Germapalooza: How to Keep Kitchen Sponges Clean

What Are Common Kitchen Bacteria?

Most kitchens are swimming in bacteria, and it isn't just the kitchen sponge that's to blame. A recent survey by the Hygiene Council found that the average kitchen drain has 567,845 bacteria per square inch (second only to the toilet).

Of course, not all bacteria in the kitchen or elsewhere are dangerous -- some can even be beneficial. But MSNBC reports that the reason we worry about germs is because uncooked meats and raw fruits and vegetables can carry very dangerous pathogens, like E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter, to name a few.

So why is the kitchen such a nurturing environment for microorganisms? The introduction of raw meats and fish, along with fruit and vegetable residues, is where the problem starts.

Every time you bring home a bag of groceries and prepare a meal, you're unleashing loads of bacteria in your home. For example, if you decide to cook a chicken you'll need to clean it, cut it and cook it, and during every step of the process you could be spreading potentially dangerous pathogens all over the kitchen. If you grab a saltshaker without washing your hands, you could transfer a fresh load of bacteria onto its surface. Even when you go to wash your hands, you'll likely leave some raw chicken residue on the faucet.

Food residues adhere to your hands, hand towels, kitchen utensils and countertops; and the bacteria can survive for several hours or days. Water is the key element that enables germs to thrive and multiply, which is why the sink area is ground zero for bacteria in the kitchen. Every time you clean your countertops or wash your dishes, you are filling up the pores of the sponge with food-borne bacteria, CBS reported. And if the sponge stays wet, the bacteria could remain there for days.

Do we have your attention yet? Read on to learn some valuable tips on how to prevent bacteria from hiding in your sponge.