Eve550
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How long should you use a kitchen sponge before replacing it with a new one?

Postby Eve550 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:44 am

Hi, my son wants to choose this topic for his project "How long should you use a kitchen sponge before replacing it with a new one? Any ideas from what to start?

SciB
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Occupation: Retired molecular biologist, university researcher and teacher

Re: How long should you use a kitchen sponge before replacing it with a new one?

Postby SciB » Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:57 am

Hi and welcome to Scibuddies.
Sanitizing and disposing of contaminated items is a hot topic now with the pandemic affecting all our lives, so your project has much relevance.

Everyone uses some sort of sponges or scrubbers in the kitchen, and keeping them clean and free from bacteria is naturally on people's minds. How to keep them clean, and when to replace them is something that the manufacturer does not tell you. It is logical that they should last longer if they are kept cleaner which means getting out all the food residues as these are what cause bacterial growth.

You could do an experiment using Petri dishes containing nutrient agar to test the level of microbial contamination of a sponge that has been either not cleaned at all after use, or cleaned in various ways. If you are interested in doing such a project, I can help you with the details. Nutrient agar plates can be purchased from Carolina Biological suppliers and other online companies.

Post again and let us know what you want to do.

Stay safe,

Scibee

Eve550
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:30 am
Occupation: Parent

Re: How long should you use a kitchen sponge before replacing it with a new one?

Postby Eve550 » Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:31 am

SciB wrote:Hi and welcome to Scibuddies.
Sanitizing and disposing of contaminated items is a hot topic now with the pandemic affecting all our lives, so your project has much relevance.

Everyone uses some sort of sponges or scrubbers in the kitchen, and keeping them clean and free from bacteria is naturally on people's minds. How to keep them clean, and when to replace them is something that the manufacturer does not tell you. It is logical that they should last longer if they are kept cleaner which means getting out all the food residues as these are what cause bacterial growth.

You could do an experiment using Petri dishes containing nutrient agar to test the level of microbial contamination of a sponge that has been either not cleaned at all after use, or cleaned in various ways. If you are interested in doing such a project, I can help you with the details. Nutrient agar plates can be purchased from Carolina Biological suppliers and other online companies.

Post again and let us know what you want to do.

Stay safe,

Scibee

Hi, Scibee, thanks a lot, for support and information. Really appreciate for more details. P.S. also son has an idea to include a topic - how we can recycle old sponges and scrubbers in the house.

ElizabethBarlett
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:32 am
Occupation: Parent

Re: How long should you use a kitchen sponge before replacing it with a new one?

Postby ElizabethBarlett » Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:51 am

Hi, one idea to recycle an old sponge. Umbrella Stand.
Place the sponge on the bottom of the umbrella stand. Thus, you protect the bottom from moisture and mold.
It is much easier to remove the old sponge and replace it with a new one than to regularly clean the stand ))))

cnoonan180
Student Expert
Posts: 93
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Re: How long should you use a kitchen sponge before replacing it with a new one?

Postby cnoonan180 » Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:15 pm

Hello!

This is a great project idea and has a lot of relevance considering safety concerns to stay healthy against infection during this time!

Give this page a look for more information about the different microbes you may see on your sponges and how to identify these microorganisms in your Petri dishes:
https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... gar-plates

You can also perform an experiment testing how much mold (fungi) forms on different brands of sponges when exposed to the same conditions to find out which brand of sponge will last the longest without "contamination" from, say, fungi.

Hope this helps and feel free to ask more questions!
-cnoonan180

Eve550
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:30 am
Occupation: Parent

Re: How long should you use a kitchen sponge before replacing it with a new one?

Postby Eve550 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:26 am

cnoonan180 wrote:Hello!

This is a great project idea and has a lot of relevance considering safety concerns to stay healthy against infection during this time!

Give this page a look for more information about the different microbes you may see on your sponges and how to identify these microorganisms in your Petri dishes:
https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... gar-plates

You can also perform an experiment testing how much mold (fungi) forms on different brands of sponges when exposed to the same conditions to find out which brand of sponge will last the longest without "contamination" from, say, fungi.

Hope this helps and feel free to ask more questions!
-cnoonan180

Thanks a lot!!!
One more question - what do you think if we include in project information about the potential health problem according to the topic?

cnoonan180
Student Expert
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:33 am
Occupation: Student

Re: How long should you use a kitchen sponge before replacing it with a new one?

Postby cnoonan180 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 7:33 am

Hello again!

I think the relation to health would be a good idea to include in the “further applications” section of your project if there is such a section. The relation to health of this project could be included in a project information section as well, so long as you make sure to explain all of the information directly related to your project first. Are there any guidelines for what should be included in the project information section? Is this the section that should contain your background research? If so, your project’s relation to health is ok to include.

Here’s a link to the steps of the scientific method your project should be following which will help you decide which information should go in which section:

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... fic-method

Hope this helps,
-cnoonan180

melmelo
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:08 pm
Occupation: Student

Re: How long should you use a kitchen sponge before replacing it with a new one?

Postby melmelo » Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:39 pm

A very interesting idea! I would start by listing all the possible bacteria that can develop in a humid environment. You can also add information about how to deal with this.


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