Have you noticed Salmonella and other food borne illnesses are on the rise---everywhere. While we rely on government agencies to keep our restaurants inspected and food handling industries regulated, at the home level, it's up to us!. The kitchen is the germiest room in the house-- teeming with billions of microorganisms on countertops, refrigerators and cutting boards. And the worse culprit: the kitchen sponge!
If you are a sponge user, you are likely using it to wipe out the refrigerator, spills on the counter top, cleaning out your sink. So unless you change your sponge daily, you are basically moving germs from one place to another. Microwaving them or putting then in the dishwasher cycle, according to experts, does not guarantee germ removal unless you have sterilization cycles. Better options are to use paper towels or a clean cloth that can be thrown into the clothes washer after each use. If you can't break the sponge habit, soak them in a solution of bleach (one cup bleach per gallon of water) or vinegar and let air dry.
I confess that I use a sponge in the kitchen but limit use to soapy dishes--and I buy lots of sponges at discount stores in bulk so they can be discarded weekly. Paper towels are my choice for countertops and spills---though my recycling friends frown on this excessive use of paper! Any other thoughts?