Caring for Your Kitchen Sponges …

Caring for your Kitchen Sponges 001

Most of us will think long and hard about the things we need to clean around our house and how we are going to do that. We think about the cleaning products we will use and the types of cloths and sponges that are going to give us the best results but do you ever give much thought to the care and maintenance of your kitchen sponges because these little “work horses” are deserving of some love and attention. As well as wiping up mess, spills and cleaning surfaces, kitchen sponges also wipe up germs and bacteria. So when one of my lovely readers asked me recently what I used and how I looked after it, I thought I would share some ideas with you all.


What do I use?


I use a number of different things. I prefer to use sponges as they are nice and compact, soft and super absorbent. This is one of those things though where I’ve always used Home Brand to save a few dollars. I’ve tested Home Brand against some of the other brands and they have performed equally as well. I, therefore, don’t feel guilty when I need to replace them because at $1.60 for a packet of 5 thin sponges or $2.49 for a packet of 4 thick sponges they are really quite cheap.

The other sponges I like to use are the yellow sponges with the green scouring pad attached on one side. The green scouring side of the sponge is abrasive without being too harsh on crockery, cutlery pots and pans.


How do I Clean my Sponges?


The first thing I do is rinse my sponges thoroughly each time I use them to rinse off all food scraps and anything that has been absorbed by the sponge. I squeeze out as much moisture as possible and then put the sponge somewhere to dry out completely. I try to avoid leaving a sponge soaked with water because bacteria loves a moist environment where it will grow and multiply quickly.

I do replace my sponges fairly regularly but the simplest way I keep them clean is to throw them in the dishwasher when I do a load of dishes. The water gets super hot so it kills any bugs or nasties and the dishwasher detergent cleans them beautifully.

Alternatively, using the microwave is a great way to clean your sponges. To disinfect my sponges in the microwave, I saturate the sponge with water (dry sponges shouldn’t be put in the microwave and could catch on fire), place it on a plate and microwave on high for 2 minutes. This is long enough to kill 99% of living bacteria. I’ve learned from experience to be careful when removing the sponge from the microwave as it will be super hot and steamy. I always allow it to completely cool before squeezing it out so I don’t burn myself or I use tongs to pick it up. If you decide to try this method, check the packaging to make sure your sponge contains no metal as that shouldn’t go in the microwave.

Another way to clean your sponges is to soak them in a solution of 1/4 cup bleach mixed with 1 litre of water for 5 – 10 minutes. Squeeze the sponge a couple of times as it’s soaking to allow the bleach to work it’s way through the sponge and then thoroughly rinse. For an environmentally friendly alternative, soak you sponges in undiluted white vinegar for 5 – 10 minutes, rinse and allow the sponge to air dry.

One thing I do avoid is using my sponges to wipe up greasy/oily spills and stains because the cloths really hang onto grease and oil. I usually wipe up these kind of spills with paper towel first and then wipe over with my sponge and hot, soapy water.

So tell me, what cloths or sponges to you prefer to use and have you ever cleaned them in the dishwasher?


  1. That’s a good tip about throwing the scourers into the dishwasher – I’ll remember that. Like you, I buy sponges in bulk and therefore buy them fairly affordably so I’m quick to throw them out and start on a new one xx

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