Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Richard Kilgore

Kitchen Cleanup: sponges and alternatives

Recommended Posts

"We therefore rather suggest a regular (and easily affordable) replacement of kitchen sponges, for example, on a weekly basis. "

 

OK.  That did it for me.  One of the few sentences in the article I could really relate to.  Depressing as all get out.  Thanks, Lisa for posting it though.  

  • Like 1

Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to buy the biodegradable compressed sponges at Costco, I think they sell a bag with a dozen.  

However, I was in the discount FREIGHT place a few years ago and they had a box/case of the same product, really cheap so I bought that.

I think there were 500 in the box - I still have a bunch, close to a hundred, in a jumbo plastic bag.  

I use them for 2 or 3 days and toss them into the compost where they break down rapidly.

 

 

  • Like 5

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponges have been  in use by trillions and trillions of families worldwide every minute /second /hour for many many many years ------

 

How many people have died from using sponges???

 

At some point, they will say we should all stop breathing, there are germs in the air!!!!

 

dcarch

 

 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worth noting that the sponges stay moist between uses, allowing bugs to grow. The dishes that they are used on generally are dried and bug growth would be really limited.

 

Also worth noting that their method doesn't distinguish between living and dead bugs.

 

But still, the sponges are pretty dirty, aren't they.

 

This is in line with the generally lousy practices most home cooks have.  I recently was a guest at a friend's house and watched a meal being prepared by an educated and sophisticated person.  The number of clear mistakes eg putting the cooked chicken back on the unwashed raw chicken cutting board...leaving raw ground meat at room temp for a hour or two.....now add a damp dish (with sponge juices) to that ground meat and you've got a nice science experiment going.

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, gfweb said:

Worth noting that the sponges stay moist between uses, allowing bugs to grow. The dishes that they are used on generally are dried and bug growth would be really limited.

 

Also worth noting that their method doesn't distinguish between living and dead bugs.

 

But still, the sponges are pretty dirty, aren't they.

 

This is in line with the generally lousy practices most home cooks have.  I recently was a guest at a friend's house and watched a meal being prepared by an educated and sophisticated person.  The number of clear mistakes eg putting the cooked chicken back on the unwashed raw chicken cutting board...leaving raw ground meat at room temp for a hour or two.....now add a damp dish (with sponge juices) to that ground meat and you've got a nice science experiment going.

 

Did you eat the chicken?  Did you get sick?

 

If folks from Guatemala or Nicaragua or etc, etc, can drink the water and not get sick, does this not say more about us than it does about them?  


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did not get sick because I made sure it was well cooked...not an absolute guarantee of safety, but all that I could do other than feign illness which would have precluded some excellent wine.

3 hours ago, Darienne said:

Did you eat the chicken?  Did you get sick?

 

If folks from Guatemala or Nicaragua or etc, etc, can drink the water and not get sick, does this not say more about us than it does about them?  

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use sponges and paper towels.

 

1) Sponges to scrub stuck bits off of the surface.

 

2) Wipe down said surface with paper towel to remove most moisture.

 

3) Thoroughly wash hands.

 

4) Clean surface with cleaning agent (current choice is Lysol Kitchen Pro) and paper towels.

 

I also keep Clorox Anywhere handy for quick sanitizing of surfaces that have been used but show no visible soiling. My Choice. You don't have to agree.

 

 

I choose paper towels for the same reason that CA retail health codes require single use towels at hand-washing sinks, eliminates towels as a possible source of cross-contamination.

(CURFFL 114115)


Edited by Porthos Adding information (log)
  • Like 3

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, gfweb said:

Also worth noting that their method doesn't distinguish between living and dead bugs.

 

They claim that sanitized sponges have a higher load of dangerous pathogens compared to unsanitized ones and posit that the surviving bacteria rapidly recolonize the sponge, meaning at least some remain alive.

 

They don't go into the details of sanitization and I wonder if slight tweaks to the procedure would do a better job. If the entire mass of the sponge reaches 80C+, it's hard for me to imagine that much would survive that regime (I don't think there are any identified spore forming bacteria that live in sponges). I'm guessing commonly used sanitization methods leave cold spots in the sponge where enough bacteria survive to recolonize the sponge.

  • Like 4

PS: I am a guy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have rarely, in all my 78 years, had a problem with "food poisoning" from cross contamination except on one occasion when I ate a salad at the home of a Tupperware host and later learned that she had cut up a chicken and then cut the lettuce and other salad items on the same board without sanitizing it.  

Everyone in the party became ill, except for one pregnant woman who was in the stage where she couldn't stand the taste of tomatoes and onions.  That's how we knew to question the salad.

I didn't get as ill as most of the others.

I attribute this to growing up on a farm where I was exposed to a lot of pathogens.  I can remember eating a sandwiches on horseback with hands covered with horse sweat and who knows what else.

We all ate fruit without washing it.  I would pull carrots out of the ground, wipe off the dirt with a handkerchief and eat them while out in the kitchen garden.  (We used rotted chicken manure for fertilizer)

I got sick once from eating a lot of unripe plums and again from eating unripe pawpaws.  

My grandpa's cook was a fanatic about keeping the kitchen clean.  It was mopped after every meal was prepared. There was always a big pot of water boiling on the stove and dish cloths and cleaning cloths were dipped into it and wrung out constantly.  Those women had to have had hands like asbestos.  Boiling water and white vinegar was the choice for cleaning the big kitchen work table and the "counters" on the Hoosier cabinets.  And the sink was scrubbed with Fels Naptha soap.  Everything in that kitchen was CLEAN!  

 

I had this discussion some twenty years ago with a doctor who was a friend of the doc for whom I worked.  He was sitting in my office waiting for Mike to come back from surgery so they could go to lunch.

He was an infectious diseases specialist and he wondered how I had gotten through the severe flu season that year without a sniffle when everyone in the office, including my boss had suffered with it.  

I noted that I last had a severe bout with flu twenty years before - I think it was the "Swine flu" epidemic in the late '70s and since that time never had even a mild case of it.

And then I asked him about my resistance to gastric problems from food borne illnesses when others had far worse symptoms than me and often I had none at all.

He opined that I probably had a very strong immune system and that I had been exposed at the right time of life, after my immune system developed.  

He said he had come across people from other countries who had a remarkable ability to consume questionable foods and never develop symptoms.  In fact, his brother, who was an anthropologist, routinely ate and drank things in remote areas in other countries and never became ill, while he himself had problems with foods at fairs and festivals.  

  • Like 4

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@andiesenji There's a lot to be said about living an "unclean and unhealthy" childhood.

 

p

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

""   any sterilizing attempts only seem to temporarily free up sponge-space for potential pathogens, which rapidly recolonize the festering scrubber. ""

 

this suggests that new sponges are rapidly colonized

 

Ive never met a pathogen smart enough to tell the difference.

 

I use a 50 % bleach / 50 % water solution 

 

and make sure the sponge is completely saturated w this solution and microwave the solution and the saturated sponge in the microwave

 

until bubbling.    the let cool completely and carefully rinse out.

 

I have no data to suggest what this has accomplished.

 

being sterile is one thing , which last only until you touch the sponge

 

Clean Enough seems to be my goal.

 

that being said , I am not immunocompromised  etc.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Microwave 1min. every week or so, that's what I read, and seems to work well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I loathe sponges more than 'Satan!' >:(

I use cotton dish clothes and bar towels.

I wring the water out of them, fold them up, and put them in the microwave for a minute or so.

Sanitizes the hell out of them! :)

 

FWIW, I do all of my dish/pan washing by hand.

 


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
  • Like 5

~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't worry about germs in sponges (for most people). Wash it once in a while. We really need some germs to improve our health.

 

There are also studies linking sterile environment to obesity and allergies.

 

At this point, our entire concept of modern health/medical care is to create weaker and weaker humans, and nastier  and nastier germs. We spend (USA) each year $ 3,800,000,000,000.00 (nice profitable businesses) doing it. This $ does not even include all the sanitizers we use.

 

I am alarmed to find sanitizer next to office building elevator up/down buttons.

 

dcarch

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by dcarch (log)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to mention when I noted that I use the "natural compressed sponges" - I put them through the dishwasher routinely.

I load the dishwasher, use the sponge for necessary clean up, scrubbing any stains in the sink, stick the sponge in one of the saucer spaces in the upper rack and start the cycle.  

When I had the commercial dishwasher and used a lot of sponges, I put them in a mesh bag, clipped it to one of the trays that held plates, cups or ?? and started the 90  second cycle - it had a heat that boosted the temp to "sanitizing".  I then hung the bag on a hook over the sink to dry.

It has become so routine, I didn't even think about it until I ran a batch of dishes last night.  I also put my scrubbers, brushes, bottle brushes and dish mops through the dishwasher.  I use the latter on items that don't go into the dishwasher.

  • Like 3

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So about these sponges...I am prepared to use new sponges every week if that's what it takes.  This is for only our home...not for a commercial establishment.  Have to say that no one, including guests, of which there are many in the summer, has ever gotten ill in our 'germ-ridden' house. 

My question:  are we then to simply use said sponges...two a week...without attempting to cleanse them in any way during said week?  Thanks.  


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

100 ppm bleach in water in contact with the cleaned surface sanitizes the surface in 30 seconds also. With today's more concentrated bleaches that's a scant cap-full into a gallon of water.


Edited by Porthos (log)

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/5/2017 at 7:49 AM, nickrey said:

To me it supports the use of disposable towels bought as rolls that can be used and thrown out.

 

@nickrey,

Can you provide a brand name for the disposable towels you mentioned earlier in this thread?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 13/08/2017 at 7:31 AM, Jim D. said:

 

@nickrey,

Can you provide a brand name for the disposable towels you mentioned earlier in this thread?

It wouldn't be much use to you if I did as I'm in Australia.

 

Just type "disposable dish cloth roll" into Google and you'll find them near you. Professional kitchen shops sell them in large format.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponges can be so gross, but we use them anyway.  A method not mentioned yet for sanitizing those just occurred to me.  How about using your sous vide cooker?  It all comes down to time, temp and thickness.  If we're willing to trust that a significant reduction of "nasty bugs" have rendered our meat products safe enough to eat, then one might assume that the sponges have been dealt with likewise.  Drop them in the pot for an overnighter or perhaps along side those 48 hour ribs...maybe.


"Nothing is really work unless you'd rather be doing something else"

Sir James M. Barrie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something I failed to mention in my original comment up-thread is that with 2 specific exceptions all dishes and utensils go through the dishwasher. I have 2 knives that I hand-wash and that is done with paper towels. The sponge never gets near them.

  • Like 1

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found this information in google, I don't know if it s real or not: " Based on tests by the USDA, putting a sponge through an automatic dishwashing cycle removes up to 99.9998% of the original bacteria that had existed before cleaning. Similarly, a microwave kills up to 99.9999% of original bacteria. Just make sure the sponge is wet if you choose the latter!"

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...