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Health Tip: A Dirty Sponge Spreads Germs

If it smells, throw it away

(HealthDay News) -- You use your sponge to clean your kitchen, but do you clean your sponge? Without careful cleaning, a sponge can soak up bacteria and spread it around.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers these suggestions:

  • Don't reuse a sponge that has an odor, as it probably harbors bacteria.
  • Never reuse a worn sponge.
  • Clean a dirty sponge by running it through the hot cycle of your washing machine or soaking it with water and microwaving it at a high temperature for about two minutes. Never microwave a dry sponge, which could start a fire.
  • If your sponge was used to clean up after raw meat, throw it out or clean it in a diluted bleach solution (1 tablespoon of bleach added to 1 gallon of water).
  • Dish towels can harbor bacteria too. Frequently wash them in the hot cycle of your washing machine.


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