Q. I read that there is a way to sterilize sponges in the microwave, but I didn’t get all the instructions. How long do they stay in the microwave?
This technique would be a lot easier for us. Currently my wife pours boiling water on the kitchen sponge every day.
A. Kitchen sponges that sit around are frequently contaminated with nasty germs that can cause illness. Your wife hit upon one way to sterilize the sponge so that wiping a counter doesn’t spread bacteria all over it.
An easier option is to wet the sponge, wring it out and nuke it for two minutes in the microwave. The heat kills the worrisome bacteria along with viruses (Journal of Environmental Health, Dec. 2006).
It is important that the sponge be damp. Soon after this recommendation was published, some people tried it without wetting the sponge. Sponges caught on fire, smelled up kitchens and ruined microwave ovens.