If you've heard it once this year, you've heard it a million times: Sponges are disgusting, bacteria-ridden pieces of cellulose. (By some estimates, they are dirtier than toilet seats!) And while you used to zap them in the microwave to kill said bacteria, we all learned this summer that doing so is actually pretty ineffective. While the microwave can nuke weaker bacteria, it has no effect on stronger species. Even more, it's pretty easy to start a fire in there if your sponge isn't wet enough.
Cool. Even cooler? The fact there's basically no good alternative. Microfiber cloths actually suck up more bacteria because they're so porous. Bristled brushes tend to harbor less bacteria, but they're not as effective at getting food off of dishes.
So we've just been sticking with our sponges. We try to swap them out every week or so, but they still end up feeling a little gross after a few uses. Which is why we are so excited to learn about this new product.
Buy: SpongeBath System, $39 for a two-month kit
The SpongeBath System, touted as the first dual-purpose sponge holder that both cleans and stores your sponge, comes with a holder and a patent-pending concentrated cleaning solution that is said to kill 99.99 percent of odor-causing bacteria like E. coli and Staphylococcus Aureus. (The solution is made with all-natural and food-grade ingredients including citric acid and malic acid.) A quick 10-minute soak gets the job done, although the site suggests letting the sponge soak in the cleaning solution whenever you're not using it.
Simply fill the holder with one ounce of the concentrate and enough water to cover your sponge. Refill the holder as needed — it will typically be about once a week.
We'd still probably change out our sponges on a weekly basis and then just keep the sponge in the bath the rest of the time. It doesn't kill 100 percent of the bacteria, but 99.99 percent is pretty close. And honestly, we'd be interested in the SpongeBath even if it only killed 60 percent!
More on Sponges
What do you think? Would you use this?