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Dish-cleaning sponge..a world of bacteria larger than the number of humans

T + T – normal size

Researchers have revealed the microbiology of the sponge used to clean dishes.

The researchers explained, according to the “Middle East” website, quoting the American “CNN” network, that the dish cleaning sponge contains a large amount of bacteria, warning against using it because it may cause diseases and health problems..

“Salmonella and other bacteria grow and live in sponges better than the brushes that some people use to clean dishes, and the reason is that the sponge never dries out with daily use,” said Trond Moretro, a research scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Food Research, Novima. The sponge is wet and accumulates food residues, which are also food for bacteria, which leads to their rapid growth.”

“A single sponge can harbor more bacteria than the number of humans on Earth,” added Moretro, who is the author of a new study in this regard published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.

He said that while a lot of these bacteria are harmless, there are types of bacteria – such as salmonella – that can spread from sponges to hands, kitchen surfaces and equipment and may make people sick..

In the study, Moretro and colleagues collected kitchen sponges from 20 people living in Portugal and 35 brushes and 14 sponges from people living in Norway..

No pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria were found in the brush or sponge. However, bacteria levels were generally lower in the brushes used than the sponges.

When the researchers added salmonella bacteria to brushes and sponges, they found a significant reduction in salmonella numbers in brushes that were allowed to dry overnight. But these bacteria grew and increased significantly in the sponge.

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What surprised the researchers most about their findings was that it didn’t really matter how people cleaned the sponge or how often they did it..

“It is very difficult for consumers to avoid bacterial growth in the sponge as long as the sponge is not replaced daily,” Moretro said.

The team of researchers advised using cleaning brushes instead of sponges, saying that since the brush dries very quickly, the harmful bacteria related to it die quickly, and most brushes have a handle that prevents the hand from contacting harmful bacteria directly, unlike sponges..