Can a Kitchen Sponge Make You Sick?

Q: Can a grungy kitchen sponge make you sick?

OZ Says: More bad bacteria live in there than in almost any other object in your home. Household hygiene specialist Charles Gerba, Ph.D., of the University of Arizona explains: Suppose you wipe up some raw meat juices. Even if you rinse the sponge, bacteria stick around and multiply fast. Those aren't just any bacteria; about half of people's sponges that were tested held strains like the food-poisoning culprits E. coli and salmonella. How likely is this to make you sick? Gerba believes that many cases of diarrhea or stomach upset can be traced to sponges. Keep them clean by placing them in your dishwasher once a week or zapping (damp)in the microwave for 60 seconds every day. If they smell "off," toss them, pronto.

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This story originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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