Inside: To reduce the growth of bacteria that is the leading cause of a smelly kitchen sponge, it’s recommended you throw your sponge out every two weeks. These 10 absolutely easy ways to clean a smelly kitchen sponge will keep your sponges smelling as fresh as the day you bought them.
Over the years I advocated against the use of kitchen sponges and refused to buy them, due to the high levels of bacteria and fecal matter they seem to attract, but then something strange happened.
I was forced to hand wash my dishes. Although this handwashing was a temporary deal, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get my dishes adequately clean with the use of my scrub brush, so off to Dollar General I went and bought myself a sponge.
I felt like a hypocrite buying the sponge, but then it dawned on me. Why was I beating myself up for buying a $2 sponge? After all, once the dishes were clean for the evening I’d clean and sanitize the sponge with plans to toss it out in a week; which I did.
Do you know what happened? I found hand washing my dishes to be therapeutic, and now, I use a kitchen sponge. Okay, germs are everywhere and we can’t live in a bubble, and at times somethings gotta give.
Recommended Reading: How To Hand Wash Dishes The Right Way
If I were a millionaire, I’d toss my sponge away after every use, but since I’m $999,000 away from hitting that goal, I’m giving myself permission to continue to use a kitchen sponge to hand wash the dishes, as long as I hold myself to my commitment to nightly cleaning, disinfecting, and discarding the sponge after one week of use.
There are two main tips every sponge user should follow
- Replace your sponge every one to two weeks.
- Make sure your sponge resides in an area that allows air to flow around the entire sponge when it’s drying.
Regardless of what method you use when disinfecting your kitchen sponge, always discard your sponge every one to two weeks. Some may feel this is a waste of money, however, most single sponges cost less than $2. If you calculate that by 14 days, it comes out to a little over .14 cents per day.
Unless it gets really gross with stuck-on cheese, flour, or peanut butter, my sponge will stay in my kitchen for a maximum of one week. If it’s too much work to remove the stuck-on goo, in the trash it goes, regardless if it’s a fresh sponge.
On every 3rd or 4th day, I’ll utilize one of the 10 methods listed below to help eliminate odors on my kitchen sponge before throwing it away.
10 ways to clean a smelly kitchen sponge
After each use, spray all sides of the sponge with an antibacterial cleaner, squish for two to three minutes, then place in a sponge drying tray. Don’t rinse the sponge out.
Soak the sponge in bleach water 1/2 teaspoon bleach to 4 cups of warm water. Let soak for three to five minutes, and rinse with hot water. Let air dry.
Drop-in a pan of boiling water (that you designate for this purpose only), add a few drops of lemon juice, and let simmer for 30 minutes
Place your sponge in a small bowl. Add ¼ cup of borax to 1 cup of hot water. Soak your sponge for 20-to-30 minutes. Rinse, then place in a sponge drying tray to dry.
Place your sponge on the top shelf of your dishwasher every time you run the dishwasher. You’ll want to use the hottest and longest setting on your dishwasher. Make sure you use the heat setting when drying. Let it complete the full drying cycle before removing your kitchen sponge.
Rinse and drain your stinky sponge. Add ¼ cup of hand sanitizer to the front and back of the sponge. Squish the sponge for 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse, then place in a sponge drying rack.
Although there is talk about microwaving a sponge, I’d highly avoid doing this, as some sponges contain metallic properties, which once heated, can spark, arch, and cause a microwave fire. If you only have 100% cellulose sponges, you can microwave them in a bowl of water for two to three minutes (based on an 1100 watt microwave), if you don’t mind a gross bacteria-laden sponge being in the same place where you heat your hot pockets.
There is also a chance your microwave will take on the odor of the sponge. If this occurs, you’ll want to place 2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar and ½ cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Set the microwave on high for 4 minutes. Keep the door shut for 15 minutes, and allow the steamed vinegar to absorb the odor. After the 15 minutes is up, wipe the entire inside of the microwave with a clean paper towel.
Did you know the sun’s UV rays attack bacteria? For this odor eliminator, you’ll want to make sure it’s a very sunny day, and your sponge has enough moisture in it for the sun’s rays to heat up the water in the sponge.
Rinse thoroughly after every use. Place in a sunny window and allow the sun to do its job by heating the sponge. This works best if you can prop the sponge up on its side or on a piece of a clean paper plate. When one side is dry, change out the paper plate or paper towel and place the dry side down, to prevent cross-contamination.
Soak your sponge in a bowl of vinegar for 10 minutes; remove and soak in a mixture of 1 cup boiling water to ¼ cup baking soda. Let soak for 10 minutes; remove and rinse with warm water.
The next time you’re washing your towels, sheets, or any other items that you’ll typically use bleach with, drop your stinky sponge in the wash. After it’s gone through the rinse cycle, place your sponge in a sponge drying rack to dry.
Regardless of which method you use to deodorize, disinfect or clean a smelly kitchen sponge, always remember to discard and replace it every one to two weeks.
Which method do you use to keep your kitchen sponge from smelling?
And how often do you throw your sponge out? Share with a comment.