Better to toss your kitchen sponge
Contributed by Azarene Foutouhi
A study at the University of Furtwangen in Germany examined the microbial content of used kitchen sponges and found approximately 82 billion bacteria live within a mere cubic inch of space. Egert and his group identified a diverse group of bacteria comprised of 362 species living within the sponges, of which several were associated with human stool samples. The continually damp, warm conditions are ideal for the bacteria to thrive and quickly result in a smelly sponge.
Some people attempt to disinfect their sponges in an attempt to prolong their useful lifetimes, however, Egert found microwaving, cooking, or dousing sponges in vinegar or other cleansing solutions actually does more harm than good. In fact, Egert discovered that routinely ‘disinfected’ sponges tended to have the highest abundance of pathogenic bacteria, likely due to incomplete killing and recolonization by the stronger species. Egert concluded that if you can’t clean the sponge perfectly, its better to replace it often.