Ought to You Microwave A Sponge? [And How Often To]

Ought to You Microwave A Sponge? [And How Often To]

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Have you ever heard that microwaving the kitchen sponge is an effective approach to kill micro organism?  Does your sponge scent, and also you need to know if microwaving it actually works? There may be some conflicting data on this. We’ve completely investigated the subject and gathered proof about whether or not it’s best to microwave sponges, and if that’s the case, how usually to take action. Maintain studying to seek out out the reply!

Microwaving kitchen sponges, similar to cooking meals, eliminates nearly all of the pathogenic micro organism that trigger food-borne sickness in people. If you wish to hold micro organism down in your kitchen sponge, microwave it till it reaches or passes 165 levels Fahrenheit after every use.

The kitchen is a gold mine of micro organism to your sponge. However, does microwaving destroy these micro organism? A number of articles have been written on the impact microwaving has – or doesn’t have – in your sponge, however how have you learnt which one is appropriate? On this article, we’ll evaluate the analysis and provide the solutions.

A sponge with bubbles used in cleaning the black tiles, Should You Microwave A Sponge? [And How Often To]

Does Microwaving a sponge actually work?

What the Analysis Reveals

In April of 2007, the Agricultural Analysis Service of the USDA published an article about the way to clear kitchen sponges. Within the article, the analysis confirmed that microwaving kitchen sponges killed 99.9998% of micro organism. In order that appeared to be the reply to the query.

To help this idea, within the ‘Annual Summaries of Foodborne Disease Outbreaks’ in the US reported that foodborne sickness outbreaks didn’t rise however stayed between 800-900 folks per million from 2011 to 2017. This appeared to help the truth that our microwave ovens had been doing their cleansing job.

2017 New Examine

Nonetheless, on July 19, 2017, a bunch of scientists printed a brand new report concerning the microbiota on kitchen sponges, stating that sponges that had been sanitized confirmed “large colonization by Acinetobacter Moraxella and Chryseobacterium species.” They stated that of their analysis, they had been solely in a position to scale back micro organism on precise kitchen sponges by about 60%.

This report threw into query our beliefs. Did the microwave kill micro organism or not?! To make issues worse, shortly after the examine was printed, the NY Times and PBS, each respected information sources, every wrote articles based mostly on this new examine which appeared to verify the outcomes; microwaves weren’t adequate at killing micro organism.

This created additional mistrust of utilizing the microwave to disinfect the kitchen sponge.


Nonetheless, in September 2017, NPR helped dissect the examine by wanting on the testing parameters. They concluded that there was numerous deceptive data. The analysis exhibiting a 60% discount in micro organism within the earlier examine of sponges was not from having been microwaved.

It was as a result of anti-bacterial soaps had been being used to wash the sponges they used for his or her exams, not boiling or microwaving. Each boiling for five minutes and microwaving for one minute at full energy had been proven to kill the micro organism that causes folks to get sick. NPR concluded that the concern over microwaves not killing micro organism was mainly groundless.

The Prevalent Information

In reality, each the USDA examine and the examine on methods of disinfection of kitchen sponges -a publication which was really cited within the 2017 article – confirmed that microwaving sponges killed micro organism.

The USDA said that 99.9998% of micro organism had been destroyed. The disinfection report confirmed P<0.05 and -0.04 log ranges of micro organism had been destroyed – a scientific manner of claiming there was mainly zero micro organism after microwaving however leaving room for infinitesimal lab testing inaccuracy.

2020 – Right now’s Scientific Outcomes

Probably in response to the outcomes of this scientific debate, in Might 2020, two of the scientists that printed the report in 2017 printed a brand new examine particularly analyzing microwave-treated family sponges. Within the present examine, the scientists defined their thesis extra clearly and confirmed that microwaving was proven to effectively reduce micro organism.

Nonetheless, they didn’t fully recant their authentic assertion that micro organism had been prevalent in kitchen sponges. As a substitute, they defined that heating sponges to kill micro organism might choose different micro organism or organisms – not essentially harmful – which might thrive within the new setting. Their conclusion was that extra research wanted to be finished to evaluate whether or not these can be an issue for home well being.

How usually must you microwave a sponge?

Now that we’ve confirmed that microwaving your sponge is a good suggestion, that is the following query to sort out. So let’s have a look at the micro organism we need to take away.

Micro organism Varieties

In July 2020, the American Society for Microbiology printed a report exhibiting that Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus (or Staph) might final for as much as two weeks on dry sponges and towels! In response to the CDC, Salmonella and Staph are two of the 5 high germs inflicting food-borne sickness within the USA.

So microwaving your kitchen sponges is an effective approach to often eliminate these germs and micro organism. Even probably the most harmful micro organism that you would be able to get from meals – E.Coli – can’t live in temperatures above 141 levels Fahrenheit. This truth is corroborated by the ServSafe business customary for meals security preparation and holding temperatures.

So How Lengthy is Lengthy Sufficient?

To kill most food-related micro organism, the sponge wants to succeed in at the very least 165 levels Fahrenheit. The microwave can warmth liquid components to 212 levels Fahrenheit. So microwaving for about 2 minutes is normally adequate to kill micro organism. However the time it takes to succeed in this temperature might range between microwaves.

Microwave Energy

Microwaves vary from 600-1200 watts. Smaller microwaves are normally decrease wattage, and bigger ones are increased. The ability – or wattage – of your microwave will decide how lengthy that you must go away the sponge in to succeed in at the very least 165 levels Fahrenheit – the minimal temperature wanted to kill dangerous micro organism.

Time to Boil Take a look at

To test the facility of your microwave, the USDA website recommends utilizing a ‘Time To Boil Take a look at.” Begin with one cup of ice chilly water – no precise ice cubes – and set your microwave on for 4 minutes.

Watch to see when the water boils:

  • In 2 minutes, your microwave is 1000 watts or extra
  • In 2-1/2 minutes, your microwave is 800 watts or extra
  • In 3 minutes, common 650-700 watts
  • In 3 to 4 minutes, it’s 300-500 watts

Use this “Time to Boil Take a look at” to find out how lengthy that you must microwave sponges in your microwave to succeed in at the very least 165 levels Fahrenheit.

How do you clear a sponge within the microwave?

Utilizing the above check, you’ll be able to simply clear your sponge within the microwave, simply use the next steps:

  • Wash grease and oil out of the sponge with sizzling, soapy water
  • Rinse and squeeze the sponge 3-4 occasions in clear water
  • Put the sponge within the microwave, and warmth on excessive for two minutes –longer for decrease wattage microwaves; use the above desk
  • Permit the sponge to chill earlier than touching, roughly 5-10 minutes
  • Take away from microwave, rinse and squeeze once more fully
  • Repeat if wanted

A woman taking out a blue scotch brite sponge out of the oven

All the time permit the sponge to chill after microwaving; use a pair of tongs as an alternative of your fingers.

Are you able to microwave sponges with scrubbers?

You may completely microwave sponges with scrubbers if the scrubber shouldn’t be produced from metallic and/or if it doesn’t have any metallic attachments. The scrubber is made to resist as a lot warmth because the sponge. By no means microwave metallic scrubbers corresponding to S.O.S. or metallic scouring pads.

Scotch brite steel wool dishwashing sponge

By no means microwave metallic sponges or sponges containing metallic. Examine the packaging if you’re not sure.

Is Scotch Brite Microwave protected?

A preferred sponge scrubber is Scotch Brite by 3M, and their web site states that cleansing might be finished by operating the sponge via a dishwasher– which might run at temperatures of 180 levels Fahrenheit.

Because the microwave can attain a better temperature, that you must bear in mind a couple of guidelines for security:

  • Learn your microwave directions for proper use.
  • By no means warmth the sponge till it’s dried; dried supplies will proceed to warmth and will burst into flames.
  • By no means go away a sponge unattended in a microwave oven whereas heating.

A scotch brite dishwashing sponge

Scotch-Brite is a well-liked sponge made by 3M; it’s protected to microwave if fastidiously monitored.

In Closing

Now that regardless of conflicting studies, you actually ought to microwave your sponge. To maintain it the cleanest it may be, the very best rule is to microwave it after each use and to make it possible for it reaches 165 levels Fahrenheit.

Examine the facility of your microwave, and use the ‘Time To Boil Take a look at” to find out how lengthy that you must microwave your sponge in your microwave. Learn your microwave directions, and monitor your sponge whereas microwaving for security. And by no means take it out with naked fingers, it should most certainly be at boiling temperature. Look forward to it to chill, and use tongs for the removing.

And the following time you hear that microwaving your sponge doesn’t kill micro organism, you’ll be able to consult with the numerous research cited on this article!

For extra recommendations on kitchen well being and security, learn the next:

Does A Wood Cutting Board Hold Bacteria?

How Often Should You Sweep And Mop The Kitchen Floor?

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