Believe it or not, the dirtiest place in your workplace isn’t in your bathrooms. In fact, its in your hands every time you clean up after lunch. That’s right, the dirtiest surface in your workplace is your break room’s dish sponge.
With over 10 million bacteria per square inch, the average dish sponge is teeming with germs. Sponges are warm, wet, and filled with bits of old food. This makes sponges the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, many of which are dangerous. In fact, a number of the most common bacteria in dish sponges can easily trigger a bout of food poisoning.
Thankfully, there are two easy ways to eliminate germs in dish sponges. Below, we’ve detailed those methods along with some precautions you can take to limit your risk of germ transfer when cleaning up in the break room.
Two Ways to Disinfect Sponges
There are two common methods used for disinfecting sponges: microwaving them and disinfecting them with bleach.
- Microwave Method. You can eliminate germs in any sponge by zapping it before or after cleaning in your office microwave. The microwave will cause the moisture in the sponge to boil and evaporate, eliminating germs at the same time. If you’re using this method, it’s important to microwave the sponge until it’s completely dry. Otherwise, germs can begin breeding all over again.
- Bleach Method. Bleach is a common and effective disinfectant and can be used to eliminate germs in dish sponges. Simply fill a small bowl (or the break room sink) with a mixture of bleach and hot water. Use roughly one part bleach for every ten parts water. Allow the sponge to soak in this mixture, then rinse it thoroughly with water to limit traces of bleach.
Other Break Room Sponge Tips
To keep your break room healthy and limit the risk of food poisoning, there are some extra precautions you can — and should — take when handling dish sponges.
- Change sponges frequently. Depending on the number of people in your office and how many of them use the dish sponge on a daily basis, you may wish to change your sponge every 2-3 days.
- Storing your sponge. You should make sure that your sponge is stored somewhere that it can easily dry out. The wetter your sponge stays, the more bacteria will grow inside of it.
- Where your sponge is used. Make sure to only use your dish sponge for cleaning dishes. Never use your sponge for cleaning counters, cupboard doors, appliances, or any other item that cannot be fully rinsed.
Your local JAN-PRO® will help you fight germs in your workplace. Call us today at 866-355-1064 to learn about our workplace cleaning solutions.