How to Clean a Kitchen Sponge

Kitchen sponges are gross. They really are but they are also super handy. Oddly, they are something that I am also constantly losing. I lose them in plain sight. It makes me crazy. Generally they are in a soapy bowl or under something on my kitchen cabinet. It is critical that we know how to clean kitchen sponges. They are a vital part of most kitchens and that is why we have got to take care and keep them as clean as possible.

Let’s address the bacteria in the room.

The odds are high that you have heard about the study showing how truly icky kitchen sponges can be. Here is a link. This really freaked me out. A big deal was made out of it but then I read this NPR article and calmed down a bit. Yes, even with our best efforts some bacteria is left on a sponge but it is highly unlikely that the bacteria remaining after cleaning are going to kill us. The truth is that the idea of it is just icky.

We need to follow some sensible rules when it comes to kitchen sponges. 

  1. 1
    We should not use a kitchen sponge to clean up after raw meat. Cleaning up after meat  is a perfect use of paper towels.
  2. 2
    We should replace sponges every 1 to 2 weeks.
  3. 3
    Clean your kitchen sponges daily.

How to clean a kitchen sponge: 2 Methods

The USDA has recommended two methods for how to clean a kitchen sponge. The options that they recommend is utilizing a microwave or using your dishwasher with the dry cycle. Personally, I prefer the dishwasher method but I have used both.

How do you clean a sponge in the microwave?

Step 1:

Thoroughly rinse the kitchen sponge.

Step 2:

Place the sponge in the microwave for 1 minute.

Step 3:

Allow the sponge to cool.

Step 4:

Wring the sponge out.

How to clean a sponge in the dishwasher?

Step 1:

Thoroughly rinse the kitchen sponge.

Step 2:

Place your sponge on the top rack.

Step 3:

Run the dishwasher as normal but make sure the heated dry cycle is turned on.

Q&A

How do I clean a smelly sponge?

If your sponge smells icky, it may be time to replace it. However, it isn’t quite time to replace that kitchen sponge then here how to get rid of that smell.

Step 1:

Pour ¼ cup of water in a medium size bowl

Step 2:

Pour ¾ cup of hot water in the same bowl

Step 3:

Soak the sponge in the bowl for 2 hours

Step 4:

Remove the sponge from the bowl and place in the microwave

Step 5:

Microwave the sponge for 1 minute

Step 6:

Allow the sponge to cool

Step 7:

Wring the sponge out

How often should you change your kitchen sponge?

You should replace a kitchen sponge every 1 or 2 weeks depending upon use. Also, never use your kitchen sponge to clean up after raw meat. If your sponge came in contact with raw meat, replace it immediately.


After writing this article, I realized that I was not sure when we had last replaced my kitchen sponge. It is something that we do often but now it will be like clockwork for us because I got Alexa involved. She will remind me in one week at 3pm to replace my sponge. Oh and I just threw away our sponge and replaced it with a new. 

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