This is a very hygienic way to wash dishes
(CNN) – Kitchen sponges hold high Bacteria According to researchers in Norway, this is a much healthier way to clean dishes than kitchen brushes.
“Salmonella and other bacteria grow and survive better on sponges than brushes, and everyday sponges never dry out,” said Trond Møretrø, a research scientist at the Norwegian food research institute Nofima.
“A sponge can host a greater number of bacteria than those on Earth,” says Møretrø. New studyIt was published online in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.
Although many bacteria are not harmful, he said, like salmonella, they can spread from sponges to hands, kitchen surfaces and appliances and make people sick.
“The sponge is moist and collects food debris that is contaminated with bacteria, which causes rapid growth of bacteria.”
What surprised the researchers the most in their findings was that it did not really matter how or when people cleaned their sponge.
“How consumers use their sponges is not a big deal in terms of bacterial growth. It is very difficult for consumers to prevent the growth of bacteria in sponges, unless they change them daily,” Møretrø said.
Research on used sponges and brushes is a basis Laboratory study Published by the same team of researchers last year, they found that harmful bacteria in sponges survive better than brushing their teeth.
In the United States, the Department of Agriculture He said Microwave or boiling kitchen sponges can reduce “some bacterial load”, however these measures alone are not enough to reduce your sponge cross-contamination. It is better to buy new ones often.
This study is part of a plan related to food security Retreated By the European Union.
Sponge vs. Brush
The researchers collected kitchen sponges from 20 people living in Portugal and 35 brushes and 14 sponges from people living in Norway.
An earlier study by a study team of 9,966 found that sponges were commonly used to clean kitchens. Most of the 10 European countriesBrushes were the main cleaning tool only in two countries, Norway and Denmark.
All sponges were used for washing dishes and wiping pots and utensils, and 19 out of 20 sponges in Portugal were used five or six times a week. Of the brushes collected in Norway, 35 out of 32 were used five or six times a week. Sponges collected in Norway were used sparingly.
No pathogenic bacteria were found on the brushes or sponges. However, the overall bacterial levels were lower in the brushes used than in the sponges. Similar non-pathogenic bacteria were found in two cleaning vessels.
When the researchers added Salmonella bacteria to the brushes and sponges, they found a significant reduction in the number of Salmonella in the brushes that were left to dry overnight. But there is no reduction in brushes stored in a plastic bag or sponge, regardless of storage conditions.
Owners of sponges and brushes commented on how long they used their sponge or brush and how they kept cleaning utensils clean: rinsing them in water, rinsing with soap and water, washing dishes or disinfecting with bleach.
None of these things, however, made a definitive difference, which surprised the researchers. The main conclusion of the study is that the brushes that are dried between each application contain a small number of bacteria.
“Brush dries very quickly, killing harmful bacteria. Also, unlike brushes, sponges have a handle that prevents them from coming in direct contact with harmful bacteria,” he said.
“The next time they have to change the sponge, I encourage consumers to try a brush instead.”
Kate Reese, a professor of microbiology at the University of Nottingham who is not involved in the research, said she still uses a sponge to wash dishes, while research authors recommend brush brushes on a sponge. For her, the most important thing is that it is good to dry the sponges and clothes between each use.
“The main conclusion is that there is no evidence of the presence of pathogenic bacteria in sponges or brushes taken from a variety of home systems, so there is no evidence that these products are a significant source of contamination in normal home systems,” Reese said.
“If there are some low-level pathogens in the fabric, they grow very slowly (they grow optimally at body temperature), so you would not expect to see a lot of pathogenic growth, and this is consistent with their results: in humid conditions there was limited growth, in dry conditions the numbers remained intact or diminished.” He explained.
Marcus Eckert, a microbiologist at the University of Furtwangen in Germany, who conducted similar research, said he already uses dishbrushes and washes dishes. If people want a sponge, Eckert, who is not involved in the study, recommends using a new one every two to three weeks.
“From a hygienic point of view, brushes are the best way to clean utensils. This may have been expected before, but the authors have proven it with some good experiments. However, in my experience, people prefer to use sponges.”