let the sponges dry out.
Soaking your kitchen sponge in boiling water is another way to kill the harmful bacteria living in your sponge. Fill a large saucepan with enough water to cover the sponges and bring the water to a boil. Add in the dirty sponges and let them boil for five minutes. Let the water cool before you remove the sponges. Squeeze the excess water out of the sponges and let them dry completely before putting them away.
How Often Should I Clean My Sponges?
The easiest way to answer this question is with how often you use them. Sponges that are used more frequently will need to be cleaned more often. How you take care of and store your sponges can affect how often they need to be cleaned.
A good rule of thumb is to clean your sponges at least once a week, no matter how often you use them. If you use them a lot, you can clean them more frequently.
When you’re finished using your sponge, make sure to wring it out to remove as much water as possible. Don’t let your wet sponge sit on the edge of your kitchen sink between uses. That’s a great environment for bacteria to grow, even after you’ve cleaned your sponges.
How Often Should You Replace Your Sponge?
Again, if you use your sponges a lot, they’re going to be replaced more frequently than sponges you don’t use as often. If you notice your sponge starts to develop an order or starts to fall apart, it’s time to replace your dirty sponge.
Sponges should be replaced monthly, even when they’re cleaned. After wiping down counters, washing dishes, and scrubbing pans, sponges just wear out.
Hire a Cleaner to Get Rid of the Germs
Don’t want to deal with dirty sponges? Contact the professionals from Upstairs Downstairs to take care of all of your cleaning needs. Upstairs Downstairs can help with regular housekeeping services to keep your home looking great all the time.
If you need help with a deep cleaning to get your home organized and under control, Upstairs Downstairs can help with that too. Contact us today for a free quote for the cleaning services you’d like to start using for your home.