Housekeeping House Cleaning Cleaning Tips How to Clean and Disinfect a Kitchen Sponge If you're not cleaning your kitchen sponge regularly, you could be spreading bacteria. Learn how to disinfect a sponge using vinegar, bleach, and more. By Megan Boettcher Megan Boettcher Instagram Megan Boettcher is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing for home design, DIY, and holiday titles. Learn about BHG's Editorial Process Updated on August 10, 2022 Fact checked by Marcus Reeves Fact checked by Marcus Reeves Marcus Reeves is an experienced writer, publisher, and fact-checker. He began his writing career reporting for The Source magazine. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. His book Somebody Scream: Rap Music's Rise to Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power was nominated for a Zora Neale Hurston Award. He is an adjunct instructor at New York University, where he teaches writing and communications. Marcus received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Learn about BHG's Fact Checking Process Share Tweet Pin Email Project Overview Working Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Skill Level: Beginner Kitchen sponges play a significant role in keeping our homes clean. We rely on them for cleaning cooking essentials like pots and pans, the plates and bowls we eat from, and the counters where we prep food. So the last thing you should reach for is a germy kitchen sponge. To keep a kitchen sponge clean, aim to disinfect the sponge once a week. Image courtesy of Getty. What You'll Need Equipment / Tools Cleaning a Sponge in the Microwave Microwave Cleaning a Sponge in Boiling Water Pot Materials Cleaning a Sponge with Vinegar Vinegar Warm water Cleaning a Sponge with Bleach Bleach Water Cleaning a Sponge in the Microwave Water Cleaning a Sponge in Boiling Water Boiling water Instructions How to Clean and Disinfect a Kitchen Sponge Here are five ways to clean a kitchen sponge, including high heat, natural ingredients, and more. How to Clean a Sponge with Vinegar If you're looking for an inexpensive, non-harmful, and biodegradable disinfectant, turn to vinegar. It can be used to clean your microwave, sink drains, showerhead, and, you guessed it, your grimy kitchen sponge. Soak Sponge Soak sponge in full-strength vinegar for 5 minutes. (No need to dilute it.) Rinse and Dry Wring out the vinegar, thoroughly rinse the clean kitchen sponge in warm water, and let dry. How to Clean a Sponge with Bleach Bleach is another great option for cleaning kitchen sponges. It kills viruses, mold, and mildew, in addition to bacteria. Mix Cleaning Solution and Soak Start by mixing 3/4 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water. Soak the kitchen sponge for 5 minutes. Rinse Well Rinse well in warm water. Bleach and vinegar both have a strong odor. When cleaning with bleach, always work in a well-ventilated room. If you'd prefer to avoid these solutions, we share how to clean a kitchen sponge with heat and water next. Helen Norman How to Clean a Sponge in the Microwave The microwave is another effective way to kill bacteria in a kitchen sponge. Soak Sponge and Heat in Microwave Soak the kitchen sponge in water first because a dry sponge can start a fire. Place it in a shallow microwave-safe container. Microwave the damp kitchen sponge for 5 minutes. Cool and Wring Out Allow it to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the kitchen sponge from the microwave and wring out excess water. How to Clean a Sponge in Boiling Water Although microwaves are a popular choice for cleaning kitchen sponges, disinfecting a sponge is just as easy with boiling water. Boil Water and Add Sponge Simply boil a smelly kitchen sponge in a pot of water instead. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a pot. Place the kitchen sponge in the boiling water and let it for 5 minutes. Cool and Wring Out Allow it to cool completely in the water, then remove the kitchen sponge and wring out excess water. How to Clean a Sponge in the Dishwasher Cleaning a kitchen sponge in a dishwasher is one of the easiest solutions. Place the sponge in the top rack and run the machine through a heat-dry cycle to disinfect the sponge. The most extended, hottest cycle is most effective, but any heat-dry dishwasher setting will kill the germs in your kitchen sponge. How Often to Clean Kitchen Sponges It's important to clean kitchen sponges once a week to maintain a healthy kitchen. However, kitchen sponges should be replaced monthly, depending on their use. It's time for a new kitchen sponge if they start to look shabby or smell bad even after being disinfected.