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How Often Should You Really Replace Your Kitchen Sponge? The Answer May Surprise You

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Are you washing and wiping the dishes you use mindlessly every day? It’s easy to overlook the importance of regularly changing your dish sponge. However, the ice tray in your freezer could be filled with bacteria, and even your non-stick pans may not be as good for your health as you think. There are more things to pay attention to than you might assume. Let’s take a closer look at how to manage the dishes we use every day.

Massive Amounts of Bacteria in Dish Sponges

Many people use kitchen sponges for washing dishes. However, sponges are a prime breeding ground for bacteria, making them difficult to keep clean. Research shows that a staggering amount of bacteria live inside the sponge, with some studies suggesting there are as many bacteria as there are people. When these bacteria multiply, they can produce a musty smell from the sponge and even contain bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Different Sterilization Methods for Different Sponges

The sterilization method for sponges varies depending on the material. You can use baking soda and vinegar to sterilize acrylic or cotton sponges. Stainless steel sponges used for cleaning burners or grills can be disinfected by boiling in water at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) for about 10 minutes. Soaking the sponge in water and microwaving it for more than 2 minutes is also effective for sterilization. If you’re worried about sponge contamination, choose a thin sponge, as they dry faster and have less bacterial growth.

Dish Brushes Are More Hygienic than Sponges

Studies have shown that a dishbrush is more hygienic than a sponge because it dries much faster. Most dish brushes, unlike sponges, also have handles, preventing direct contact between your hand and bacteria, making them even more hygienic. If you’ve mainly used sponges, why not try a dish brush?

Ice Trays Full of Bacteria

If you reuse an ice tray without washing it, you might consume bacteria-contaminated ice. Although it’s easy to assume that bacteria can’t survive in the cold environment of a freezer, some food-poisoning bacteria can persist even at temperatures below -20 degrees Celsius. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you clean the ice tray after each use before refilling it.

Coated Frying Pan

 Are you familiar with the perfluorinated compounds in your coated frying pan? Known as compounds that never decompose, they resist heat and prevent water or oil from seeping in. However, these perfluorinated compounds can disrupt our metabolism and cause fat to accumulate in the liver, increasing the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. To avoid exposure to these compounds, check the ingredients of disposable cups and packaging containers and regularly replace your coated pans.

Cutting Board Used Directly in Cooking

To manage your cutting board hygienically and extend its lifespan, you should use a separate board for each type of ingredient. Separate boards also prevent bacteria from raw meat and seafood from cross-contaminating fruits and vegetables. Lastly, cutting boards should be replaced about once a year.

Dishcloths, a Culprit of Food Poisoning Bacteria

Kitchen dishcloths and towels are often used after rinsing with water and wringing out. However, using your towel indiscriminately can become a breeding ground for food-poisoning bacteria. It’s best to boil your kitchen towel in water for at least 10 minutes daily and use separate towels for different purposes.

Do not Put Hot Food in the Refrigerator without cooling

Hot food should be cooled to room temperature before being stored in the refrigerator. Storing warm food in the fridge uses energy to cool the food and raises the refrigerator’s internal temperature, potentially spoiling other food and items.

Be Careful When Storing Raw Meat and Fish

Leftover raw meat and seafood are often briefly stored in the refrigerator rather than the freezer. However, if stored in plastic, the tiny scratches in the plastic can allow juices from the thawing meat or fish to contaminate other food. It’s best to store these items in airtight containers or place a tray or dish underneath.

Regularly Clean Your Gas Range Hood

The hood of your gas range, the source of all contaminants, must be thoroughly cleaned. When cleaning the hood, using a flat beer can effectively remove grease. Remember, it’s important to ventilate the area while cleaning.

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