If you can’t remember the last time you changed your kitchen sponge, new research suggests it’s time to toss it.
Researchers say kitchen sponges host more germs than anywhere in the entire house, including toilets. Sponges themselves are “microbial hot spots,” teeming with bacteria, as they’re often warm and wet and pick up leftover food residue.
For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, German researchers analyzed 28 samples from 14 different used sponges and found a total of 362 different types of bacteria.
The researchers found that five of the 10 most common types of bacteria had “pathogenic potential,” meaning there’s a chance they could cause disease in humans.
The researchers also tested newly purchased kitchen sponges and found nearly no bacteria. So the authors recommend replacing sponges with new ones on a weekly basis.
Additionally, the study found that cleaning sponges may be less effective than previously thought. Microwaving and boiling sponges were shown to reduce bacteria by 60 percent, but this only worked in a lab setting, not in used kitchen sponges.
Additional information can be found on CBSNews.com.