How To Disinfect A Sponge? Comprehensive Guide

7 min read

Cleaning dishes with a dirty sponge isn’t appealing to anyone, therefore we all know how important it is to do so on a regular basis. However, which approach is the most effective? Dishwasher, microwave, washer, bleach, and vinegar were all tested by the Good Housekeeping Institute in Westmont, New Jersey to see which method was the most effective at removing bacteria.

Does microwaving a sponge work?

Bacteria can be killed by microwaving a sponge.

Microwaving a sponge destroyed 99.9 percent of bacteria, according to a 2007 research from the Agricultural Research Service, a branch of the US Department of Agriculture.

How to clean a sponge and how often you should replace it

Water molecules within cells vibrate as a result of the thermal (heat) and nonthermal (nonheat) effects caused by radio-frequency waves in a microwave. Vibration generates friction, which in turn generates heat, which kills bacteria.

Additionally, more recent studies back with this approach.

For four weeks, 20 participants in a 2020 studyTrusted Source were asked to use kitchen sponges as they normally would. As part of their weekly cleaning regimen, ten of these participants were advised to microwave their sponges for at least one minute twice or three times a week.

Untreated sponges had a higher level of germs than those that had been treated with microwaves 2-3 times per week for at least one minute.

Depending on your microwave’s heating setting, you may see different results. The wattage of some microwaves may not be sufficient to eradicate bacteria fully, necessitating longer time in the oven.

How long should you use a sponge?

How long a sponge lasts depends on how frequently it is used.

If you’re using it every day, consider replacing your sponge at least once a week. Sponge used to clean raw food spills should be sterilized or replaced as soon as possible.

It is possible to replace your sponge every two weeks without substantial health risks if you sanitize your sponge on a regular basis.

Utilize your senses as well. If the following applies to your sponge:

  • appears to be soiled
  • It has a slimy texture to it.
  • stinks or has a strange odor

The Best Way to Clean a Sponge

To clean the sponge, add 3/4 cup of bleach to a gallon of water and let it soak for five minutes, then rinse. The EPA’s standard for sanitizing non-food-contact surfaces dictates that 99.9% of the three bacteria strains on the test sponges (scrub and normal cellulose) were killed by the bleach solution in testing.

But even if you clean your kitchen sponges every day, they won’t last forever. Every two to three weeks, depending on how often they are used, throw out the dirty ones and wash the clean ones.


Microwaves can successfully eliminate 99 percent of germs on your sponge, including E. Coli, according to the USDA, which recommends reheating lasagna in the microwave. To avoid damaging your microwave, make sure your kitchen cleaner is wet and free of metal filaments before putting it in. Place your sponge in a microwave-safe container and heat for four minutes. Wring out the water and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Why You Need to Say Goodbye to the Kitchen Sponge | The Amateurs Digest


Dishwashers, like microwaves, are excellent at removing germs from your sponge. To dry your sponge, simply place it in the dishwasher and select “heated dry” from the menu options. That’s it. When the dishwasher is done doing its thing, your sponge is ready to use.


A dishwasher is just as effective at removing germs from your sponge as a microwave is at heating it. In order to heat dry your sponge, simply place it in the dishwasher and select “hot dry” from the menu. That’s all. You can use your sponge as soon as the dishwasher is done with its work.

Are there any effective alternatives to sponges?

Here are some alternatives to sponges that may be more sanitary or last longer:

  • Sponge made of silicone. Antibacterial and free of microplastics are two of the advantages of these products. Cleaning silicone sponges is a breeze because to their flat, sealed surface. They’re also more environmentally friendly because they don’t need to be replaced as frequently.
  • A dish brush with a handle. Using this tool will keep your hands clean and it can be stored upright. Drying time will be sped up by this. Use natural materials like polished wood or biodegradable items for brush handles.
  • Loofah. It is possible that a natural loofah, created from a cucumber-family gourd, is a more environmentally friendly cleaning tool than sponges or other kitchen cleaning products made of plastic or other synthetic materials.
  • The sponges of the sea. Sponge-cleaning products that are environmentally friendly and non-abrasive are made from sponges that are found in the sea.

When should you just toss your sponge?

It’s time to get rid of your sponge if it starts to smell. Even if the sponge smells a little bit, it should be thrown away. Costello says, “If you can detect an odor, then it’s tainted. When is it time to replace your sponge? Use this handy guide.

When to Replace Kitchen Sponges?

If one cleaning procedure fails to remove stains or the sponge begins to smell after you’ve cleaned it recently, it’s a good idea to replace it. Even if you clean your sponge on a daily basis, you should get a new one every few weeks. If you use it frequently, you should replace it more frequently than once every “a few weeks.” Repurpose the old one by using one of the inventive ways listed below instead of tossing it in the garbage.

What to Know About Disinfecting and Cleaning Surfaces - The New York Times


In order to keep your kitchen equipment clean, you must know how to disinfect a sponge. As a result, bacteria and germs can readily spread throughout your kitchen, contaminating everything in it. The methods listed above have been proven to be the most effective for sanitizing kitchen sponges, but you can use them as you like. Maintaining a regular sponge cleaning and sanitizing routine can help keep your kitchen sanitary and clean.



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