What’s that smell? Yeah, that’s your sponge


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Who knew that porous cleaning aid sitting on top of your kitchen counter could be so dangerous to your health? Yes, we’re talking about the sponge — the seemingly innocent, squishy, absorbent rectangle. We often neglect it, letting it sit for days, weeks, until the smell assaults our noses. No more!

We have your sponge-cleaning guide to make sure your kitchen — and health — remains safe.

According to Home Food Safety, keeping your sponge clean and dry is key to keeping foodborne pathogens at bay. Make sure you’re cleaning your sponge daily. Either put it in the dishwasher with a drying cycle or microwave it when damp for one minute. Good Housekeeping recommends cleaning it with a bleach solution.

And if you also use a dishcloth in your kitchen, remember to wash that frequently as well.

You should also be replacing it often. Is it starting to smell? Then throw it away. But if you want to extend the life of your sponge, keep it dry by wringing it out after each use and storing it in a dry location.

And try to refrain from cleaning your countertops with a sponge, which can spread germs and bacteria to them. Use a paper towel or disinfectant wipe.

Here’s an interesting tip from Home Food Safety: Do NOT wipe up juices from meat.

It will increase your chances of spreading foodborne pathogens. Use a paper towel or disinfectant wipe instead.

So now that we know the basics of sponge care, check out these holders to help keep your sponges cleaner and dryer.


OXO Suction Sponge Holder

Price: $7.99

The OXO Steel Suction Sponge Holder is made of rust-proof anodized aluminum and fixes to sink walls with a light press. Drain holes in the base to allow excess water to drip out.



Price: $28

The Spongester, a stainless steel rack, has two shelves: one for your "good sponge" (used for countertop and dishes) and the other for your "evil sponge" (sink and drain). The Spongester was designed to prevent cross-contamination.


Umbra Foliage Sponge Holder

Price: $5

For those who desire a sponge holder with an aesthetic flair, this one has a leaf motif. A suction cup on the back of the holder secures it in place.


Simplehuman Sink Caddy

Price: $16.99

Elevated plastic dividers organize sponges separately with lots of venting holes to maximize airflow, which helps them dry quickly.