How to Clean and Sanitize Your Sponges

posted by Andrea | 04/17/2012

I’ve always had mixed emotions about cleaning and re-using sponges… because they honestly kind of gross me out!

However, since I’m always looking for ways to save a little cash (and help the environment) I figured I should try reusing them… but only if I felt like I could really clean and sanitize them.

So I did a little research, and came up with three simple ways to clean and sanitize the different sponges you might have around your house.

1. Wash them with your laundry.

Throw your sponges in with your other towels and rags and wash with hot water (and a little bleach). They might be kind of hard when you take them out — especially if you dry them in the drier — but they should be clean.

Just a note, if you’re planning to wash loofas, you might want to put them in a mesh garment bag first so they don’t catch on anything else you’re washing.

2. Clean them in the dishwasher.

This is the method I use most often, just because I think about it when I’m in the middle of loading up the dishwasher. However, I did learn the hard way that if you want to wash one of those scrubbers with an attached soap dispenser, you need to remove the soap dispenser first :)

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, here’s a huge list other items you can wash in your dishwasher!

3. Sanitize them in the microwave.

Get your sponge or loofa wet and then microwave on high for 2 minutes. You obviously can’t do this with any sponge that contains metal (like our bottle brush cleaner) but it’s a really quick way to sanitize other sponges.

Also, after the sponge is sanitized, there will be quite a bit of steam and moisture in your microwave… which provides the perfect opportunity to remove some of that stuck-on gunk and debris!

Of course, it’s still easier just to use a new sponge… and eventually, you’ll have to replace your sponges as they can’t be washed indefinitely. But at least you know you CAN clean them!

Do you clean your sponges or just throw them out?

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12 comments

  1. Cheryl

    04/17/2012

    I do both depending on what I have been washing. I usually will take and put them in the dishwasher when I do a load of dishes every few days or so.

    [Reply]

  2. Maria

    04/17/2012

    Did you know you can grow loofahs? I think it’s some kind of gourd. Grow them, dry them, use them, and compost them when you’re tired of them.

    [Reply]

  3. Beth A

    04/17/2012

    I wash sponges in the dishwasher, but don’t like that they sit in there wet if I don’t empty the dishwasher right away. I’m always afraid they are breeding mold sitting in there! I like the microwave idea – kind of like killing two birds with one stone – clean the sponge, then clean the microwave! Thanks for the tip!

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  4. Nicole

    04/17/2012

    Thank you for the great tips! I’m trying to be a little {okay, a lot} more kind to the environment since I found out about cloth diapers *after* my little boy was done with diapers all together. I have polluted way too much. Time to make up for it! Thank you for the tips! I am book marking this page right now! ^_^

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  5. Heart and Haven

    04/17/2012

    I wash my pot scrubber in the dishwasher about once a week or so. Other than that, I don’t use sponges (I think they’re kinda gross). I use micro-fiber washcloths for cleaning that I can wash much more often.

    [Reply]

  6. sarah

    04/17/2012

    I must buy the cheapest sponges in bulk and have found that using the dishwasher for sanitizing them seems to be hard on them and they disintergrate faster so i pop them in the microwave with a spritz of vinegar. If they are smelling funky I’ll drop a drop of vanilla essence on them.
    In an effort to cut back on expensive paper towels I’m using those old towels that were sitting in the basement waiting for their new call of duty. They have all been cut into smaller sizes, I throw them in the machine on a super hot wash and weather permitting out on the line they go.

    [Reply]

  7. Stacey

    04/17/2012

    I’m in the camp of “sponges just really gross me out!” :) I haven’t found anything a sponge does better than a rag or dish cloth, so I just don’t buy or use them!

    [Reply]

  8. Beth

    04/17/2012

    Don’t us them or buy them. Just use rags. No money wasted and no gross-ness!

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  9. Lee Cockrum

    04/18/2012

    I have always thought sponges were gross, so don’t use them! I do use kitchen brushes, and I run them through the dishwasher.

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  10. Thrifty Mom in Boise

    04/18/2012

    I don’t use sponges but I do use those green Scotch-Brite scour pads. I run those through the dishwasher. I also put my dish drainer in there when it needs a good scrubbing.

    [Reply]

  11. Thrifty T's Treasures » Friday’s Fabulous Finds

    04/20/2012

    [...] that make 99% of all haters invisibleRachel shares 8 ways to save on medical necessitiesAndrea how to clean and sanitize your spongesTo Come Alongside by Caryn Poling Fabulous RecipesLow Sugar Strawberry Freezer JamSpaghetti [...]

  12. L.L.

    04/27/2013

    Does boiling them sanitize them?

    [Reply]

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