Sponges and cloths are playgrounds for nasty kitchen bacteria.
Bacteria goes everywhere because we spread it about while cooking, cleaning, and preparing meals. Just think of how many times you touch and use that dish towel while preparing a dish such as roast chicken!
The concept of paper towels is what we want to go with—frequent disposal (or laundering) of the cloths. Paper towels are ingenious yet wasteful, so here is the environmentally friendly way to keep things clean.
Have a stack of 7 dishtowels and use one a day. (Think: those socks with the days of the week embroidered on them.) At the end of the day, toss the dishtowel in a separate basket along with your other cleaning rags and launder it at week’s end.
For cleaning counters, we recommend getting cleaning cloths (available at grocery stores; they’re a cross between a dish towel and a face cloth). For those who get incredibly excited about cloths, try microfibre cleaning cloths. Clean what you like during the day, but pitch it in that laundry basket before you hit the sack.
You may find that a good microfibre cloth will eliminate the need for a sponge (clearly because you are already using the great pot cleaning techniques I discussed in the vinegar and baking soda blogs). If you do require a sponge, clean it by soaking it well in water (get all soap out first) and then microwaving for 2-3 minutes to kill most germs and spores. The inside of the microwave will be damp and steamy, at which point you can wipe it clean with a dry cloth. What a great way to multi task!