Once again, it’s time to reach into my inbox and pull out a handful of questions from you my dear readers. Every day I get questions galore, great stories, lots of love, and tons of encouragement. Please, never stop writing to me!
While I do read every message, I simply cannot respond to all of them. And honestly, I don’t have specific criteria for which questions to answer in posts like this.
Generally, I select questions with universal appeal and a high likelihood that others have the same or similar questions. And here’s a hint: Well-written, complete messages with a clear situation and question get special consideration.
Here is a quick summary of the questions I’ll answer in today’s post. You can click on one to go straight to it, or just scroll down to read all. Enjoy!
Dear Mary: I was wondering if you had a quick and easy way to keep the dish scrubbers—like ScotchBrite with a sponge on one side attached to a pad for scrubbing pans on the other side—from smelling like mildew.
Mine is fine for a few days and then starts smelling. I try to run it in the dishwasher, but don’t always remember. I sometimes spray it with bleach and let it sit for a minute or two before rinsing, and that seems to work, but I was wondering if there was a better way. I tried microwaving a wet sponge, and that just created a hot smelly sponge. Bronson
Dear Bronson: First, let me congratulate you on discovering a popular cleaning hack that doesn’t work—sponges in the microwave. The theory is that high heat kills most bacteria. However, the amount of time needed in a microwave to reach the desired temperature to kill the bacteria and mildew harbored in the center of a sponge will result in a flaming, incinerated sponge. As reported in The New York Times citing this study, nuked sponges still harbor about 40% of their bacteria, some of which can be life-threatening.
Putting that kitchen sponge in the dishwasher daily, or as often as you run a load of dishes, is a better solution. The heat and detergent are sufficient to kill bacteria and mildew.
I’m going to assume that you use one sponge at a time, and that may be the problem. Let me suggest you have at least two sponges going. This way, one will always be available to wipe the counter and so forth, while the other is getting sanitized in the dishwasher. Do this without fail for a couple of weeks and soon it’ll become a habit.
All that being said, a better choice is to use cotton or microfiber cloths that can be tossed in the washer after every use.