Well, the skeptics are coming out to challenge the news we reported earlier that microwave ovens may kill germs.
According to the kitchen technology and appliances director of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute Karen Franke:
Kitchen sponges are the No. 1 source of germs in the house and as many as 80 million Americans contract food-borne illnesses each year — 9,000 of those Americans die.
Critical factors are whether the sponge is wet or dry and the size and power of the microwave oven used. There is also a danger of fire.
In an article entitled Microwave experiments cause sponge disasters there were some strong comments by those who experimented based on the news… omitting the step of wetting the sponge:
“Just wanted you to know that your article on microwaving sponges and scrubbers aroused my interest. However, when I put my sponge/scrubber into the microwave, it caught fire, smoked up the house, ruined my microwave, and p*ssed me off,” one correspondent wrote in an e-mail to Reuters.
“First, the sponge is worthless afterwards so you have to throw it out instead of using it. And second your entire house stinks like a burning tyre for several hours, even with windows/doors open,” complained another.
An inexpensive alternative for frugal shoppers is plain bleach. Add about a teaspoon of bleach to a cup of water, let the sponge sit in the mixture for five minutes, and then germs will be gone.
Good Housekeeping also advises NOT to rely on dishwashers to clean sponges since the water doesn’t get hot enough.