Home » Blog » The Kitchen Sponge Dilemma: Disinfect Or Ditch? Keep It Safe This Way!

By: Rain City Maids
Sep 20, 2021

Should you disinfect your sponge, or should you just ditch it? After recent controversial scientific reports, homeowners started to wonder if they were disinfecting the kitchen sponge properly. 

Stop wondering about the best way to disinfect a sponge! You will learn here the most effective way to keep your household safe from a germy sponge! 

Can you sanitize a kitchen sponge? 

Yes, you can sanitize a kitchen sponge, and you should! Using a dirty sponge puts you at risk of spreading harmful germs throughout your dishes. To prevent it, sanitize it at least every other day! 

The misunderstanding comes because sanitizing a sponge doesn't necessarily mean killing every single microbe in it. There are many types of bacteria, and some of them could survive. However, to make your sponge safe, you only need to get rid of the disease-causing germs!

How to disinfect a sponge

Soapy water isn't enough to keep a kitchen sponge clean. Additional to regular use, homeowners have disinfected these useful cleaning tools for years. However, not all methods are equally effective. 

Here are some proven methods that you can use to disinfect a kitchen sponge!

Method #1. The microwave

Zapping a sponge in your microwave can eliminate the most common disease-causing germs in a kitchen! A few minutes are enough to sanitize a sponge, and it's easy enough to add it to your daily routine! 

However, you need to be careful! Check out these warnings before continuing:

  • Never use this method on a metal scrubber or any sponge with metal components.
  • Make sure the sponge is wet. Otherwise, it could catch fire!
  • Never remove the sponge right away. It could be extremely hot!

How to disinfect a kitchen sponge in the microwave:

  1. Wet the sponge and place it inside the appliance.
  2. Zap the sponge for two minutes on the highest potency. It should be enough to kill the most dangerous germs, but you can add another two minutes if you want to be sure!
  3. Leave it to cool down for 10-20 minutes. Then, remove the sponge and wring it out.
  4. Let the sponge air-dry completely.

Method #2. The dishwasher

Dishwashers offer an alternative method to disinfect your kitchen sponges, including the ones with metal scrubbers! This method is almost as effective as the microwave. However, it takes longer—you need to wait for a full cycle of your appliance. 

How to disinfect a sponge in the dishwasher:

  1. Place the sponge in the dishracks.
  2. Run a full cycle in your dishwasher. Use the hottest and longest cycle (turn off any energy-saving setting).
  3. Use the heat dry.

Method #3. Bleach solution

Chlorine bleach is one of the strongest cleaning products in most households. This chemical is harsh and needs to be handled with care. However, it's this same harshness that makes it an effective disinfectant for your kitchen sponge.

How to disinfect your sponge with bleach:

  1. Make a bleach solution by mixing one gallon of water and a ¾ cup of bleach.
  2. Soak the sponge in the bleach solution for five minutes.
  3. Take the sponge out of the solution and wring it out. Wear rubber gloves!
  4. Rinse it with plain water, wring it out again, and let it air-dry.

Can you disinfect a sponge naturally?

If you are looking for a natural and eco-friendly way to sanitize your sponge, you could use full-strength vinegar. However, note that vinegar works as a mild disinfectant and is not as effective as the previous methods!

How to disinfect a kitchen sponge using vinegar:

  1. Put the sponge in a container filled with full-strength vinegar.
  2. Wait five minutes to remove the sponge. Remember to wear gloves! Full-strength vinegar is stronger than white vinegar, and it could be harsh on your skin. 
  3. Squeeze the excess liquid. Then, rinse it with plain water and wring it out.
  4. Let the sponge air-dry completely!

Use a kitchen sponge safely: tips and recommendations!

Disinfecting your sponge at least every other day is crucial to keep germs at bay. However, you can adopt other practices that will keep everyone in your household safe! 

Here are some effective tips and recommendations for your kitchen sponge!

1. Change your dish sponge at least every other week!

Sanitizing your sponge can keep it germ-free for several days. However, sooner or later, you'll need to ditch your dish sponge. The rule of thumb is changing to a new sponge every other week.


You can use the old sponge to clean walls, the floor, or even the toilet! Sanitize the sponge, and it will be ready to tackle its new task!

2. Let the sponge air-dry after doing the dishes

A wet sponge is a perfect place for germs. You can help reduce bacterial growth by drying your sponge after using it for the dishes! Rinse it and squeeze the water. Then, leave it in a well-ventilated area until it dries completely.

3. Avoid contact with germy food residue

Some food residue is more harmful than others. For example, raw meat, eggs, and milk can be a cause of food poisoning. Avoid the contact between your sponge and the food residue associated with foodborne illnesses whenever you can! 

4. Use the sponge just for the dishes

By common sense, most people won't wipe the toilet with their kitchen sponge. On the other hand, people sometimes don't see the harm in scrubbing a table or countertop with a dish sponge.

However, to avoid cross-contamination, always use a separate sponge for every chore! Different bacteria can live in different places of your home, and you don't want to mix them up!

Alternatives to a dish sponge

After all the discussion about germs and kitchen sponges, it's normal to look for a better way to clean your dishes. And there are other ways. Here are two great alternatives you can use instead of a dish sponge.

Rely on your dishwasher

Dishwashers are a great way to keep your dishes germ-free, and they might be more water-efficient than you think! After reading so much about bacteria and kitchen sponges, maybe you want to rely more on your dishwasher! 

Use a silicone dish brush

Kitchen sponges are very porous, and that turns them into the perfect place for bacteria. However, silicone dish brushes have a smooth and impenetrable surface. However, they are as effective as a kitchen sponge. Use a silicone dish brush, and you can forget about germs! 

Learn more cleaning tips with Rain City Maids!

Besides your kitchen sponge, other places in your home could become a hotbed for germs! Learn the best techniques to keep your home spotless with our latest cleaning tips

Or, if you are busy, we can clean your home for you! Get your instant pricing by filling the form on our homepage!

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