Ask Our Expert

Q: I have always heard how dirty sponges are. Any words of wisdom on this subject?

A: 

The best way to guarantee a clean sponge is to replace it often. In the meantime: 

  • Clean your sponge daily. Simply toss in the dishwasher with a drying cycle or microwave a damp sponge for 1 minute. Studies show this will kill 99% of the bacteria, yeast and molds. 
  • Toss it out immediately if the sponge starts to smell at any time.
  • Wash off any loose food or debris and wring out your sponge after each use. Store your sponge in a dry location. 
  • Clean juices from ground beef or poultry with a paper towel or disinfectant wipe. Using a sponge can increase your chances of spreading harmful foodborne pathogens.
  • Avoid germs and bacteria found on sponges, by using a paper towel or disinfectant wipe on counters. 
  • Wash dishcloths frequently, as they can also harbor harmful bacteria. While they are less porous than sponges, dishcloths should be laundered and dried using hot water and high heat.

For more information about food safety, check out Nutrition 101 .

Have another Nutrition question? Ask our Dietitian.

Jill Kwasny

Registered Dietitian