Sterilizing Sponge in Microwave: Can It Kill Bacteria & Germs?

sponge in dishwasher

Some people think that sponges are only for washing dishes, but there are many other ways to use them. For example, you can use a sponge to clean the shower or bathtub. You can also use a sponge to clean the kitchen counters or the stove. Sponges are really versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks.

Even though sponges are supposed to clean your home, they are pretty dirty. Since sponges are usually wet and porous, they are a good place for bacteria like E. coli and salmonella to grow.

What do you do when the sponge is dirty? The popular ways are to clean sponges with soap, with boiling water, or by putting them in the dishwasher. After cleaning, squeeze out the excess water. Hang the sponge to dry by inserting it into a mesh bag or tying it closed with a rubber band.

While a dirty sponge may be thrown away, some people try to avoid waste by microwaving it to eliminate bacteria with heat. However, does sterilizing sponges in the microwave work? Can it kill bacteria and germs?

Yes, sterilizing a sponge in the microwave is one way to sterilize the sponge. It can kill bacteria and germs in the microwave. But there are many factors that can affect how long bacteria can live. There are some precautions and safety measures to take.

Continue reading to find out if microwaving can truly kill germs and bacteria on a sponge. In addition to that, we are going to discuss several alternatives to sponges that you may use to help cut down on waste in your home.

How Long Can Bacteria Live in a Wet Sponge?

Bacteria can live in a wet sponge for up to two weeks, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Irvine. The study found that bacteria can survive in a wet sponge by forming colonies that attach to the sponge’s surface. 

The bacteria can also produce biofilms, which are films of sticky material that protect the bacteria from drying out and from being washed away.

It is possible for kitchen sponges to harbor up to ten million bacteria per square inch. This is not surprising because sponges are formed of porous materials. This kind of material is a favorite place for germs to flourish and multiply. 

The number of bacteria that can live in a wet sponge varies according to the type of bacteria and the characteristics of the environment. Some bacteria are less susceptible to drying out and can persist for extended periods of time.

Bacteria can grow and make things smell bad, but they can also make you sick or cause other serious health problems.

Microwaving Kitchen Sponge Kill Bacteria & Germs

Put sponge in microwave for two minutes can kill germs and bacteria.

It is critical to clean your sponge on a regular basis to minimize bacteria and germ buildup and cross-contamination. As previously said, there are several methods for cleaning a sponge, but the best one is to use a microwave to kill bacteria in the sponge.

According to 2007 research by the Agricultural Research Service, which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture, microwaving a sponge eliminated 99.9 percent of germs. This result is slightly more successful than putting a sponge in the dishwasher.

Microwaving sponges (totally wet, never dry) for two minutes at high power destroyed or inactivated over 99 percent of pathogens in sponges soaking in a “witch’s brew” of fecal bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites, and bacterial spores, according to the researchers.

To sterilize a sponge in a microwave, first fill a bowl with water, then place the sponge inside the bowl. Put it in the microwave for a minute on high. Any germs on the sponge will be killed by the heat, and the steam will aid in the removal of any debris or food residue.

If you do not have a microwave, you may alternatively boil your sponge to clean it. Put water in a pot and heat it until it boils. Put the sponge in the pot and bring it to a boil for a minute. This, once again, will destroy any germs on the sponge while also removing any dirt or food residue.

Can Bacteria and Germs Survive in a Microwave?

The answer is yes, bacteria and germs can survive in a microwave. In fact, they can live in the warm, moist environment that microwaves create. 

However, the amount of time that they can survive is very short. Microwaves work by using radiation to heat up the water molecules in food. This causes the food to heat up and cook. The radiation does not actually cook the food, it just heats it up. 

Bacteria and germs need water to survive, so they will be killed by the radiation.

How Long Does It Take to Kill Bacteria and Germs in a Microwave?

When you’re cooking a meal, you probably don’t think about the germs that might be on your food. But did you know that microwaves can kill bacteria and germs on your food? According to the FDA, microwaves can kill 99.9% of harmful bacteria in just 2 minutes.

So if you’re looking to make sure your food is safe to eat, the microwave is a great option. Just make sure to cook your food for the correct amount of time—otherwise, you might not be getting the benefits of the microwave.

Best Practise To Use Sponges

When you are using a sponge, it is important to make sure that you are using it in the right way. One of the best ways to use a sponge is to wet it and then add some soap. Then, you can use the sponge to clean surfaces. Be sure to rinse the sponge off after you are done cleaning so that the soap doesn’t stay on the surface.

Below are some good tips for you to use sponges for your needs.

Clean Your Sponges Daily

You should be cleaning your sponges every day! Do you know how to clean a sponge? Here are some tips on how to clean a sponge:

1. Soak the sponge in bleach water for 5-10 minutes.

2. Rinse the sponge with warm water.

3. Squeeze the sponge out until it is mostly dry.

4. Place the sponge in the sun to dry.

5. Store the sponge in a container or bag when it is completely dry.

Do not Use Sponges to Wipe Up Meat Juices

The USDA warns against using sponges to wipe up meat juices, as the porous material can easily harbor bacteria. Instead, use a paper towel or disposable gloves. If you do happen to use a sponge, be sure to disinfect it in hot water after each use.

Do not Use Sponges on Countertops

Sponges are one of the dirtiest items in your kitchen. That’s why you should never use them to clean your countertops.

Instead, use a disinfectant cleaner or a bleach solution to wipe down your counters. This will help kill any bacteria or germs that may be on them. And be sure to rinse the counters well afterwards to remove any residue from the cleaner.

Another option is to use a paper towel. Paper towels are less likely to harbor bacteria than sponges, and they can be easily disposed of after use. So if you’re looking for a safe and effective way to clean your countertops, avoid using sponges and opt for one of these alternatives instead.

Replace Your Sponges Frequently

Most of us keep and use our sponges until they start to smell or appear unclean. Some even don’t throw out sponges until they fall apart. And some of us continue to use the same sponges for weeks or even months.

If your sponge begins to smell at any time, discard it immediately. Sponge that has lost its form and freshness should be discarded. Also, do not wait until they are completely broken before purchasing a new one.

Replace your sponges frequently. The number of bacteria on a sponge increases with time. To reduce your risk of exposure to harmful bacteria, replace your kitchen sponges at least every two weeks.

Keep Your Sponges Dry

After each usage, wring out your sponge fully and wash away any loose food or dirt.

Keep it in a dry place. Allowing your sponge to dry on a tabletop takes longer and encourages bacteria to develop. Also, avoid storing moist sponges in confined spaces such as a bucket or beneath the sink.

Alternatives to Sponges for Cleaning

There is no doubt that sponges are the easiest and cheapest thing you can use to clean your dishes or any dirty surfaces in your house. But if you look for an alternative, here are several replacements that may be more hygienic or last longer:

  • Sponge made of silicone. These are antimicrobial and do not generate microplastics. Because silicone sponges have flat, sealed surfaces, they are easy to clean. They’re also more environmentally friendly because you don’t have to replace them as frequently.
  • Handheld dish brush. Cleaning using a handheld dish brush is a breeze. This tool keeps your hands clean and dries them faster. When you buy one, look for brushes with handles made of natural materials such as finished wood or other biodegradable materials.
  • Loofah. A natural loofah is created from a cucumber gourd and can be a more eco-friendly cleaning tool than sponges or other kitchen cleaning equipment made of plastic or other manufactured materials.
  • Sea sponge. These non-abrasive eco-friendly cleaning sponges are found naturally in the water.


There are many ways to clean your dirty sponge. The popular ways are to clean sponges with soapy water, sterilize with boiling water, or by putting them in the dishwasher. After cleaning, squeeze out the excess water. Hang the sponge to dry by inserting it into a mesh bag or tying it closed with a rubber band.

Alternatively, you can microwave them on high for a minute or two. Microwaving a sponge is an effective way to kill bacteria and germs. The process is simple and only takes a few minutes. However, it is important to make sure the sponge is completely wet before microwaving in order to avoid a fire hazard.

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