13 February 2006

Put sponges in the dishwasher

Olivia suggests:

Make sponges last for eons by cleaning and sterilizing in the dishwasher.  They come out super clean, last a lifetime, and work well to clean countertops with your homemade vinegar solution.

[See comments -- apparently, dishwashers may not get hot enough to kill all the germs. -- Ed.]

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Cut sponges into 2 or 3 pieces, soak in water, place in Ziploc bag, and freeze.

Then use as an ice pack for boo-boos. It's not as harshly cold as ice, and doesn't make nearly the mess if the ziploc opens.

I put sponges in the microwave and blast them for a minute.

I also use the microwave to sterilize my sponges, but it's important to remember that they need to be wet before you pop them in for a minute on high.

Cook's Illustrated did a test a couple of years ago and found that the dishwasher left the sponges teeming with bacteria, but the microwave sterilized them. If that's the sort of thing you care about. I have to admit that I don't actually wash sponges at all, just throw them away when they get ugly.

Who are we to argue with the venerable Mr. Kimball? (I'm a Cook's Illustrated reader with a soft spot for the editor.) I say sterilize 'em in the microwave, then throw 'em in the dishwasher to get 'em clean.

anyone have any tips for tweaking the dishwasher? Mine is having a real hard time, especially when the kids leave cereal to dry in the bowl.

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