A disturbing discovery by a group of scientists indicates your kitchen sponge may not only be dirty, but potentially dangerous.
Scientists have just made an alarming discovery for anyone who uses the same sponge over and over again in their kitchens. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, examined 14 used kitchen sponges and found that they had more bacteria than what you would find in the toilet.
They found a staggering 362 different types of bacteria, and while many are benign, many are not. Five of the 10 most commonly detected bacteria species had the potential to be pathogens, so there is some danger right on your kitchen sink.
The problem is that sponge owners aren’t changing out their sponges as often as they should. They keep them around soaking up germs for way too long.
“To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the first comprehensive, culture–independent characterization and visualization of the bacterial kitchen sponge microbiome,” the paper’s intro states. “Previously, Flores and coworkers (2013)30 analyzed a single kitchen sponge sample from Boulder in Colorado (USA), and detected 123 OTUs (of which about 20% were singletons) with a phylogenetic diversity metric (PD) of 7.88. Our dataset was based on 14 sponges separated into top and bottom parts, each, and yielded 362 OTUs in total, with an average of 31 OTUs (8–62) and an average PD of 4.28 (1.92–7.46) per sample, not including singleton OTUs. If singleton OTUs were included, the total number of OTUs would increase to 1823 and our dataset would yield an average of 96 OTUs (42–199) and an average PD of 10.06 (5.08–18.50) per sponge sample.”