Microwave Kills Germs in Sponges

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Microwave Kills Germs in Sponges
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 11:20am


Microwave Kills Germs in Sponges
Jan. 24, 2007 -- Your microwave may be a powerful weapon in protecting your
family against disease-causing germs.

A new study shows zapping sponges and plastic scrubbing pads in the
microwave can kill bacteria, such as E. coli, that can cause illness.

"Basically, what we find is that we could knock out most bacteria in two
minutes," says researcher Gabriel Bitton, professor of environmental
engineering at the University of Florida, in a news release. "People often
put their sponges and scrubbers in the dishwasher, but if they really want
to decontaminate them and not just clean them, they should use the

Researchers say disease-causing bacteria and germs from uncooked eggs, meat,
and vegetables often work their way onto countertops and cleaning tools, and
the dampness of sponges, dish cloths, and scrubbers provide an ideal
breeding ground for the bugs.

Microwave Sterilizes Sponges

In the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers
evaluated the effects of zapping sponges and plastic scrubbing pads in the
microwave on bacteria and viruses.

The sponges and scrubbing pads were soaked in wastewater containing a
dangerous mix of fecal bacteria, E. coli, and bacterial spores. Bacterial
spores are more difficult to kill.

The results showed that two minutes in the microwave at full power killed or
inactivated more than 99% of all the living germs and the bacterial spores
in the sponges and pads, including E. coli.

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