Talk about an unwanted gift with purchase: Almost every sponge now sold in U.S. supermarkets is impregnated with a synthetic disinfectant—usually triclosan— that has been registered as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Not only should we be concerned about washing our dishes and counter tops with triclosan, but common disinfectants may contribute to drug resistant bacteria just like antibiotics.
Here’s what you can do:
- Buy only pure cellulose sponges by avoiding sponges in packages that use language such as “kills odors.”
- If your sponges exude the distinctive disinfectant smell, throw them out and search for a source of sponges made of pure cellulose.
- Sterilize sponges by boiling them in a pan of water for three to five minutes, or place them in a dish washing machine and wash with a load of dishes.