Most of us try to get as much use out of our cleaning products as possible. Old towels become rags. Old toothbrushes become scrubbing brushes. It’s just more cost-efficient. And you can do the same with sponges. When it comes to your kitchen sponges, you can start using them in the less hygienic parts of your home, like the toilet, or in that slop sink down in the basement.
But what if you’re afraid of accidentally using a bathroom sponge on a dirty dish? Horror of horrors!
Why People Are Cutting Corners
That’s why you may have seen people cutting off the corners of their sponges. As Julie Sprankles at Apartment Therapy explains, the popular trick is simply a way to identify your “utility sponge.” She recommends storing it away from your dish sponges, too, to make sure that there’s no gross crossover.
Cutting off the corner of an old cleaning tool can also help when folding laundry. Apartment Therapy commenter AvidGardener explained: “I do this with bath towels and dish towels too. Yucky bath towels become dog bath towels, stained dish towels are cleaning rags. Cut corner makes everything clear.”
When To Toss That Old Sponge
If you’re still reading this and are wondering whether you should stop cleaning dishes with a sponge you’ve had for six months, the answer is YES! Just one cubic inch of a sponge is home to around 82 billion bacteria molecules. “That’s the same density of bacteria you can find in human stool samples,” Markus Egert, a microbiologist at the University of Furtwangen in Germany, told the New York Times. “There are probably no other places on earth with such high bacterial densities.”
That means you should aim to remove your sponge from the kitchen on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, microwaving the sponge won’t help much in this department. But hey, at least you’ll have a huge stack of general-use, three-cornered sponges if you try this trick!