Let’s talk sponges. Should you use sponges for house cleaning? Or do sponges carry too much bacteria? And when should you use a non-scratch scrub sponge (or scrubby sponge) over a Magic Eraser sponge?
Listen: Sponges for House Cleaning? Or is that Gross?
Watch: Sponges for House Cleaning? Or is that Gross?
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.
Question: Sponges for House Cleaning? Or is that Gross?
Sponges. Should you use sponges when you clean house or is that gross? Because then you’re cross-contaminating from house to house? “I was wondering how you feel about using sponges and places like bathroom showers and around the toilet and all the sinks and things like that. Is there anything else that we can use to maybe cut down on costs? Because when you use a sponge, then you have to throw it away. I would hate to take a sponge from one customer’s toilet and shower and then use it on another customer’s sink or something like that. What are our options?”
Answer: Cross Contamination of Sponges
First of all, let me say that I’m not a fan of cross-contamination. If there’s an opportunity for you to have sponges specific to each customer’s house, you’re talking about a great big bin of sponges.
You can buy your sponges in bulk, which is what I recommend. Even big warehouse discount places like Sam’s and Costco, sell big packs of sponges. This way you can have one per customer.
Now how you break that up is up to you, whether you have an individual pack that you take to each customer’s house with their stuff in it.
That’s always the way that I’ve preferred to do it, because that way I know when I do my inventory, oh, this is Mrs. Jones’ tomorrow. This is Mrs. Jones’ pack of stuff.
Have Customer Specific Supplies – Including Sponges
Now, back in the day before washable mop pads, we had string mops. We had a different mop for every customer.
On the initial deep clean we charge more. We chare more because we are buying cleaning supplies like a mop, sponges and toilet brush just for that customer. The supplies we brought back with us (like the sponges.) We cleaned them with baking soda and put them in a Ziploc baggie with their name on it.
This prevented us from cross-contaminating sponges at different customer’s houses.
The cloths and washable mop heads we wash together because those we can sanitize.
Do You Use a Sponge on a Toilet?
Now there are things that are up for debate. One of them is; do you use a sponge on toilets? I don’t. I don’t use anything except paper towels and spray on toilets for this reason. I’m talking about the outside of the toilet, the underneath side of the toilet, both sides of the seat, and the floor around the toilet.
Inside the toilet, we’ll use a toilet brush to clean the toilet bowl ring. But this way you’re not using a sponge on a toilet and then using (or tempted to use it) on a sink.
You don’t want to scatter toilet germs around the bathroom.
Wipe the commode down with a paper towel and then toss the toilet paper in the trash. And I do carry paper towels with me for this reason.
I don’t cross-contaminate even inside the same house from the toilet to toilet. Or from the toilet to shower or from the toilet to shower to sink to any one of those things.
I Love My Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges
But I do love the non-scratch scrub sponges. One side is scrubby. It’s a non-scratch scrubby so that I can use it on fiberglass like on the bottoms of the bathtubs or the bottoms of a shower. Or I can turn it over and I can use the non-scratch part on the side of a shower door for example with some dish soap to get off the soap scum. The key is to know what kind of sponge to use on what.
I am a fan of sponges and I enjoy using them, all 5 types. I think they’re great for what they’re designed to do. But cross-contamination, no, because that is kind of gross and it’s kind of icky.