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Here are a few tricks I use to make scrubbing sponges last longer. I usually buy the big pack when they are on sale at Costco, the pack literally ends up lasting a year or more. It always feels good to save money but I love it when I can consume less and throw less into the landfills, it’s a win, win!
Cut them in half, I generally don’t use the whole surface area when I’m cleaning. I’m usually using just a corner or an end to scrub something that is stuck on. I don’t lose anything by cutting it in half. When it is time to throw it out and you will have to throw it out eventually. You will only be throwing out half the sponge at a time so you will get double the use out of each sponge.
Sanitizing instead of throwing away
Wash dirty sponges in the top rack of the dishwasher. If the scrubber part is still in good shape but it’s starting to get a little sour, just put it in the dishwasher the next time your run it. It comes out fresh and good as new.
To kill the germs you can put your sponge in a small container and fill it with boiling water. Add a tablespoon of bleach, and let it sit for 5 minutes and your sponge should be fresh and new.
Sponges can be thrown in the washer. I throw them in when I’m doing a batch of laundry that requires the hottest water and I put bleach in to kill bacteria.
Letting your sponge dry after use will help reduce the bacteria. The bacteria will flourish if it stays wet all the time, so after each use let it dry somewhere. I’ve seen pictures where people use one of the big paper binder clips. They put their sponge in it and stand it up so it dries in between uses. You can also purchase a little drying rack for your sponge. It fits in the sink so the sponge can get air and dry out in between washings.
When in doubt, throw it out
As much as we want to save the environment we also don’t want to get our family sick. Sponges are notorious for having the most bacteria per square inch than anything else in your home. Cleaning and sanitizing can lengthen the life of the sponge but eventually, it needs to be thrown out. I am the first one to try to save money and use things as long as possible but it’s not worth the risk. Especially if it’s been used to wipe raw meat juice or it sits wet in your sink constantly.
You can find products that say antimicrobial or antibacterial that say they have antimicrobial agents built into the sponge that inhibit the growth of bacteria and odor. They also say they shouldn’t be microwaved, maybe the microwave kills the antimicrobial agent? I don’t know I’ve never tried them so I can’t say either way but they have good reviews so it might be worth a try.
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