Your kitchen sponge is nasty and there's no good way to clean it

And researchers say there's no good way to clean it.

If you use a sponge to wash dishes, this info might make you shudder: there's likely more bacteria hiding in your sponge than in your toilet.

In fact, that sponge is probably the filthiest thing in your whole house, according to a new study published in Scientific Reports.

Researchers analyzed samples from 14 different used sponges and found 362 different types of bacteria, including some with "pathogenic potential" – aka the stuff that can cause disease in humans. 

“Despite common misconception,” the study says, “it was demonstrated that kitchen environments host more microbes than toilets.”

And there's no good way to clean them

If you're thinking, "My sponge isn't dirty because I boil it/microwave it/run it through the dishwasher" – sorry, but that's just a waste of time. Researchers say most sanitation methods are not really helping much, and might even increase the amount of bacteria.

Microwave and boiling treatments reduced a good amount of the bacterial load when tested in the lab, the study says.

But when it came to the study, the sponges that homeowners had cleaned regularly didn't have fewer microbes than the ones that weren't cleaned at all. Plus, the cleaned sponges actually tended to have more of the disease-causing bacteria.

So basically, it's unlikely you'd be able to clean a sponge as efficiently as a scientist in a clean, controlled lab. And even if you do, researchers say no method alone could reduce bacteria by more than about 60 percent.

So what are you supposed to do? If you use sponges, researchers recommend replacing them on a weekly basis.

If you don't want to throw one away every week, Huffington Post says a non-porous silicone scrubber could be a better option.

You can read the full study here.

Next Up

Cameron Champ

Final round helps Cameron Champ win 3M Open

Champ picked up his third career victory on Sunday afternoon.

Screen Shot 2021-07-25 at 1.08.41 PM

Clinton elevator fire prompts evacuation in western Minnesota

A massive blaze could be seen from far away Sunday.

Bob Motzko

Mack Motzko, son of Gophers coach Bob Motzko, dies in car crash

The crash happened late Saturday night in Orono.

police tape

Victims of triple homicide near La Crosse identified as young men

The victims are ages 24, 24 and 23, respectively.

Screen Shot 2021-07-25 at 7.26.01 AM

Dive team finds body of missing 13-year-old girl in Chanhassen lake

The girl had last been seen on a float on Lake Minnewashta.

Fairmont Raceway

MN race track under fire after announcer's racist remarks

The Fairmont Raceway voiced support for the announcer on social media.

Grayson Murray

Grayson Murray criticizes PGA Tour after pulling out of 3M Open

After withdrawing with a knee injury, Murray unloaded on his Twitter account.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Minneapolis residents will vote on replacing MPD with new public safety department

The Minneapolis City Council approved language for the ballot question Friday.


Why uncooked flour can make you sick

Researchers say last year's E. coli outbreak wasn't a fluke.

Minnesota is leading the way when it comes to clean fuel options

The state used a lot of clean energy options this year.

There's no way your backyard rink looks better than this Minnesotan's

A guy from Maple Grove has the coolest backyard rink you'll see this year.

There's no way your backyard rink looks better than this Minnesotan's

A guy from Maple Grove has the coolest backyard rink you'll see this year.

There’s new evidence about what sank the Titanic (and it’s not the iceberg)

"This isn’t a simple story of colliding with an iceberg and sinking."