The cleaning task you're doing wrong
THE myth that you can get rid of the germs from your beloved kitchen sponge by tossing the grubby thing into the microwave has officially been busted.
A new study in the journal Scientific Reports, conducted by a team of German researchers, has found that the methods we use to clean our kitchen sponges are all relatively ineffective in reducing bacteria.
In actual fact, the findings show that those who cleaned their sponges were no cleaner than those who had NEVER cleaned them. Just let that sink in for a moment ...
The report concluded that two of the dominant bacteria actually, "showed significantly greater proportions," in regularly sanitised sponges. So those "clean" sponges you have been wiping your kitchen down with are actually kind of gross.
Kitchen sponges in particular are known to host bacteria belonging to, "risk group 2". According to the Environmental Protection Authority these are typically associated with human disease but, "are unlikely to be a serious hazard."
The three bacteria that the researchers tested for were Acinetobacter, Moraxella and Chryseobacterium. If you have never heard of them before believe me when I tell you, it is not looking very pretty.
Chryseobacterium has been found to survive chlorine-treatment; it colonises in your sink basins and taps and creates, "a potential reservoir for infections."
"Kitchen surfaces are generally regarded as vehicles for transmission of infections and metagenome reconstruction recently retrieved pathogenicity genes - harbouring Acinetobacter baumanni genomes from kitchen counters."
The study concluded, "Kitchen sponges are likely to collect, incubate and spread bacteria from and back onto kitchen surfaces."
Before we get too carried away, try not to forget that bacteria do exist absolutely everywhere. The point being that these three particular species are not something you want to encourage to set up camp and colonise in your kitchen sponge for weeks or months at a time.
The only solution? To get a new kitchen sponge … every week. "A regular (and easily affordable) replacement of kitchen sponges, for example, on a weekly basis," the report said.