The One Way To Make Your Sponge Last Longer, According to Scotch-Brite

Stinky sponge, begone!

Whether it’s scrubbing a pot or wiping off the counter, my sponge works harder in the kitchen than I do. Since I use it so much, I want it to last as long as possible. Because we use sponges to mop up so many things in the kitchen, they can teem with bacteria, including some that can make you sick. So it’s very important to keep them clean.

The key to sponge longevity is proper cleaning, says Myhanh Truong, Senior Specialist Application Engineer for 3M, maker of Scotch-Brite sponges.

“If you’re sanitizing your sponge—which you can do in the dishwasher or a boiling pot of water—it can last quite a while,” Truong says. “Also, frequently washing, rinsing, and letting your sponge dry thoroughly so it doesn't get smelly,” can help extend its life.

After you clean it, Truong says it’s important to rinse your sponge and squeeze it dry before storing it in a sink caddy or sponge holder with drainage holes to prevent water from pooling in the bottom.

<p>Simply Recipes / Adobe Stock</p>

Simply Recipes / Adobe Stock

How Often Should You Clean Your Kitchen Sponge?

There’s a good chance you aren’t cleaning your kitchen sponge often enough. Truong says you should clean it every time you use it.

“Signs that indicate the need to clean a sponge include foul smell and food residue,” she says. “Over time, sponges accumulate food particles, even with regular cleaning. It’s best to clean the sponge thoroughly after each use.”

There are a couple effective ways to clean a kitchen sponge:

  • Washing and soaking: Start by soaking your sponge in very hot, soapy water. Then pour vinegar into a bowl that’s big enough to hold the sponge. Soak your sponge in the vinegar for about five minutes. Rinse the sponge thoroughly in warm water and wring it out completely before letting it dry.

  • Dishwasher: Truong also recommends washing your sponge in the top rack of the dishwasher on the longest cycle with the highest heat dry setting. You can also wash it in your dishwasher’s sanitize cycle. Most Scotch-Brite sponges can be sanitized this way in the dishwasher 20 times or more before they need to be tossed, she says.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images</p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

Can You Clean Sponges in the Microwave?

Microwaving a sponge on high for one minute kills 99.9999 percent of bacteria, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By comparison, researchers found that dishwashing kills an almost identical 99.9998 percent of bacteria.

There’s one caveat with using the microwave with certain sponges. “It's important to note that only sponges without any metal components or scrubbing pads can be safely microwaved,” Truong says. “Sponges with metal or abrasive parts should not be microwaved.”

Because of the potential for microwaving a sponge to become a fire hazard, she recommends the dishwasher method instead.

You should replace your sponge regularly about every three weeks, or more often than that if you use it frequently, Truong says. Always replace it if it smells icky or looks damaged.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.