Tonya asked: Do bath sponges hold bacteria? The mesh bath sponges that people buy, use and reuse to keep washing their body with. How long should you use them, and how do you clean them?
Whenever it may occur, moisture and warmth invites bacteria growth. Loofah and netted sponges are the biggest culprit. Their large holes hold onto dead skin cells, which provide food for the growing bacteria. They also hold moisture which allows the bacteria to grow. Fortunately, cleaning the sponge regularly cuts back the amount of bacteria dramatically. It’s easy to do.
You Will Need:
- Bucket or sink
Steps to Clean and Disinfect a Bath Sponge:
- Fill the bucket or sink with one gallon of water.
- Add ¾ cup of bleach for synthetic sponges or ¼ cup for natural sponges.
- Place the sponge into the mixture.
- Allow it to soak for at least 5 minutes.
- Remove and rinse completely with water.
- Squeeze and shake out as much of the excess water as possible.
- Allow the sponge to air dry completely.
Additional Tips and Information
- Allow your sponge to dry in a well-ventilated area each day.
- Natural sponges take longer to dry than man-made sponges. Be sure to keep them in an open area where the air can reach all areas.
- Replace your sponges regularly to keep bacteria and mold at a minimum. Replace natural sponges every 3-4 weeks and synthetic sponges about every 8 weeks.
- Avoid stuffing sponges into a hanging mesh bag or compartment on a shower caddy. They need good air flow to dry out completely.
- In addition to bacteria, mold can develop. Both of these can lead to skin rashes if not maintained.
- Many people toss their bath sponges in the laundry weekly to clean and sanitize them. Simply wash as normal with laundry detergent. Do NOT dry them in the dryer though, as the heat can melt them. Only do this in a cold water or warm water wash as well; the hot water cycle could also cause them to melt.