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Signs It's Time To Throw Your Kitchen Sponge Away
Even though kitchen sponges are always covered in dish soap, it’s the perfect home for growing bacteria. It’s recommended you replace your kitchen sponge at least once a week.
While you can stretch your sponge’s life out to two weeks by regularly sanitizing it in the microwave or dishwasher, keeping it any longer can result in cross-contamination.
If you can’t tell if your sponge is dirty enough to throw out, smell it for a sour odor (similar to mildew) and see if it feels slimy. These are both signs you should throw it out.
This is why Markus Egert, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and hygiene at Furtwangen University, says any sponge used up to two weeks should be replaced.
Replacing them so frequently may seem like a waste, but it'll protect you from foodborne illnesses. You can make it easier by purchasing a large pack of cheap sponges.
The best way to sanitize your sponge and make it last longer is to put it in the dishwasher with the heated dry feature on. This will kill 99.9% of the bacteria on it.
A less effective technique is to soak the sponge in hot, soapy water and microwave it for two minutes. Ensure the sponge is completely wet so that it doesn’t catch on fire.