Saturday, June 30, 2012

Quick Hit: Disinfect Your Kitchen Sponge!

With the Canada Day/Independence Day Long Weekend upon us, cook-outs and hot weather are the order of the day. We want to enjoy the fresh food of summer, but just a quick reminder to keep things clean!

I don't think we need reminders to keep prep surfaces separate and clean when preparing raw meat, but I did want to put out a quick heads up about keeping the kitchen sponge clean as well!

Sponges are the ideal medium for bacteria, as they provide a moist environment for them to grow. Many pathogenic bugs like E. coli, Norovirus, and Salmonella have been found in significant numbers, and can be transferred to plates, utensils, and counter top surfaces.

A nice study done in the journal Food Control, compared several methods of disinfecting kitchen sponges.
These included soaking in a bleach solution, soaking in lemon juice, microwaving the sponge, or running the sponge through the dishwasher.

Only the microwave and the dishwasher significantly lowered bacterial counts in the sponge.


The simplest and most effective method is to put your damp ( a dry one might burn!) sponge into the microwave oven, and blast it on high for one minute. Another way to go is to pitch it in your dishwasher and run it through the full wash and dry cycle.

Have a great long weekend!!


  1. Hmm, I microwave it for at least 3 minutes 'coz I thought I read somewhere "to microwave it for 5 minutes" --- which I thought was too much! I might have remembered it wrong! At least I'm sure I've killed all those pathogenic bugs, right?

  2. The studies show 1 minute on high should be adequate. Otherwise, if you're worried, pitch the sponge!