Quick- what is the dirtiest thing in your house?
We can bet that the humble kitchen sponge is not even in the top 10 of the things that spring to mind. Your kitchen is up there with the dirtiest areas in the house. And if bacteria glowed, it would look like a UV party - guess the only kind there will be in 2020. The washing up sponge would shine the brightest.
The kitchen sponge is the working horse for cleaning up the culinary mess, spills and other dirt from around your kitchen. As a result, the most recent German study concluded that they are estimated to contain 46 billion bacteria per square centimetre, spanning 362 different species. The sheer amount had even surprised the researchers involved. That is half of what you come in contact with when kissing another person. Yikes.
But don’t proclaim the sponge as your enemy just yet. It might get dirty, but most of the bacteria pose no harm to humans. Another myth to bust is that boiling and microwaving the sponge is an acceptable way to sanitise them. The latest research found that there is no difference between sponges that are sanitised vs. those that aren't. We know bacteria multiply faster than you can sing the birthday song.
The best way to ensure safety is to simply replace your sponges regularly. A good indication of bad bacteria is a foul smell, so you know when it's time for a new one.
But that's not a fool-proof solution either. Not all sponges are created equal. The most common ones found at the supermarkets are made from nasty plastic and what happens when you frequently dispose them of? They don't get recycled and pollute our oceans for centuries. Imagine poor Nemo floating around with your year's worth of dirty kitchen sponges. In the end, it goes full circle so the microplastics end up in your food and water.
No reason to fret. We have a solution. Opt for the earth and Nemo-friendly biodegradable options below. Bonus: they all come in plastic-free packaging.
Ecovibe Biodegradable Kitchen Scourer
Tabitha Eve reusable sponge
Words by Sofya Zakharova