Sure you might lather it up nicely to clean out the sink, but in all honesty – your trusty sponge might just be the dirtiest thing in your kitchen! Or bathroom, or wherever. So, how can you tell when it’s turned from a cleaning tool to a bacteria bomb? Here’s what you need to know, courtesy of Real Simple magazine.
- The dish sponge. Toss it if it smells or has loose pieces. Dean Cliver is a professor of food safety at the University of California, Davis. And he says odor signals that food has collected and decomposed inside the sponge – yummy. And when the cleaning surface is damaged – and the sponge starts falling apart – it doesn’t absorb spills or clean effectively.
- Your kitchen counter top or bathroom cleaning sponge. These should last longer than a dish sponge because they’re generally used less frequently. So, disinfect it in the microwave – nuking it wet for one minute – between uses, and toss it when the surface becomes damaged.
- The floor mop. Replace it if it has snags or loose pieces – otherwise it’ll just push dirt around. You can extend the life span of your mop by disinfecting after each use. Soak it in a mixture of one gallon of water and 3-quarters cup bleach for 5 minutes.
- Your bath and body sponge. Get rid of shower puffs every 4 to 6 weeks – or immediately if they change color or start to smell. And natural sponges can retain moisture even if they don’t seem wet – so replace these every month. You don’t want to risk contracting a bacterial or fungal infection.