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Ditch the dish sponge: Researchers say kitchen brushes are less germy

Photo: stephenkirsh/iStockphoto

Getting ready to wash the dishes? Use a kitchen brush instead of a sponge to help prevent the spread of bacteria, researchers in Norway say.

The researchers sampled 20 kitchen sponges used by residents of Portugal. They also collected 35 brushes and 14 sponges used by people in Norway, where research shows brushes are favored. Although no disease-causing bacteria were found on the brushes or sponges, overall bacterial levels were lower on the brushes.

After adding salmonella bacteria to brushes and sponges and allowing them to air-dry overnight, the researchers found “a significant reduction” in levels on the brushes. They found zero reduction in the sponges.


“It is very difficult for consumers to avoid bacterial growth in the sponges as long as the sponges are not replaced daily,” lead study author Trond Møretrø, a research scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, told CNN in a report.

The study was published online in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.

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