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December 18, 2022


  • Kitchen sponges hold billions of bacterial cells
  • The Moraxella bacterium is responsible for the bad sponge smell
  • Researchers suggest sponge replacements on a weekly basis
  • Fischnetz with Benefits are a sustainable and hygienic alternative to dish sponges

Kitchen sponges - the microbiological hot spots

Used kitchen sponges are microbiological hot spots!

Most kitchen sponges are mainly made of foam, such as polyurethane. The sponge's inner surface is extremely large due to the numerous pores. This offers microorganisms plenty of room to grow.

Bacteria are collected in kitchen sponges where they are able to incubate. The picture (adapted from Cardinale, M., Kaiser, D., Lueders, T. et al.) shows the bacteria (red dots) in a very small probe of a used kitchen sponge (cyan). Billions of bacterials cells can were identified in a 1cm square area.

3D model of bateria in kitchen sponge. The figure is adapted from the paper:Microbiome analysis and confocal microscopy of used kitchen sponges reveal massive colonization by Acinetobacter, Moraxella and Chryseobacterium species.

By using the sponge, they spread on kitchen surfaces.

These surfaces are in contact with your hands and food. Finally, the bacteria make their way into your body.

The bacterial microbiome can have significant impact on your health and well-being. For example, they can cause food–borne illnesses (food poisoning).

Recently, Lena Brandau (Furtwangen University) even identified viruses in used kitchen sponges.

Why do my dish sponges stink?

People believe that boiling or microwave treatment reduces the bacterial load in sponges. This is a misconception, as shown by Professor Markus Egert and his researchers!

Sanitation methods are not sufficient to reduce the bacteria load in dish sponges.

Four used sponges in front of a white background.

Quite the contrary, they actually increase the concentration of RG2 bacteria species, such as Moraxella osloensis.

Moraxella is the bacterium that generates a bad smell in dirty laundry and it is assumed to be responsible for the bad kitchen sponge smell.

Therefore, sanitised kitchen sponges paradoxically smell even stronger.

195 million kitchen sponges

The researchers suggest a regular replacement of kitchen sponges on a weekly basis.

That's more than 50 thrown-away kitchen sponges per household per year.

Switzerland has 3.9 million private households. Hence more than 195 million kitchen sponges would be thrown out every year.

The best dish sponges alternative that does not stink

Fischnetz with Benefits are a sustainable and hygienic alternative to kitchen sponges.

The Fischnetz is upcycled from used fishing nets and lasts for years before it needs to be replaced.

Different from sponges, fishing nets are not porous and do not soak water.

Air can flow through their diamond mesh structure which makes them dry quickly. Therefore, they do not act as a reservoir of microorganisms and do not stink.

Fischnetz with Benefits are the best dish sponge alternative that doesn't hold bacteria and definitely doesn't smell.

Fischnetz with Benefits

✔️ Very easy to use
✔️ Reaches more spots
✔️ Hygienic
✔️ Doesn't smell
✔️ Lasts for years
✔️ Saves money