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Your kitchen sponge could be the dirtiest place in your home – But what's the best way to clean it?

Netdoctor (UK) logo Netdoctor (UK) 5 days ago NetDoctor
Your kitchen sponge could be the dirtiest place in your home – But what's the best way to clean it? © deepblue4you / Getty Your kitchen sponge could be the dirtiest place in your home – But what's the best way to clean it?

If asked to guess the dirtiest place in the home, most of us would probably say the toilet. It seems like an obvious choice, but it's in fact far from the truth.

Cleaning expert, Stephanie from Expert Home Tips has discovered that the germiest item in the home isn't even in the bathroom at all, but the kitchen. It comes worryingly close to our food, and in direct contact with kitchen surfaces – the culprit? The kitchen sponge.

Often left damp, dish sponges provide an ideal breeding ground for germs.

In a study carried out by the NSF, A huge 75% of dish sponges were found to have Coliform – a family of bacteria that includes Salmonella and E.Coli.

With regards to cleaning your kitchen sponge, Stephanie says,

"One of the most common methods involves zapping your kitchen sponge in the microwave and has been shown to kill up to 99% of bacteria after 30 seconds."


Does the microwave do more harm than good?

There has recently been some dispute into the effectiveness of this method, however. Results in a recent study proved extremely contradictory, with the microwave method showing effectiveness in the laboratory, but not in used kitchen sponges.

© Provided by National magazine company ltd (Hearst UK)

The study went on to claim repeatedly sterilising your sponge could actually make matters worse, with more potentially pathogenic bacteria, like Moraxella osloensis, being found on sponges collected from people who said they routinely disinfected them.

It's clear that as far as sponges are concerned, it's best to bin them once they start to look or smell a little worse for wear. If you can't get a new one straight way, the microwave method is still valid by most. Stephanie explains how to perform it safely below:

"Place a damp sponge in the microwave, and microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Take care when removing your sponge to avoid burns. Repeat after every use to ensure your sponge stays sterile."


How to keep germs at bay

It's not the kitchen sponge alone that's guilty in our kitchen, however. The entire contents of the kitchen contribute to it being the germiest room in our home too.

Dr Lisa Ackerley explains that the high concentration of germs in our kitchen is not necessarily an indication of poor cleaning standards, but a result of the food we bring into our kitchen.

"The germs that cause the biggest problems are those that come from faecal matter, and unfortunately a lot of that finds its way into our kitchen via fields, dirty water, and the abattoir."

Dr.Ackerley explains you can never be too cautious when it comes to a clean kitchen.

"I am always asked whether we are too clean, but actually, of course we are not – 17 million people suffer from some form of tummy bug every year in the UK and more than 100 people a year die from Campylobacter, found on 65% of raw chickens sold in the UK."

There are things we can do to keep germs at bay. Stephanie advises the following to keep your kitchen as clean and safe for family members as possible.

1.Use separate chopping boards for meat and vegetables.

2.Use foot operated kitchen bins.

3.Wash kitchen towels at 60 degrees Celsius with a bleach-based laundry product.

4.Bleach chopping boards after each use.

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