Writing in the Journal of Environmental Health, Bitton and colleagues said they soaked sponges and scrubbing pads in raw wastewater containing fecal bacteria such as E. coli, viruses, protozoan parasites and bacterial spores.
Soaking in raw wastewater? Yuck! But, good for us. Two minutes killed most everything with the exception of some spores.
I usually just toss our kitchen sponges in the dishwasher, but for now on to the microwave they'll go.
Wet the sponges first before putting them in the microwave. Why? Reports of minor disasters:
"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 pissed 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 tire for several hours, even with windows/doors open," complained another.