Does a Kitchen Sponge Have More Bacteria Than the Toilet Seat?

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Have you ever stopped to consider how many bacteria your kitchen sponge has accumulated? Are you actually washing your dishes or are just contaminating them?

A Wet Environment Breeds Bacteria

Consistently in contact with new bacterial tissues, and are one of the most popular storage of active bacteria in your whole house, and they are not even found in the bathrooms. Yes! Sponges used in the kitchen are what we’re talking about. After drain traps, the thing you use to wipe clean your dishes and pots after snacks or a meal features a massive load of coliform viruses at home. A recent research by scientists at institutions in Asia examined the role of kitchen sponges and how they gather and spread pathogens, as well as bacteria.

A Very Uncomfortable Truth

Image by – cbsnews

Essentially, one centimetre of sponge tissue contains nine or ten times more bacteria than the total number of humans currently on earth. Two centimetres of sponge tissue could contain approximately the number of humans that have been born so far.

The research shows that six of the ten most abundant varieties of bacteria recognized are classified as potential pathogens, meaning they could infect humans especially those with a weak immune system like children, sick and old people.

The truth is, cleaning your sponge tissue after use might not make it bacteria free. Research shows that three out of the ten dominant pathogens, which are related to potentially pathogenic varieties Moraxella osloensis and Chryseobacterium hominis, were found in large proportions on kitchen sponges that were regularly sanitized. It was assumed that typical sponge sanitizing techniques do not get rid of the bacteria present. The bacteria species left on the sponge, which are, for reasons unknown, more resistant to the sanitizing techniques than the ones that got killed, multiply and increase in number.

This is quite similar to the use of antibiotics, where some bacteria grow resistance to a drug and survive their attacks.

A variety of bacteria, yeast, and fungus on a kitchen sponge. Credits – bing.blogspot

Stinky smells

One of these cleaning-resistant bacteria, Chryseobacterium hominis, is a known cause of smelly or stinky laundry, which may be the reason why sponges have a bad smell after using them a while. The research also reveals that since certain bacteria increase in number after sanitizing, they also grow stronger as the sponge ages. Secondly,  researchers have also analyzed the actual pathogenicity of the sponge bacteria and compared different sponge sanitizing methods and their results. Right now, the safest option is to constantly replace your kitchen sponges. It is recommended you regularly change your “dirty old friend” every few days, especially if you work or live in an area that is hygiene-sensitive, like a cafeteria or a hospital, or if you have older or sick folks back home.

Let it go

If you are having issues letting go of your old yucky sponge, they could be used outdoor or in less hygiene-sensitive areas like the garden. Remember that it contains billions of harmful or potentially harmful bacteria that poses a serious threat to health. Let it go!

Feature image – John Voo

Kostas Deroukakis
Love to search, to try, to give, to learn. Knowledge, is the road for this achievement
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