Sponges, scrub brushes, and the like are all excellent cleaning tools to keep on hand. But if you do not clean them, store them, or replace them properly, they could end up doing more harm than good. Follow these guidelines when it comes to your cleaning tools to keep them bacteria free.
What Bacteria Love
Knowledge is power. Knowing the conditions that make bacteria growth possible is one of the first lines of defense against it occurring in the first place. So, what conditions does bacteria thrive in?
Well, they love warm temperatures. 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit is the most susceptible to bacteria growth. Although some can survive within temperatures that are lower or higher than that range.
A moist environment is also key to bacteria growth. Something that your sponges, wash cloths, and scrub brushes have plenty of unfortunately.
Aside from botulism, bacteria also needs oxygen to reproduce and thrive.
And lastly, bacteria do best in neutral pH environments. There are exceptions to this depending on the type of bacteria, but as a rule this is true.
What to Do About It
Since we have already established that your cleaning tools are likely the perfect hosts for bacteria, it is important that you make it a priority to clean them regularly. What are some of the best ways to clean them in a way that rids them of bacteria?
For wash cloths, just toss them in the washer at least every other day. Make sure that you run the cycle with hot water and throw in a touch of bleach to really kill off any bacteria that is present. In addition to that, you can opt for faster drying options, like bamboo. And when cleaning up known bacteria heavy messes like meat juices, maybe opt for a paper towel instead.
As for sponges, a good rule of thumb is to replace them at least every week. Some swear by microwaving older sponges or throwing them in the dishwasher, but this can just spread bacteria and make matters worse. If you want a more sustainable option, you may want to consider a different cleaning tool option.
The most hygienic option from the ones mentioned are brushes. They are relatively easy to clean of food debris and they dry rather quickly. As far as cleaning goes, popping it on the top rack of the dishwasher, bristles up, should do the trick. Or you can let it soak in a cup of white vinegar and soap for an hour.
Of course, even wash cloths and brushes need to be retired to either the trash or floor scrubbing duty eventually. But with these guidelines in mind, you can have peace of mind knowing that when you clean the dishes or the counters, that they are really getting clean.
By Goodwyn Building 1-21-2021