Microwave, the poor man's autoclave

Our rental is a “Suite” (former office space above a garage with king bed, full bath and fridge/microwave/coffee maker/toaster etc. NO Kitchen, no dishwasher). During Covid we started using the microwave to both dry and sterilize dishes once washed. Four wine classes and a couple of ceramic coffee mugs at 4 minutes end up too hot to initially handle.


I was putting the kitchen scrubby sponges in the microwave to get more uses out of them. Even easier – I now toss them in the washing machine with the bedspread.

I’ve cleaned non-clothes items in the washer (small plastics in a net bag) and non-kitchen utensil items (baseball caps top rack) in the dishwasher. Don’t recommend dishes in the washing machine, however.


Kitchen sponges in the laundry with sheets and such?

I haven’t researched this but doesn’t sound like a safe practice. I have put them in dishwasher with its high heat. Microwave a possibility but I would not put in laundry without research.

Your responses are always so well researched that I am supposing that you know this is a safe practice. Am I right?

You think there’s some dread bacteria on a kitchen sponge and no chance of any bacteria on a sheet? Anyway, she probably doesn’t wash it with sheets.

Little factoid: bacteria and viruses can’t survive in a clean, dry sponge. I found that out back before I went through menopause and was using a little natural, reusable sea sponge instead of tampons (yes, that’s a thing). The FAQs on using them said there was no need to sterilize them after use- just wash them out with soap and water and leave them to dry.

A host on another forum said she had a young, long term female guest who used a menstrual cup instead of tampons and would sterilize it in their microwave, but she’d forget about it and leave it in there. Totally grossed out the host’s husband.

apparently, microwaving sponges etc. is a bad idea…


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I’ve never seen these used in the kitchen or bathroom to do cleaning with.

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Yes, you’re right, and by the same article so is putting it in with your other laundry.

No, of course not- I meant that was when I first read the information that bacteria can’t survive in a clean dry sponge. It wasn’t specific to that type of sponge.

I end up with tons of foam scraps from my upholstery work. Those usual kitchen sponges are simply foam, although a lower grade than what I use for my work. I cut all the scraps into sponge-sized pieces and have bags full of them. When I set out a clean kitchen sponge, the used ones go in the shed to use for other jobs, to wash the car, etc. I haven’t had to buy a sponge in 20 years.

Interesting article. My go to guide for cleaning products is Dr. Annie and here are her sponge experiments: Sponge Disinfection Experiments - Dr. Annie's Experiments

I put the sponges in the wash with a bleach load. I have substituted Skoy scrubbers for my home kitchen sink, but provide a sponge in the STR suite. I boil my microfiber cloths after washing them by hand in hot, soapy water. Putting them in the washing machine clogs up the grabby bits with lint, and makes them useless eventually.

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I like Dr. Annie’s site, too. I have never used a kitchen sponge to wash dishes. I use the sponge to wipe the counters. I actually hate it when friends or guests use the sponge to wash dishes, for two reasons- one is the pathogen issue and the other is the amount of water it takes to rinse the soap out of them- I have to be conservative with water where i live.

I don’t use cloths at all in the kitchen- it sort of grosses me out to have a damp cloth hanging there somewhere. I use little fiber or plastic scrubbies to wash dishes. Recently I found natural fiber scrubbies made from coconut fiber.

men are such sooks. a small silicon cup grosses someone out? one of mine has its own case that you sterilise it in, so phew! men can be safe from seeing a small silicone cup and being grossed out :rofl:

i’ve tried those (Aldi) and they are not good. shame, it seemed like a good idea. they also shed those little fibres which could end up clogging the sink over time.
I bought a stack of microfibre clothes and use one of those daily in the kitchen. we also use them to do our turnovers, and just wash them.

I haven’t found this, but I do pre-soak them. I have a small bucket constantly filled with soaking liquid and just throw them in every day. I find the cheaper microfibres aren’t as good/easy to clean.

this is actually very clever.
for our guest suite we take all the items to our kitchen and run through the dw, but this is a good solution.

We use the washer and dryer for our microfibers. The advice on one of the first packages was that they can be washed and dried safely as long as there is nothing else washed and dried with them. And several years later, after only washing microfiber cloths with microfiber cloths, they are still working as well as ever.

pretty standard rules for most laundry. I only wash towels with towels, and heavy denims with other other heavy fabrics.

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