Updated 15 April 2013

The sponge - problems & solutions

Studies have shown that the kitchen sponge or cloth harbours the most bacteria of everything in the average home.

Kitchen sponge and dishcloth - germ traps 

Did you know that the kitchen sponge is probably the dirtiest thing in your home? Worse than the toilet seat. The sponge often gets used to clean other things, but does not often get cleaned itself. And sponges have the two things all germs love - warmth and moisture. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Most of these sponges or cloths, after only one day, have enough germs on them to make you sick. Top of the list are E.coli, and Staphylococcus aureus.

In a study conducted in the U.S, it was found that more than 70% of kitchen sponges had high bacteria levels and 38% had high levels of E.coli. Ironically, it is this very sponge or cloth that gets used to 'clean' other surfaces, but often this exercise merely serves to spread the germs around.

Keep kitchen sponges and cloths clean

Kitchen sponges and cloths should be washed regularly in warm water, but this is not enough. Some bleach, detergent or washing powder should also be added to the water. Alternatively, they can be put into the washing machine or the dishwasher. Merely rinsing them under the tap is simply not enough. 

The fact that the sponge is in the hot water of the sink daily, makes no difference – on the contrary, this water usually is not clean and adds to the problem, instead of solving it.

Handy hint:
A dry sponge can also be sterilized in the microwave in 30 seconds and a wet one in 60 seconds. Cotton dishcloths take 30 seconds when dry and three minutes when wet. 

The floor




Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Protect your skin »

Just a little weightlifting can help your heart How to handle incontinence at the gym 10 ways to keep your skin glowing with good health in 2019

Avoid germs at the gym to protect your skin

The bacteria, viruses and fungi that cause skin infections love warm, moist places like sweaty exercise equipment and locker room showers.