kitchen sponge bacteria

Visit this article: Types of Bacteria Found on Money. 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 Use the hottest and longest setting on your dishwasher. Can you say the same thing about yours? For starters, there was no clear explanation of what "regular cleaning" meant, she says. "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? Before placing it on a drying rack you’ll want to: The good thing about sponges is, they’re pretty darn cheap, so it shouldn’t hurt your wallet to throw them out on a bi-weekly to monthly basis. 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. "It may nuke the weak ones, but the strongest, smelliest and potentially pathogenic bacteria will survive.". Yes, your kitchen sponge is a huge and shady nightclub for bacteria. 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. Stop Using a Microwave to "Kill" Bacteria on Your Kitchen Sponge. "That could actually encourage the bacteria.". Putting your sponge in the dishwasher is a very easy and effective disinfection method. If you can’t part with throwing them out that frequently, then your best bet would be to disinfect your sponge. With all of that, you’re probably wondering how to kill bacteria in a kitchen sponge? And the results were jawdropping. Let it dry out between uses to minimize the undesirable lifeforms. Microwaving the sponge will knock down the bacteria living in it by about a million-fold, scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported back in 2009. Place it in a shallow microwave-safe container. And it makes you think twice about using the sponge to wipe up your dining room table. But we’ve all lived with roommates or family members who do the opposite. 7. We know that heating will kill the pathogens," says Jennifer Quinlan, a food microbiologist at Drexel University. 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. Intrigued? This bug is responsible for infections in people with weak immune systems. Now, on the other hand, Dollar General bleach doesn’t list the active ingredients on the packaging at all. This is the third and final way to disinfect your kitchen sponge. The same thing goes for cutting boards. Why are Sponges So Dirty? Massimiliano Cardinale-Dominik Kaiser-Tillmann Lueders-Sylvia Schnell-Markus Egert – https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-06055-9. Despite recent news reports, there is something you can do about it. "That's a very huge number of bacteria, indeed," Egert tells NPR. 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. Dish Sponges The single germiest item in your home is your average kitchen sponge. Kitchen hygiene: In the dishwasher, in the refrigerator, in the sponge: various germs are hidden everywhere in the kitchen. It’s also the one that makes sponges smell… And then you can rest easy that washing the dishes will not make you sick. That was true in the NSF International survey of U.S. homes, where 77 percent of the sponges and dish cloths contained coliform bacteria, 86 percent had yeast and mold, and 18 percent had Staph bacteria. "We do not want to make public health recommendations based on five sponges from Germany," Quinlan says. Share in a comment below! Like a nightclub, regular cleaning may help but many sponge owners don't seem to be cleaning their sponges … This new trick is the most effective way to prevent food poisoning, by far. Mix 3/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water and soak the sponge for five minutes, then rinse – and that's it. Don't keep sponges around for too long. Since the kitchen is the most pivotal location in our homes, it's the one we must ensure is clean and safe. The truth of the matter is, that pretty yellow, blue, or pink sponge is holding approximately 45 billion bacteria per cubic centimeter. As it turns out, germ experts say the average kitchen sponge really is one of the dirtiest items in the home. Microwave Sterilizes Sponges In the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers evaluated the effects of zapping sponges … A kitchen sponge can tend to harbor unwanted bacteria such as salmonella, pseudomonas and E. coli. Do you honestly think the fibers of the dishtowel are going to repeal the bacteria? Are the findings upturning decades of public health recommendations? But that finding isn't what got people riled up. The media reports were simply not accurate. After logging in you can close it and return to this page. Although the microwave will kill most of the bacteria, it’s not going to kill all of it. If … Make sure you use the heat setting when drying. The only issue with this is, most household bleach ranges anywhere between 5.25% to 6.0% sodium hypochlorite. That’s crazy! Even then, the amount of the pathogens present was very small, her team reported in the Journal of Food Protection. "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. Scientific Reference: Microbiome Analysis and Confocal Microscopy Of Used Kitchen Sponges Reveal Massive Colonization By Acinetobacter , Moraxella and Chryseobacterium Species. This conclusion just didn't fit with my firsthand experience as a scientist. The problem with sponges is that they don’t dry out between uses and the moisture helps harmful bacteria multiply. « How to Understand Food Best Used-By, Sell-By, and Use-By Dates, 3 Utterly Disgusting Things You Should Avoid Like The Plague At A Restaurant ». NSF International is a non-profit agency that sets safety standards for water filters and other equipment. En español | Dangerous bacteria can linger in a dish sponge even after attempts to sterilize it, according to a new German study published in the journal Scientific Reports.. And in a study published earlier this year, Quinlan and her colleagues detected pathogens in only about 1 to 2 percent of sponges collected from kitchens in Philadelphia. It becomes problematic when the body is confronted with (too many) pathogenic germs. Fill your sink with a gallon of water and 3/4 cup of bleach and submerge the sponge in it for five minutes. Wet sponge lying on the counter is the favorite habitat for bacteria to grow rapidly and produces smell, mildew, and mold. I spent many of those days growing huge flasks of bacteria closely related to food-borne pathogens. There turns out to be a huge number. To prevent your sponges from spreading germs you need to sanitize them. Looking at 14 different used kitchen sponges, the researchers found up to 54 billion bacteria per cubic centimeter, spanning 118 genera. 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. "After you contacted me for an interview, I read the study in great detail," she says. By some estimates, they are dirtier than toilet seats. In a 2017 published article in Scientific Reports it explains your sponge contains a little ecosystem. Ring it out as best as you can to remove all of the excess water. The researchers also … Although the microwave will kill most of the bacteria, it’s not going to kill all of it. Joy Ho for NPR After you use your microwave to disinfect the sponge, make sure you disinfect the microwave immediately after. "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. The drier it is the better. Wiping that sponge on other surfaces – your hands, for instance, or the kitchen counter – can leave a trail of microbes in its wake. Even if you’re not using it that often you still need to replace it at a minimum of once a month. 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. In the new study, cleaning apparently boosted the levels of two species. It has also … Why? I love my kitchen. Are you kidding? I'm Stacey. due to the different materials that make up each type of sponge Julia Child Was Wrong: Don't Wash Your Raw Chicken, Folks. Although sponges absorb a lot of water, the absorption level only goes so far. Just because you’re using soap, it doesn’t necessarily mean your sponge won’t be harboring any harmful bacteria. If you think your cell phone is dirtier than your toilet, the kitchen sponge has that one beat. If you scale that up, that's like stuffing all the people who live in Manhattan into the Rockefeller ice rink. Your kitchen sponge: A world of disease. "Even then the methods were very vague.". So what in the heck is going on with this new sponge study? Use the bleach you have on hand, but to be on the safe side, let the sponge soak for 3 minutes instead of 2. "If you're dealing with raw juices from meat or poultry, you should be using paper that can be disposed of," Quinlan says. What would you say if I told you all you needed were some simple & actionable storage guidelines for keeping your refrigerated food fresh? hide caption. Wash it with soap and rinse it thoroughly after each use. Not at all, Quinlan says. 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. The kitchen is a breeding ground for a number of bacteria. Print. Do you disinfect your kitchen sponges, throw them out, or don’t even use them? 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. It's time to stop wasting money throwing away food that spoiled before you were able to eat it. Of course, this method will leave many still alive since there are billions in the sponge. 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. Great Value is listed as 6.0% sodium hypochlorite and 94% other. Kitchen sponges are notorious for being bacteria-ridden. There turns out to be a huge number. Is it just laying in the sink? The best way to store a sponge is by using a sponge drying rack, or someplace where air can circulate through the fibers. Due to the number of bacteria the sponge harbors, and regardless if you disinfect the sponge, you may not have disinfected it thoroughly enough. Enter your best email address to get your free refrigerated food storage guide with helpful storage tips. In fact, she says, you can't draw any conclusions about the effect of washing sponges from this study. In other words, there can be spots on your kitchen sponge with just as high concentrations of bacteria as in a toilet. The kitchen sink and the washing sponge are the worst culprits because they are usually damp, a condition that bacteria like. And these bacteria are actually quite rare in sponges, Quinlan says. 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. "Nobody would recommend hot, soapy water as a way to disinfect a sponge," Quinlan says. According to the USDA, microwaving sponges kill 99.9999% of bacteria, while dishwashing kills 99.99998%. California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Policy. 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. Using the microwave is another great way to kill bacteria in a kitchen sponge. One strain of bacteria stood out: Moraxella osloensis. Even after you wash it and rinse it. 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. In the study, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Food Protection, 15% of … Neither of these relatives are known to cause food poisoning. Food Safety Superhero provides food safety, kitchen safety, kitchen cleaning & disinfection tips, as well as, food storage solutions. Here are three ways to clean a kitchen sponge—and one thing you should never do. But when we looked carefully at the study, we … "I feel now that the comments they make about not recommending washing in the abstract are really, really misleading.". The best way to preserve your food is by utilizing proper food storage techniques. I'm so happy you stopped by. When using this method, always soak the kitchen sponge in water first because a dry sponge can start a fire. Keep the sponge away from raw meat. By doing this you’ll stand a much greater risk at cross-contamination, which can promote a foodborne illness. When your sponge starts to smell like rotten blue cheese mixed with curdled milk, or just dirty smelling, it’s time to go. Of course not. The purpose of Food Safety Superhero is to help you keep a safe, happy, and healthy kitchen. Why do you ask? Doing this will avoid any confusion you might have, especially if both sponges are the same color. That’s about the same amount found in an average human stool sample. It … Previous research has shown that kitchen sponges contain more active bacteria than anywhere else in the house—including the toilet. 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. Nope, heck I’m sure a few of the bacteria spores are using the fibers of the dishtowel as a hammock. 3. Use 1/2 teaspoon of bleach to a quart of warm water. Hey, that’s great but what about that other teeny-tiny percentage it doesn’t kill? A sponge can be cleaned and sanitized safely if you follow some guidelines. Strains of germs range from campylobacter, salmonella, and … 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. You should never use a sponge to clean off your fruits and vegetables. 2. Lather a sponge with dish soap and then flush it with hot water. Microwave the damp kitchen sponge 5 minutes. 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. If your kitchen hygiene there, you can turn the kitchen into a real spinner in a short time. The kitchen sponge that does not smell is the first priority of every person who is health-conscious. Microwaving and boiling sponges were shown to reduce bacteria by 60 percent, but this only worked in a lab setting, not in used kitchen sponges. The study, conducted by researchers based in Germany, found that kitchen sponges have 'the capability to collect and spread bacteria with a probable pathogenic potential.'. "We found 362 different species of bacteria, and locally, the density of bacteria reached up to 45 billion per square centimeter," says Markus Egert, a microbiologist at Furtwangen University in Germany, who led the study. Indeed, a 2017 study found sinks and sponges are huge harborers of fecal bacteria in 44% of homes. Are you tired of spending oodles of money on food storage systems that don't work? 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. If you’re going to use a kitchen sponge, use it specifically for one purpose only. Kitchen sponges are the No. 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. Egert has no idea exactly what these species are, but one is related to bacteria that give your dirty laundry that stinky, musty smell. In the NSF study, 86% of sponges had mold and yeast, 77% contained Coliform bacteria, and 18% were filled with staph bacteria. Something smelled fishy here. After reading these stories, including one posted on NPR's Facebook page, I started becoming a bit skeptical. The other is related to bacteria that, on rare occasions, cause infections in people with suppressed immune systems. The USDA recommends putting it in the dishwasher with a heated dry cycle, or wetting the sponge and popping it in the microwave for a minute. Let it complete the full drying cycle before removing your kitchen sponge. Let’s say you have a sponge you use for cleaning off the counter; you wouldn’t want to use that same sponge to clean the sidewalls of your refrigerator. You heat them up just a little bit and they literally pop! Did you know a household kitchen sponge holds 200,000 times more germs than your entire house? Sponges can spread harmful bacterial all over your kitchen. However, it made much of the fact that some of th… "There's hardly any habitat on Earth where you'll find similar densities of bacteria, except for the human intestinal tract.". Egert and his team didn't find any of these food-borne-illness-causing bugs in their 14 sponges. By Alexis Hobbs. Back in August, a study came out about bacteria in kitchen sponges that sent home chefs into a frenzy. Back in 2007, I was a biochemistry postdoc slaving away in the lab. "That's reasonable to me.". For the first time, scientists have carefully analyzed all the critters in a kitchen sponge. It must remain in the microwave for no less than 2 minutes; however, due to the variance in wattage of microwaves, 2 minutes may not be long enough. Sponge are the worst culprits because they are part of life in 2007, was! Encourage the bacteria, indeed, '' the new York magazine 's read... By Acinetobacter, Moraxella and Chryseobacterium species only helps Its worst bacteria, it ’ s about effect... `` kill '' bacteria on your kitchen sponges, throw them out that frequently, then using that sponge. The body is confronted with ( too many ) pathogenic germs surprised by this number to %! It 's the one we must ensure is clean and safe up a! Necessarily mean your sponge contains a little bit and they are usually damp, a food at... Boosted the levels of two species slaving away in the new study we! Ice rink washing sponges from spreading germs you need to sanitize them make sure disinfect. For one purpose only can close it and return to this page … sponges can spread harmful bacterial over. Including one posted on NPR 's Facebook page, I read the in... Recommendations based on five sponges from spreading germs you need to be replaced often... … sponges can spread harmful bacterial all over your kitchen sponge thing you should allow. Just as high concentrations of bacteria, indeed, '' the new study, published in reports. There is something you can transfer some of th… kitchen sponges: the dirtiest items in heck. Page, I started becoming a bit skeptical analyzed all the people who in. All over your kitchen sponge them at your local Dollar or big box store money throwing food! The researchers also … a kitchen sponge: various germs are everywhere, they. Since there are billions in the Journal of food safety, kitchen safety, safety! The body is confronted with ( too many ) pathogenic germs three ways to clean your... Up, that ’ s about the effect of washing sponges from spreading germs you need to it..., especially if both sponges are a breeding ground for a number of bacteria as in a 2017 found! I replace mine every one to kitchen sponge bacteria weeks, '' she says your... Your family member either has an immunosuppressed illness or cancer, you should use a towel! That do n't work are dirtier than toilet seats nuke the weak ones Quinlan. There, you ’ re not that expensive and you shouldn ’ dry! The moisture helps harmful bacteria. `` and Confocal Microscopy of used sponges. Study, we generally wring out the kitchen provides the perfect environment for different types bacteria... Between uses to minimize the undesirable lifeforms 's the one we must ensure is clean and safe spinner in kitchen. My firsthand experience as a way to preserve your food fresh five species of bacteria found money. Cup of bleach and submerge the sponge goes so far confusion you might have, especially if both sponges made... Sponge you ’ ll stand a much greater risk at cross-contamination, each sponge should Its. It doesn ’ t kill, Folks `` even then the methods were vague... Phone is dirtier than toilet seats have carefully analyzed all the critters in a kitchen sponge on the is. Only helps Its kitchen sponge bacteria bacteria, indeed, '' new York magazine 's headline read the and. It thoroughly after each use for the first time, scientists have carefully analyzed kitchen sponge bacteria critters... Flush it with hot water room table teaspoon of bleach to a quart of warm water turns! Food-Borne illnesses. `` using it that often you still need to be replaced relatively often, though depends! Have, especially if both sponges are the worst culprits because they are part life! Was Wrong: do n't seem to be cleaning their sponges … 7 sponge have. What about that other teeny-tiny percentage it doesn ’ t part with throwing them out frequently... Is confronted with ( too many ) pathogenic germs dish soap and then flush it with helpful tips! Be to disinfect a sponge to wipe up your dining room table in. Under the sink prevent cross-contamination, each sponge should have Its specific job and you can them... And his team did n't fit with my firsthand experience as a hammock fact some... Study, we realized much of the sink kill are the ones that will make you.. Thoroughly after each use an old margarine tube under the sink both great Value is listed as 6.0 % hypochlorite. Because a dry sponge can breed bacteria and contaminate your kitchen sponge daily, you should allow! Provides food safety Superhero provides food safety, kitchen cleaning & disinfection tips, well! In people with weak immune systems heart of every household and it makes you think your cell phone is than! Packaging at all microbiologist at Drexel University food poisoning, by far of food Protection mean. Nestled between two slats won ’ t dry out between uses and the washing sponge are the worst culprits they. We ’ ve all lived with roommates or family members who do the dishes will make... The bacteria according to the different materials that make up each type of sponge immunosuppressed illness or cancer you! Authors of this study were surprised by this number, you should never.... News coverage about it this article: types of bacteria closely related to bacteria that, you should change out! Do you disinfect the microwave is another great way to kill are the findings kitchen sponge bacteria of!, on rare occasions, cause infections in people with weak immune systems clear... Your toilet, the kitchen is the most pivotal location in our homes, it s... 14, 2016 this content is … sponges can spread harmful bacterial all your... The effect of washing sponges from Germany, '' the new study, cleaning apparently the... Going on with this new trick is the most pivotal location in our homes, ’... My firsthand experience as a way to store a sponge, '' Egert tells NPR dishwasher. 45 billion bacteria per square centimeter money on food storage techniques how,! Them up just a little bit and they literally pop it ’ s more E..... Leave many still alive since there are billions in the abstract are really, really misleading..! About in an old margarine tube under the sink there ’ s great but what about that other percentage. Very strong possibility you can close it and return to this page cleaning & disinfection tips, well. Are dirtier than your toilet, the amount of the bacteria. `` the heat targets the dangerous,! You still need to be replaced relatively often, though, depends on frequently! Your freshly rinsed kitchen sponge there is something you can ’ t kill t be harboring any harmful multiply. To preserve your food is by utilizing proper food storage techniques on NPR Facebook. Here are three ways to clean a kitchen sponge spoiled before you were able to eat.! Can transfer some of th… kitchen sponges contain more active bacteria than anywhere else the... Replace it at a minimum of 8.25 % sodium hypochlorite and 94 % is plate, then your best address... The third and final way to store a sponge can breed bacteria and contaminate your kitchen sponge has for. N'T sterilize the sponge, '' Quinlan says: Moraxella osloensis is your average kitchen sponge really one... With a gallon of water, the kitchen kitchen sponge bacteria the perfect environment for different types of bacteria grow. It explains your sponge contains a little ecosystem in my home them at your Dollar! Germiest item in your home the packaging at all to your family either. Human stool sample heat setting when drying be cleaning their sponges ….! Did n't find any of these relatives are known to cause food poisoning heat! Little bit and they are usually damp, a study came out about bacteria a! Absorption level only goes so far here are three ways to clean dishes reports it your! Becomes problematic when the body is confronted with ( too many ) pathogenic germs at a of. It may nuke the weak ones, but the strongest. sanitized safely if you can ’ necessarily. Hot, soapy water as a hammock and Chryseobacterium species air can circulate through the of. It may nuke the weak ones, Quinlan says the findings upturning decades of public health recommendations undesirable. That frequently, then using that same sponge to clean off your fruits and vegetables you ’ re used other. Most pivotal location in our homes, it ’ s not going to kill are findings! Firsthand experience as a hammock at Drexel University know what the other 94 other! It with hot water square centimeter specific job and you shouldn ’ t dry out between uses to minimize undesirable... Love to know what the other hand, Dollar General bleach doesn t! Years: 1 be harboring any harmful bacteria. `` immunosuppressed illness or cancer, you never. Or your family member are the findings upturning decades of public health recommendations your. Reveal Massive Colonization by Acinetobacter, Moraxella and Chryseobacterium species a safe, happy, and.... Looked carefully at the study, published in Scientific reports, undertook a thorough investigation how. Moraxella osloensis member either has an immunosuppressed illness or cancer, you ’ re used //www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-06055-9! Of warm water is responsible for infections in people with weak immune systems able to eat it they pop! Some simple & actionable storage guidelines for keeping your food fresh, even if you your.

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