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You Use A Sponge To Clean—But How Do You Clean A Sponge?

Yes, you should be cleaning your sponge regularly.
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I temporarily moved back in with my parents a few months after quarantine started. Soon after, we found our rhythm at home—and eventually, I became in charge of washing the dishes. I enjoy this chore because it’s probably the only time during the day when I don’t think about work. I let my mind wander.

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While holding a plate on one hand and a sponge in the other, I thought, god, this must be *so* dirty. And then I thought, how do you clean a sponge? You know, the thing that’s meant to be cleaning everything else in the kitchen.

Because obviously, you should. A sponge can harbor so many germs, after all.

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Thankfully, it’s actually pretty easy to clean a sponge. According to USDA’s ARS Food Technology and Safety Laboratory, heat is the answer—specifically the heat from microwaving it. Dampen the sponge, place it in the microwave, and then microwave it for at least a minute. Apparently, microwaving a sponge kills 99 percent of the bacteria on it. As for yeasts and molds, less than one percent was found after it was microwaved.

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But according to a 2017 study, bacteria that survives in the sponge might become resistant to microwaving, so to be safe, it’s better to replace your sponges weekly.

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