Kitchen Sponge Best Practices

SpongeI’m frequently unpleasantly surprised by the standard kitchen sponge practices I observe in many many kitchens. I’ve often observed risky practices at the homes of friends and family. However, more recently, I’ve witnessed these frightful practices in the office kitchen. I’ve seen poorly rinsed sponges left sitting in the bottom of a grime filled sink soaking in waste water on a daily basis. I figured I would solve the world’s sponge problems by posting some kitchen sponge best practices.

Rinse Rinse Rinse

Above all else, rinse your sponge often. Hold the sponge under running water and then squeeze, release, and repeat. Do this when you first pick up the sponge, between dirty tasks, and most of all, when you finish using the sponge. You can’t rinse too often.

Use Lots of Soap

As you’re working through tasks, add soap to your sponge often. When you re-soap your sponge, you should also rinse it thoroughly. Start by rinsing the old soap and waste from the sponge by squeezing it several times under running water. Then apply fresh soap. Squeeze the sponge a couple of times to distribute the soap. Finally, rinse it once or twice – not enough to remove the fresh soap, but enough to evenly distribute the soap through the sponge.

Put The Sponge Away When You’re Done

Before putting your sponge away, rinse it thoroughly. If you just finished a relatively dirty task, re-soap the sponge. This will clean the sponge and prep it for your next use. Never leave your sponge at the bottom of the sink. Your sponge will stay wet with waste water and grow lots of bacteria. Instead, place your sponge on the edge of the sink so it can drain and dry. A dry sponge is a safe sponge! For even better results, get a sponge basket. A basket will allow your sponge to dry quicker and more completely between uses.

Don’t Cross Your Sponges

Don’t use the same sponge for washing dishes and cleaning the toilet. A kitchen sink sponge should only be used on dishes and cleaning counters. I once saw a kitchen sink sponge used to clean cat food bowls. It was not properly rinsed. Maggots appeared in the sponge – no joke. Also, a kitchen sink sponge should also only be used in conjunction with kitchen soaps. Never use the dedicated kitchen sponge with harsh cleaners such as Lysol. You should try to limit your accidental consumption of harsh cleaners (such as Lysol) to none, mostly because it’s poison and could make you sick… or dead.

When In Doubt, Nuke

A soiled sponge will pick up a mildew smell. I have found that not everyone can smell mildew. If you smell mildew, you’ve done something wrong. Regardless of your ability to smell the mildew, sometimes you just know your sponge is risky. In these cases, toss your wet sponge in the microwave for about 2 minutes. This will destroy the bulk of any bacteria living in your sponge. Be careful when removing your sponge from the microwave, it could be pretty warm. Be sure and give it a good rinse before use.


A sponge can last an extremely long time when taken care of. If cleaned regularly, a sponge will begin to deteriorate long before it becomes too soiled to use. While obvious, the best practices listed above seem to go largely ignored by many people. Help save a life, tell other people about kitchen sponge best practices.



I am assuming you are referring to the typical, synthetic, household sponge and not an environmentally friendly, biodegradeable, non Triclosan laced aternative. If this assumption is wrong, please forgive me.

I prefer dish rags. Easily laundered in the clothes washer, easily disinfected with a little bleach in the washer, and a hot dryer is not a habitable environment for bacteria and viruses.

I’d actually love to see the carbon footprint of a rag vs. a sponge from their manufacture to demise.


I’ve used natural sponges before, but I’ve been using the synthetic type for a while – guilty as charged. I’d feel guiltier if I didn’t typically get such a long use cycle out of a sponge. The natural ones also lack that brillo padish backside. I find the rough side to be very useful. Dish soap down the drain isn’t good for the water supply, but I do typically use something like 7th generation.


Getting employees at a game studio to obey clean kitchen rules is akin to trying to end violence in the middle east.


Eeewww maggots in a sponge!!!! How could ppl not know to clean there sponges properly and to use one on the kitchen bathroom and cat dish ??? oooooo nooooo SMH super grose


We are talking about guys Vs. girls here. I’ve been leaving the sponge in the sink my whole life and have never gotten sick from it. Rarely do I catch a cold. If you injest germs your body becomes more immune. If you want to chew guys out for being guys go be a lesbian.

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