Germ and Bacteria Hot-Spots: 12 Things You Should Know
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Claim: Washing a sponge in the dishwasher removes germs.
True. Running sponges in the dishwasher with detergent gets rid of a lot of germs, but putting the sponge in the microwave for a minute will zap even more, since it gets much hotter in there, says Brown. Whatever method you use, be sure to do it every other day. Studies by Gerba indicate that sponges are the most contaminated object in the home and can harbor billions of bacteria, including staphylococcus or salmonella, both of which can cause food-poisoning symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. It's also wise to rinse sponges well and keep them out of the sink so they can dry out between uses, notes Larson: "Drying kills a lot of germs." You should also change sponges frequently to avoid bacteria buildup; definitely toss them after three weeks.
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