How long have you kept that sponge in your sink? Chances are it’s too long. Sponges used to remove food debris from your plates and wipe down tables and sinks can be your enemy and be teaming with zillions of bacteria. They stay damp, perfect to grow bacteria, and even if you give them a quick rinse, they may still contain more microbes than there are people on Earth. Surprisingly, kitchen environments have been found to host more bacteria than toilets! When you grab that sponge and use it, massive colonies of pathogenic bacteria may be contaminating your hands, food, and dishes. These bacteria can contribute to food borne and other illnesses.

Use your sponges only on your dishes. Don’t use sponges to wipe away blood from meats in the sink. Use a paper towel and soap so you can toss it out after touching blood. Never use your sponge to clean spills on the floor or pet food dishes. Try your best to reduce cross contamination.

Make sure everyone in your kitchen washes their hands before preparing foods. If they have handled uncooked meats, remind them to wash again before touching dishes, or other food. It is also a good idea to take a disinfectant wipe and clean your refrigerator door and dishwasher handles daily.

Wash wet sponges in the dishwasher every couple of nights to remove unwanted bacteria, mold and yeast. Researchers also recommend you replace them every week.


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