You Use Your Kitchen Sponge Till It Shreds
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The verdict: It won't kill you, but...
That sponge sitting in your sink is germier than you might realize, according to a study in the American Journal of Infection Control, which found that squeezing out a wet kitchen sponge could leave up to a million potentially illness-causing bacteria (like salmonella and E. coli) on your hands. If you use it to clean your sink or counters—especially after you've mopped up raw meat and poultry juices and only quickly rinsed the sponge—you're just spreading those germs all over the place. Ick, right?
That doesn't mean you should never reuse a sponge. You just have to clean it thoroughly enough to zap the bacteria in it, either by running it through the dishwasher or nuking the damp sponge in the microwave on high for one to two minutes once a week, says Marianne Smith Edge, RD, senior vice president of nutrition and food-safety communications for the International Food Information Council in Washington, D.C.