Kitchen Sponge Bacteria is Real. Here's How to Get Rid of it.


We aren't the first people to tell your kitchen sponge is...gross

Believe it or not, there is a lot more than meets the eye with a kitchen sponge, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.


Here are three things you didn’t know about your kitchen sponge:

Your kitchen sponge is dirtier than your toilet

Earlier this year, a new study was published in the journal Scientific Reports, where over 350 different types of bacteria were found in kitchen sponges. If you compare the bacteria found in a sponge to that of a toilet, you’ll find the sponge shockingly has more. How is that possible, you might be wondering? Well, sponges are often kept moist and are designed to absorb, so they are far more likely to harbor dangerous bacteria like E. coli or salmonella (IBTimes). Also, people tend to try microwaving dirty sponges to kill bacteria, or they wait to replace them until they’re falling apart or have an odor. While microwaving a sponge can kill the weaker bacteria, the stronger/smellier bacteria will survive (NY Times). To keep bacteria away and your dishes and countertops clean, try to keep your sponges as dry as possible after using them, and replace them weekly.


Chemicals Lurking

If you purchase antibacterial or odor-destroying sponges, it’s likely they contain chemicals like “Triclosan,” an antibacterial and antifungal agent that is considered a pesticide. Not only is this chemical linked to health problems, but it is also believed to damage the environment. Believe it or not, triclosan is actually one of the most common human-made chemicals found in US waterways (Green Living Tips).


Look for “Cellulose” sponges

There are other alternatives to your typical household sponge that are equally as effective while being more eco-friendly. Next time you’re in your local grocery store, look for sponges made from cellulose. This material is either recycled or sourced from forests and is much less harmful to the environment than materials used in other sponges. Brands like twist have created various sponges that are plant-based without glues, dies, or any unnatural materials.


Ready to improve your home cleaning game? Learn about the 8 Things You're Cleaning Too Much and read The Beginner's Guide to Non-Toxic Cleaning.