Getting Rid Of Germs With Microwave
When it comes to tidying your home, cleanliness can sometimes be overlooked for an organization. That’s because a tidy and clutter-free space makes it easy to forget about the invisible germs and bacteria. Regular cleaning with disinfectants or anti-bacterial products will keep these germs to a minimum but aren’t always safe to use on food-related items. But did you know microwaves can also be used to sterilize these items?
Of course, using your microwave to sterilize objects has some limitations simply due to its size. But most objects small enough to fit in your microwave can be sterilized by it, whether that’s the kitchen sponge, wiping cloth, or storage jars. Sponges and cloths are the most common items in the kitchen to need sterilization because of the number of germs they attract through regular use. In fact, it’s estimated that the average kitchen sponge could contain 10,000 bacteria, including salmonella and E. coli. This extraordinary number of bacteria is caused by cross-contamination from wiping surfaces where food has been prepared and the damp conditions of the cloth or sponge. So, keeping your kitchen sponge sterilized might be more important than you thought.
How Do Microwaves Sterilize Household Objects?
While many people assume microwaves are great for sterilization because of the microwaves they emit, it’s sterilizing capabilities are actually thanks to the heat it can produce. This is because the radiation waves are too short to harm organisms such as the many types of bacteria found on regular kitchen items, hence the name ‘microwaves’. However, the heat produced is hot enough to eradicate germs from as little as 30 seconds. It’s important to point out the amount of time it takes to sterilize objects in the microwave greatly depends on the type of item.
In a 2006 study, scientists found that damp kitchen sponges could be sterilized from E. coli after a 30-second heat at 100% power, meanwhile, up to 99% of all bacteria was removed after 1 or 2 minutes. For larger items, such as jars or baby bottles, sterilization can take a little while longer, around 2 to 4 minutes.
How To Sterilize Using Your Microwave?
Sterilizing damp cloths or sponges can be easily done by heating them from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and should be regularly checked to ensure they have not completely dried out. It’s crucial that these items are wet when being microwaved as dry sponges pose a significant fire risk.
Jars and baby bottles can be sterilized using a purpose-built sterilizing kit. These kits cover the items in water which heats up over the course of a few minutes and lead to their sterilization. You should always follow the instructions on the sterilization kit as care must be taken when sterilizing equipment in the microwave to minimize the risk of accidents or damages.
Heat can also be used to sterilize many other types of surfaces and objects around the house through the use of steamers. These work by using boiling water and producing steam bursts which remove bacteria, sterilizing items in a similar fashion to microwave sterilization.
What Is The Safest Disinfectant?
There are many ways to disinfect surfaces and household objects, whether it’s a liquid disinfectant or wipe. Although, these disinfectants use harsh chemicals to remove bacteria and are unsuitable for items that come into contact with food or drink. These harsh chemicals should be used only for deep cleaning on floors or other hard surfaces, while food-related items should only be cleaned with soap, water, or by sterilizing.
Heat is a safe and reliable method of sterilizing most objects so long as it’s done carefully. Whether you use microwaves or steamers, boiling water is by far the safest and most versatile method for sterilizing household items.
- 8 Ways to Guard Against Germs in Everyday Life – Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
- Do Microwaves Kill Germs? They May Kill Viruses on a Sponge – The Ohio State University