Dr. Grimes’ 20-1-7 CHALLENGE:
- For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
- Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
- Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
NUKE IT: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #15
How do you clean/sanitize the sponge that you use to clean your family’s dishes, pots & pans? Like sneakers, kitchen sponges are replaced far less frequently than recommended. When researchers check bacteria counts on kitchen sponges, the numbers are are impressive- both in restaurants and in homes. (Oct 2016, International Journal of Food Science, Microbiological Safety of Kitchen Sponges Used in Food Establishments)
It makes sense that a sponge is the ideal culture ground for bacteria, as moisture combines with tiny food particles from scrubbing. However, I’ll be the first to confess that I only recently began “nuking” our sponges, which I find to be easier to remember than tossing the sponge in the dishwasher. Interestingly, microwaving your damp sponge for 30 seconds or tossing your sponge in the dishwasher with your dishes are both more effective than using chemical sterilizers, such as bleach.
How much does sterilizing your kitchen reduce the spread of measurable disease? I wish that I had an evidence-based answer, but I do not. What I know is that the vast majority of Americans consume the highest proportion of food in their own home, and food-borne illness is extremely common. For me, cleaning the sponge (and replacing the kitchen sponge at least every other week) is a simple healthy habit, like using only dishwasher-safe cutting boards that you wash after every use.
BOTTOM LINE: This week’s challenge is to make it a daily habit to microwave your kitchen sponge for 30 seconds to reduce bacterial counts in your own kitchen.
20-1-7 Challenge Week #14: Hide It FEEDBACK: For me, placing my phone in my purse is a simple, easily sustainable, safety habit. Your car should be a texting-free zone, and driving without visible access to your own phone will make you frighteningly aware of how many drivers sharing the road with you are more interested in THEIR phones than traffic.