Yes, Your Kitchen Sponge Is Disgusting — But This Popular Cleaning Method Actually Makes It Way Grosser

Just don't do it.

You’ve probably seen some surprising stats about bacteria before. Something like “Your credit cards are dirtier than a toilet bowl,” or “your toothbrush contains up to 10 million bacteria.” People love to toss around such charming cocktail-party trivia.

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Picture above: harbingers of death.

So hey, let's add one more vile little notion to your knowledge base. Your kitchen sponge — that thing you wipe your dishes or counters with and only toss out every few months when it starts to get a super-funky smell — is, generally speaking, teeming with bacteria. Because of course it is!

And you may have also heard that microwaving those sponges is a good way to kill the bacteria that lives on them. But that’s not entirely true.

The New York Times reports that while microwaving your kitchen sponge will kill bacteria, it tends to kill only the weakest of the bunch — leaving “the strongest, smelliest, and most pathogenic bacteria” to survive. Then, as the report terrifyingly continues, “they will reproduce and occupy the vacant real estate of the dead.”

No thanks. Hard pass. Boy, bye.

Advancing the horror of all of this, a microbiologist in Germany explained that sponges contain about “the same density of bacteria you find in human stool samples." That's because sponges offer warm, wet environments — the perfect place for bacteria to grow and thrive. He suggests switching out your sponge with a new one every week or so.

So just to recap: Your sponge is a disgusting, vile thing. Microwaving it will set off a chain of bacteria Darwinism. You don't want to do that.

Replace your sponge often — or don't, but then don't expect us to come over for dinner.

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