HomeCleaningCan You Put a Sponge in the Dishwasher? 

Can You Put a Sponge in the Dishwasher? 

Your kitchen sponge is one of the filthiest items in your entire kitchen. While it may look quite clean and in fact smell perfectly okay, it is in fact teeming with bacteria. Luckily, most of them aren’t actually all that bad for you. However, using dirty sponges can make you sick, so regularly cleaning and swapping them out is very important. 

Most people don’t use and maintain dishwashing sponges in the correct way. What we all should be doing is washing all the soap out, wringing them out completely and letting them fully dry before we use them again at the least. Ideally, we should have three or four sponges on rotation! 

What most of us end up doing is leaving the poor kitchen sponge to drown in soapy water at the bottom of the sink. 

How do you clean sponges anyway? Can you put them in the dishwasher, or will that just spread a lot of bacteria around?

Can You Put a Sponge in the Dishwasher? 

Yes, you can put a sponge in the dishwasher. If you use the longest and hottest cycle, it will get rid of over 99% of all bacteria. A regular heat-dry cycle will be perfectly fine as well. 

Washing a sponge in the dishwasher is in fact one of the recommended ways to clean it (I didn’t know that either!). The other two are washing it in hot soapy water and then microwaving it wet for two minutes, and washing it in the washing machine. 

You won’t have to worry about the sponge disintegrating in the dishwasher. As long as it’s not very old (in which case its proper place is in the bin), it will come out clean and fresh. 

How to Wash a Sponge in the Dishwasher 

Here’s how you should wash your sponge in the dishwasher:

Clean It 

You first need to make sure the sponge is free of as much leftover food as possible. Run it under warm water and get rid of the food bits and as much soap as you can. This is especially important, as you want it to be as soap-free as possible to ensure the best cleaning. If the suds take over, the dishwasher won’t be able to do its job. 

Put It in the Top Rack 

The sponge should go in the top rack of your dishwasher, where the temperature will be optimal. This is where the water is the least hot. 

Use a Hot Cycle 

Your longest and hottest cycle is the best choice for washing sponges. This will destroy most of the bacteria. You can use your regular cycle too, with the drying function. If you swap out your sponges regularly (once a week), this will do the trick. 

Dry It 

After the sponge comes out of the wash, place it on a sponge tray or in a drying rack to make sure all of the moisture evaporates. This will prevent new bacteria from choosing to build their home in it right away.

Repeat Daily 

If you are now wondering how often you should be dishwashing your sponge, the answer is every time you turn it on. This is why you will need more than one sponge in use at a time, so you can alternate between them. 

How to Clean Your Sponges 

There are of course other methods for cleaning your sponges. 

Microwave Them 

A microwave is a tiny bit more effective when it comes to killing bacteria in sponges, according to the USDA, and will get rid of up to 99.9999 percent of it. 

Before microwaving a sponge, you will need to soak and wring it out until it’s just slightly damp. Make sure to get rid of all the soap from it. Then whack it in the microwave for two minutes. You can place it either directly on the turnplate, or on a microwave-safe plate.

Keep it in a dry place after it comes out, until its next use. 

Don’t put a sponge that has any metal fibres in it in your microwave though. Metal is one of those things you should never put in a microwave.

Use Bleach 

You can of course use bleach to sanitise your sponges, but this is not quite the best method, is it? You will need to make sure you have removed 100% of the bleach from the sponge, and if you’re paranoid like me, you will never be certain you’ve achieved that. Perhaps this is a decent method of cleaning bathroom sponges?

What you need to do is pour three quarters of a cup of bleach in a gallon of water and soak your sponges in it for 5 minutes. Then rinse as thoroughly as possible. 

Wash Them in the Washing Machine 

You can also throw your sponges in the washing machine and turn on a hot cycle. Let them dry completely once they are out of their bath before you use them again. 

Wrapping It Up 

Washing your kitchen sponges in your dishwasher is a great way to sanitise and clean them. I personally wouldn’t put any bathroom sponges in there (would rather recommend the washing machine), but that’s mostly just my weird way of looking at sponges. 


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