Your Kitchen Sponge Has More Pathogenic Bacteria Than Your Toilet Bowl

The kitchen sponge is one of the dirtiest things in your home. It’s way worse that the toilet bowl and trash can! And, what’s even more worrying, is that there’s no way to clean it properly! You cannot eliminate all the bacteria that threaten the human health.

Also, what you need to know is that bacteria gathers on the kitchen sponge in less than a month. Thus, changing it once a month won’t be sufficient. You need to do this once a week!

When it comes to cleaning and disinfecting sponges, we should tell you right away, this is not good for you! Namely, a study has shown that sponges that are regularly cleaned, by placing them in a microwave or immersing them in boiling water, are not any cleaner than sponges that have never been cleaned! The scientists have found that there are plenty of bacteria trapped inside the disinfected sponge, including pathogens, which can cause food poisoning, and sometimes even cholera.

According to health experts, due to the porous texture of the kitchen sponges, they are an ideal place for incubation of microorganisms. The numbers show that more than 54 billion of bacteria can incubate in a cubic inch size of the kitchen sponge, with 362 of them belonging to different species.

Scientists consider kitchen sponges to be the largest collector of active bacteria in the entire household! And, as we already mentioned, regular cleaning and disinfecting them won’t help you. On the contrary, it may only worsen the situation. Namely, cleaned sponges contain more specific and potentially pathogenic bacteria, which can survive the disinfecting process, and are rapidly multiplying to reach the same numbers as before the pre-cleaning process.

You Can Find Pathogenic Bacteria In Your Kitchen Sponge

A confocal microscopy and microbial analysis of used sponges have revealed a massive colonization by Chryseobacterium, Moraxella and Acinetobacter species. These are pathogenic bacteria which can cause meningitis and lung inflammation.

These bacteria have been identified by a DNA sequencing method on samples of 14 different kitchen sponges. The identified Moraxella osloensis is known for giving your underwear an unpleasant smell. Also, it can cause infections in people with compromised immunity. We can explain the presence of these bacteria by the unpleasant smell of dirty sponges. And, what’s interesting, is that disinfecting the sponges in a microwave does not help eliminate them. On the contrary, it makes the bacteria even more dangerous. Namely, after the heat exposure, the pathogens become more resistant and re-colonize the porous sponge, because the less harmful bacteria die. Something similar is happening in our gastrointestinal tract, after a strong therapy with antibiotics.


Another dominant bacterium that we can find inside a boiled dirty sponge is Chryseobacterium hominis, a series from the Gammaproteobacteria family. Also, present are Campylobacter, Klebsiella, Proteus, Salmonella and Staphylococcus bacteria, of the genus Enterobacter cloacae, and Escherichia coli.

So, the only thing that you can do to improve the hygiene in your kitchen is a more frequent change of the kitchen sponges. The best advice would be to change them once a week! For sure, that’s what I’ll be doing from now on!

Study: Your Kitchen Sponge Has More Germs Than Your Toilet
You’ll never do the dishes in the same way again: Study finds just a sugar-cube sized piece of kitchen sponge can contain 54 BILLION bacterial cells
Microbiome analysis and confocal microscopy of used kitchen sponges reveal massive colonization by Acinetobacter, Moraxella and Chryseobacterium species

2 thoughts on “Your Kitchen Sponge Has More Pathogenic Bacteria Than Your Toilet Bowl

  1. I wish you would come up with an alternative solution to the problem . . .like what else can we use to clean our kitchen . . .

    1. Hi Teresita, just make it a habit to change the sponge every week, and you should be fine. Hope this helps!
      Kind regards,
      Smart Living Team

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