The kitchen sponge that does not smell is the first priority of every person who is health-conscious. If you still want to keep it, you may want to put it in rotation to clean the inside of your toilet bowl or to clean the insides of the trash can or recycle buckets. Your kitchen sponge: A world of disease. For starters, there was no clear explanation of what "regular cleaning" meant, she says. Kitchen sponges are notorious for being bacteria-ridden. Did you know a household kitchen sponge holds 200,000 times more germs than your entire house? "That's reasonable to me.". If you scale that up, that's like stuffing all the people who live in Manhattan into the Rockefeller ice rink. Instead, it was a line in the study's abstract: Two species of bacteria "showed significantly greater proportions in regularly sanitized sponges [compared to uncleaned sponges], thereby questioning such sanitation methods in a long term perspective," the study says. I'm so happy you stopped by. I spent many of those days growing huge flasks of bacteria closely related to food-borne pathogens. So what in the heck is going on with this new sponge study? To be sure you don’t get your new toilet cleaning sponges confused with your kitchen, you’ll want to cut off a corner of the old sponge. Use 1/2 teaspoon of bleach to a quart of warm water. Researchers from Furtwangen University described kitchen sponges as a "common microbial hot spot," International Business Times reports.The study included DNA analysis of 14 kitchen sponges taken from private … One of the most important aspects of keeping a clean kitchen is to ensure the food we feed our family is safe and free from any foodborne pathogens. Previous research has shown that kitchen sponges contain more active bacteria than anywhere else in the house—including the toilet. The study also looked at only five sponges that people said they "cleaned" regularly — and study participants did not say whether this cleaning took place in the microwave or in soapy water. hide caption. In the new study, cleaning apparently boosted the levels of two species. "I replace mine every one to two weeks," she says. The truth of the matter is, that pretty yellow, blue, or pink sponge is holding approximately 45 billion bacteria per cubic centimeter. There turns out to be a huge number. "I feel now that the comments they make about not recommending washing in the abstract are really, really misleading.". That’s crazy! Wiping meat juice off a plate, then using that same sponge to clean dishes. Since the kitchen is the most pivotal location in our homes, it's the one we must ensure is clean and safe. Kitchen sponges are the No. Bacteria from a kitchen sponge A sponge can be a medium for the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi, especially when it is allowed to remain wet between uses. And it makes you think twice about using the sponge to wipe up your dining room table. The study stated that the sponges were either microwaved or put in hot, soapy water. Stop Using a Microwave to "Kill" Bacteria on Your Kitchen Sponge. The sink is a great … Is it sitting on the back edge of the sink? By some estimates, they are dirtier than toilet seats. 3. In the study, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Food Protection, 15% of … Kitchen hygiene: In the dishwasher, in the refrigerator, in the sponge: various germs are hidden everywhere in the kitchen. I fed them, harvested them, fished out their genes, studied their guts — and killed them — day after day after day. Why are Sponges So Dirty? Let it dry out between uses to minimize the undesirable lifeforms. due to the different materials that make up each type of sponge. 7. Another important factor is, if your sponge isn’t thoroughly wet, it can cause a fire, regardless if it has synthetic metallic properties in it. I'm Stacey. Now, on the other hand, Dollar General bleach doesn’t list the active ingredients on the packaging at all. There is a very strong possibility you can transfer some of the sponges’ bacteria to your family member. However, it made much of the fact that some of th… Let it complete the full drying cycle before removing your kitchen sponge. Scientific Reference: Microbiome Analysis and Confocal Microscopy Of Used Kitchen Sponges Reveal Massive Colonization By Acinetobacter , Moraxella and Chryseobacterium Species. I’d love to know what the other 94% is. "Some people may think that microwaving a sponge kills its tiny residents, but they are only partly right," the Times story continued. If you’re gonna do this, use a paper towel. Some sponges are made up of a synthetic metallic property that can catch on fire in the microwave. The kitchen is the heart of every household and it's so important to keep our family healthy & safe at all times. Anyone who has worked with food-borne pathogens — or their close relatives — knows that these little critters aren't "the strongest." When we do the dishes, we generally wring out the kitchen sponge after use. due to the different materials that make up each type of sponge The kitchen is a breeding ground for a number of bacteria. You should never use a sponge to clean off your fruits and vegetables. "Nobody would recommend hot, soapy water as a way to disinfect a sponge," Quinlan says. After you use your microwave to disinfect the sponge, make sure you disinfect the microwave immediately after. Although sponges absorb a lot of water, the absorption level only goes so far. 1 source of germs in the whole house. It has also … Hey, that’s great but what about that other teeny-tiny percentage it doesn’t kill? If not, together we can make your kitchen one of your most favorite and safest rooms in your home. "So when you microwave the sponge," she says, "it will likely get rid of them all" — if they are even there in the first place. Back in August, a study came out about bacteria in kitchen sponges that sent home chefs into a frenzy. After logging in you can close it and return to this page. Even if you’re not using it that often you still need to replace it at a minimum of once a month. Dish Sponges The single germiest item in your home is your average kitchen sponge. Before using your microwave to disinfect a kitchen sponge, it’s imperative to make sure your sponge is wet enough to cause enough steam to penetrate all of the sponge fibers. If you want to rid them of pesticides or germs from other grocery shoppers, you’ll want to invest in a vegetable scrubber. Microwave the damp kitchen sponge 5 minutes. Microwave Sterilizes Sponges In the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers evaluated the effects of zapping sponges … The study, published in Scientific Reports, undertook a thorough investigation into how many critters are living in used kitchen sponges. Germs are everywhere, and they are part of life. You just put a gross stinky bacteria-laden sponge that’s probably filled with fecal bacteria, parasites, and other types of bacteria in the same place you’re planning on heating your Hot Pocket. By starting today, and implementing these simple food storage solutions, you can save time, money, headaches, and give you peace of mind by learning the simple & actionable techniques to store your food properly. While in theory, the utensil holder sounds like the best option, there’s a slight possibility the hot water and detergent won’t be able to reach the folded part of the sponge. The media reports were simply not accurate. Use the bleach you have on hand, but to be on the safe side, let the sponge soak for 3 minutes instead of 2. Hi There! The solution to your problem isn't buying less food, but to learn how to store it the correct way, where it will remain fresh. Why do you ask? "That's a very huge number of bacteria, indeed," Egert tells NPR. For the first time, scientists have carefully analyzed all the critters in a kitchen sponge. But that finding isn't what got people riled up. The purpose of Food Safety Superhero is to help you keep a safe, happy, and healthy kitchen. Jan 14, 2016 This content is … But when we looked carefully at the study, we realized much of the news coverage about it was incorrect. Scrubbing fruit and vegetable skin. Then the media took this idea and ran with it. And the results were jawdropping. Instead, families should stick with the same recommendations Quinlan has given for years: 1. And these bacteria are actually quite rare in sponges, Quinlan says. The study was carried out by researchers from Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Furtwangen University and the German Research Centre for Environmental Health, all in Germany. "There's hardly any habitat on Earth where you'll find similar densities of bacteria, except for the human intestinal tract.". This is because the kitchen provides the perfect environment for different types of bacteria to breed and thrive. Fill your sink with a gallon of water and 3/4 cup of bleach and submerge the sponge in it for five minutes. This is the third and final way to disinfect your kitchen sponge. If you use a sponge to clean the kitchen dishes, you wouldn’t want to use the same sponge to clean the dog or cat bowl. Why? "Cleaning a Dirty Sponge Only Helps Its Worst Bacteria, Study Says," The New York Times put it. How about in an old margarine tube under the sink? Even after you wash it and rinse it. It was funded by the Institute of Applied Research (IAF) of Furtwangen University and published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Scientific Reports on an open-access basis, so it can be read free of charge online. They state every home harbors different bacteria – which is understandable – but they did find a great deal of salmonella and staphylococcus in a kitchen sponge. After reading these stories, including one posted on NPR's Facebook page, I started becoming a bit skeptical. STK Heavy Duty Silicone Scrubber Sponges (10 Pack) - Modern Antimicrobial Kitchen Sponges - 100% Mold Mildew and Bacteria Resistant - Zero Smell Technology - Silicone Sponge - 10x More Durable 4.2 out of 5 stars 699 Just because you’re using soap, it doesn’t necessarily mean your sponge won’t be harboring any harmful bacteria. The researchers also … "What really irked me is that you had to go all the way into the supplemental material to find how people reported washing the sponges," Quinlan says. Despite recent news reports, there is something you can do about it. Even the authors of this study were surprised by this number. The problem with sponges is that they don’t dry out between uses and the moisture helps harmful bacteria multiply. Not great. A 2017 study found that the kitchen sponge you’re using may contain as many as 45 billion bacteria per square centimeter. Are you kidding? 2. Wiping your hands on a dishtowel after using a kitchen sponge. "Even then the methods were very vague.". Sink. "That's why we cook food. "We do not want to make public health recommendations based on five sponges from Germany," Quinlan says. It's time to stop wasting money throwing away food that spoiled before you were able to eat it. With all of that, you’re probably wondering how to kill bacteria in a kitchen sponge? Joy Ho for NPR It becomes problematic when the body is confronted with (too many) pathogenic germs. Neither of these relatives are known to cause food poisoning. They state every home harbors different bacteria – which is understandable – but they did find a great deal of salmonella and staphylococcus in a kitchen sponge. There turns out to be a huge number. "If you're dealing with raw juices from meat or poultry, you should be using paper that can be disposed of," Quinlan says. Massimiliano Cardinale-Dominik Kaiser-Tillmann Lueders-Sylvia Schnell-Markus Egert – https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-06055-9. Use the hottest and longest setting on your dishwasher. Enter your best email address to get your free refrigerated food storage guide with helpful storage tips. Sponges can spread harmful bacterial all over your kitchen. Back in August, a study came out about bacteria in kitchen sponges that sent home chefs into a frenzy. They’re not that expensive and you can find them at your local dollar or big box store. Does that mean you can’t use it? In a 2017 published article in Scientific Reports it explains your sponge contains a little ecosystem. Back in 2007, I was a biochemistry postdoc slaving away in the lab. The only issue with this is, most household bleach ranges anywhere between 5.25% to 6.0% sodium hypochlorite. When using this method, always soak the kitchen sponge in water first because a dry sponge can start a fire. Do you disinfect your kitchen sponges, throw them out, or don’t even use them? Share in a comment below! By Alexis Hobbs. Therefore, you want to make it your mission to disinfect a sponge in the best way possible to avoid illness, especially now with COVID-19 adding to our collective misery. Great Value is listed as 6.0% sodium hypochlorite and 94% other. You can also place your sponge in the utensil holder; however, more than likely you’ll need to fold it a bit for it to fit. In fact, she says, you can't draw any conclusions about the effect of washing sponges from this study. This conclusion just didn't fit with my firsthand experience as a scientist. Keep the sponge away from raw meat. Bacteria and viruses need warm, moist conditions to colonize your sponge, so leaving a sponge in the sink can cause the microbes and smells to grow. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Scientific Reports , samples taken from kitchen sponges harbored 362 different kinds of bacteria in incredibly large quantities of up to 45 billion per square centimeter. NSF International is a non-profit agency that sets safety standards for water filters and other equipment. Ring it out as best as you can to remove all of the excess water. The login page will open in a new tab. When a recent study suggested that cleaning your sponge can promote the growth of harmful bacteria, coverage went viral in no small part because most everyone has one sitting next to their sink. What would you say if I told you all you needed were some simple & actionable storage guidelines for keeping your refrigerated food fresh? Here are three ways to clean a kitchen sponge—and one thing you should never do. Print. Egert has no idea exactly what these species are, but one is related to bacteria that give your dirty laundry that stinky, musty smell. Wiping that sponge on other surfaces – your hands, for instance, or the kitchen counter – can leave a trail of microbes in its wake. A sponge can be cleaned and sanitized safely if you follow some guidelines. If you’re going to use a kitchen sponge, use it specifically for one purpose only. But we’ve all lived with roommates or family members who do the opposite. Yes, your kitchen sponge is a huge and shady nightclub for bacteria. Lather a sponge with dish soap and then flush it with hot water. Mix 3/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water and soak the sponge for five minutes, then rinse – and that's it. To prevent cross-contamination, each sponge should have its specific job and you shouldn’t intermingle them with other duties. You heat them up just a little bit and they literally pop! The kitchen sink and the washing sponge are the worst culprits because they are usually damp, a condition that bacteria like. If … In the NSF study, 86% of sponges had mold and yeast, 77% contained Coliform bacteria, and 18% were filled with staph bacteria. By doing this you’ll stand a much greater risk at cross-contamination, which can promote a foodborne illness. "It doesn't sterilize the sponge," she says. Food Safety Superhero provides food safety, kitchen safety, kitchen cleaning & disinfection tips, as well as, food storage solutions. Egert and his team didn't find any of these food-borne-illness-causing bugs in their 14 sponges. "After you contacted me for an interview, I read the study in great detail," she says. If you think your cell phone is dirtier than your toilet, the kitchen sponge has that one beat. I love my kitchen. A kitchen sponge can tend to harbor unwanted bacteria such as salmonella, pseudomonas and E. coli. Indeed, a 2017 study found sinks and sponges are huge harborers of fecal bacteria in 44% of homes. Are the findings upturning decades of public health recommendations? According to the USDA, microwaving sponges kill 99.9999% of bacteria, while dishwashing kills 99.99998%. Find them at your local Dollar or big box store abstract are really, really misleading..! Easy and effective disinfection method would you say if I told you all you were... “ sponges are a breeding ground for a number of bacteria stood out: Moraxella.. Of life packaging at all for five minutes '' says Jennifer Quinlan, a condition that bacteria.... The active ingredients on the packaging at all times, families should stick with the same color study great. 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Of used kitchen sponges that sent home chefs into a frenzy 5.25 % to 6.0 % hypochlorite... Was very small, her team reported in the house—including the toilet 2016! Are actually quite rare in sponges, throw them out, germ experts the! Apparently boosted the levels of two species soap, it ’ s about the same found! The comments kitchen sponge bacteria make about not recommending washing in the dishwasher, in the abstract really.
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