Is cleaning a kitchen sponge in the microwave a good idea? Here's another way!

The warm and humid conditions needed for germs are optimal in a sponge or kitchen cloth, which is why they need constant cleaning. Because high temperatures kill bacteria, some people suggest throwing countertop cleaners in the microwave for a quick de-germing. But we're here to debunk the idea.

Sponges are breeding grounds for germs, but cleaning them in the microwave may not be the best idea.
Sponges are breeding grounds for germs, but cleaning them in the microwave may not be the best idea.  © Unsplash/Pille R. Priske

Many people suggest giving a sponge a good reboot by heating it up in the microwave.

If only it were so simple.

Firstly, there's a risk that the cloth or sponge could catch fire if you leave it in for too long. And secondly, some of the bacteria are likely to survive their spin in the microwave.

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Germs from the cloth can then stay in the microwave and be transferred onto anything else you put in there - namely, food.

Here's another option below on an alternative to get your reusable cloths and sponges clean – and how to clean your microwave with less hassle, too.

How to clean your kitchen cloths and sponges and microwave

An easier and more environmentally friendly way to clean your microwave is as simple as using hot water and lemon.
An easier and more environmentally friendly way to clean your microwave is as simple as using hot water and lemon.  © Unsplash/Vlad Zaytsev

So what's the best way to get your kitchen cloths and sponges clean?

Wash them on a hot cycle in the washing machine. Ideally, you shouldn't wait until the cloth or sponge starts to take on any strange smells or colors.

And when it comes to cleaning the microwave itself, before you don your rubber gloves and start scrubbing the inside with a strong kitchen cleaner, take note – there is an easier, safer, and more environmentally friendly way.

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Harsh chemicals can damage the thin inside of a microwave and get into your food. Surprisingly, you are likely better off just using a simple bowl of hot water and a lemon to clean your microwave.

First, pour a small amount of water into a microwave-safe bowl or cup – you don't need a lid. Cut a lemon in half, squeeze in the juice, and add the lemon halves to the water. Then pop it in the microwave on a high setting.

As the liquid boils, it releases the lemon-filled steam. This will dissolve any gunk, germs, and old dried food, meaning you will be able to wipe it away with a clean cloth after removing the bowl.

With these handy tricks, you'll be off to a cleaner lifestyle in no time – and definitely a cleaner kitchen!

Cover photo: Collage: Unsplash/Vlad Zaytsev & Pille R. Priske

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