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  • Writer's pictureClean Team USA

How to: Disinfect a Sponge

Sponges are a handy tool that can be used to clean various surfaces throughout your kitchen and bathroom. However, they are also notorious for harboring unwanted germs and bacteria and spreading them on surfaces throughout your home. Despite how dirty sponges can get, it’s actually extremely easy to clean your sponge! Read on for quick and easy tips on how to keep your sponge clean!

Cleaning Sponges in the Microwave

Did you know that you can use your microwave to clean and disinfect a sponge?! Yep, that’s right, your microwave!


  1. Start by making sure your sponge does not contain steel or other metals that would be hazardous if put in the microwave.

  2. Next, fill the sponge with water and set it on a microwave-safe plate. Do NOT squeeze the extra water out of the sponge.

  3. Put the plate inside the microwave and set 2 minutes on the timer, then press start.

  4. After the microwave stops simply remove the sponge and allow it to air dry.

In a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers studied the effects of disinfecting sponges in the microwave in correlation to the number of bacteria and viruses that were found on the sponge after it was thoroughly cleaned. “The results showed that two minutes in the microwave at full power killed or inactivated more than 99% of all the living germs and the bacterial spores in the sponges and pads, including E. coli. After an additional two minutes -- a total of four -- none of the bacterial spores survived.”

Cleaning Sponges in your Dishwasher

This technique hardly needs any explaining. Simply put the sponge in a secure place in your dishwasher and push start. The heat and steam from the dishwasher kills the germs on the sponge, leaving it safe for use once again.

Cleaning a Nylon Sponge

Cleaning a nylon sponge is a tad bit different as these sponges cannot withstand being cleaned using the microwave or dishwasher due to the intense heat.


  1. Add 3/4 cup of bleach and 1 gallon of water into a bucket.

  2. Place your nylon sponge into the bucket and wait 5 minutes.

  3. Rinse the sponge in clean water and set out to air dry.

Cleaning a Metal Sponge

Metal sponges or steel wool pads are great for deep cleaning, but over time, they too can accumulate dirt, grime, and harmful bacteria. Metal sponges can be cleaned and sanitized by rinsing out the sponge, then running it through your dishwasher.

How often should I Clean my Sponge?

Many individuals question just how often they should clean their sponges. The answer to this varies on how little or often you cook and use your sponges, but a good rule of thumb is to clean your sponge every other day. The better you are at keeping your sponges clean and disinfected, the longer they will last and the more money you will save!

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