If you’re curious what is the leading culprit in harboring bacteria in your home, you’re about to be grossed out.

It’s not your shoes, your purse, or even the toilet. It’s an object you actually claim to use for cleaning — the kitchen sponge.

A new study published in Scientific Reports found that the kitchen sponge, given its constant contact with water and food particles, is a good place for bacteria to grow.

The results may be unsurprising, but the amount of bacteria is where we might underestimate the situation. Sponges showed a density of 54 billion bacteria per cubic centimeter — about equivalent to the number of bacteria in human feces.


“Despite common misconception, it was demonstrated that kitchen environments host more microbes than toilets,” the researchers wrote in the study. “This was mainly due to the contribution of kitchen sponges which were proven to represent the biggest reservoirs of active bacteria in the whole house.”

While not all of the bacteria found on sponges are dangerous, many were — enough that we need to take steps to save ourselves from potential illnesses.

Researches suggest that to reduce the risks, the best option is to replace kitchen sponges regularly.

(h/t IFLS)




Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.