How to Clean and Sterilize a Stinky Sponge
I read in the paper today that you can sterilize your kitchen sponge in the microwave for a couple of minutes. I know after a couple of days our sponges start to stink of grease and whatever we were cooking. You think if they smell that bad, they must have some funky germs on them that you are transmitting from the sponge to the plate or pan you are cleaning.
Some researchers at the University of Florida found out by contaminating a bunch of sponges with stuff like E. coli, parasites, bacterial spores and viruses. They determined it took a full 10 minutes of micro waving to kill everything but most of the bugs were killed after just 2 minutes.
Did you know that 80 million people in America get sick from food-borne illnesses each year? And of those 9,000 die. Who knew? I know I will be nuking our kitchen sponges a little more frequently.
After posting this news item, I received a lot of emails and comments (see below) about the dangers of putting a DRY sponge in the microwave. The people who commented all said you have to WET your sponge before trying to sterilize it or you risk starting a fire or stinking up your house. Again, if you do try this yourself, make sure your sponge is very wet.
Also, remember the sponge is going to be VERY, VERY HOT so don't try grabbing it with a bare hand. Use your kitchen tongs or wait until it cools down or you risk burning your hand.
For the record, I am not recommending anybody try this at home. I was just passing on something I read in the newspaper that sounded interesting. As with any cooking utensil, cookware or cutlery, please be careful not to hurt yourself.