Is Your Sponge Nasty? - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/21/04

Is Your Sponge Nasty?


This is LT, the afternoon DJ at the Blaze radio station. He's your typical single guy. He lives alone, and cleaning isn't always his top priority.

"When it calls for it, then I'll clean it," he explains.

When he does clean, he usually uses just one thing.

"Sponges. I use them for pretty much everything. Cleaning the counter tops, dishes, the bathroom," he adds.

He tells us he rarely changes his sponge out, which is why we asked him to donate his sponge to us. We asked scientists at UT Health Center in Tyler to examine LT's sponge and two others for bacteria. Their findings were surprising.

"Lots of things grew. They were heavily contaminated with bacteria, mostly what you find in feces," says Dr. Richard Wallace.

Yes, you heard right. Feces. Dr. Richard Wallace says every sponge grew bacteria normally found in animal stool. Why stool? He says it’s because even if you use soap  when you clean a dish or counter that had meat, poultry, or eggs on it, it grows that type of bacteria. So what does LT think about this?

"That's gross. So that's going in all the other stuff?" he asks.

Yes, according to Dr. Wallace.

"You're basically smearing the bacteria around," says Dr. Wallace.

"It's amazing I am still alive!" says LT.

Not necessarily. Dr. Wallace says only bacteria like e-coli and salmonella can make you sick, but both can breed in your sponge.

And Dr. Wallace says you can clean your sponge.

Just run it in the dishwasher or rinse it with bleach.

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