A cleaning expert explains why we should be microwaving sponges before we clean!

Because germ-free cleaning cloths are the best way to start the housework

Are you microwaving sponges to clean? Washing your washing up gloves before doing the dishes? If not, it might be time to start.

As we clean now more than ever, it's the perfect time to assess if we're actually making our homes dirtier by not cleaning our cleaning cloths and more.

The team of cleaning experts at End of Tenancy London, a top cleaning services firm, have outlined how best to keep our homes clean – how often we should be cleaning or replacing our cleaning tools.

Related: Most googled cleaning chores in 2020 revealed – and how to tackle them

How often should you clean or replace cleaning essentials?

cleaning sponges, cloths and brushes

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Debi Treloar)

How often should I clean sponges?

'Dirty dish sponges can harbour dangerous bacteria like E.coli, which is why it’s important to replace them regularly,' the experts explain. The advise is to replace sponges on a weekly basis, but if you want to minimise waste, the team offer some top cleaning tips;

• Microwaving sponges
'Place the sponge in the microwave, saturating it in water (1/4 cup for scrub sponges and 1/2 cup for cellulose). Then heat on high for one minute (scrub) or two minutes (cellulose).' Reportedly microwaving sponges can can zap 99.9 per cent of germs.

Rinse in Bleach
'Mix 3/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water and soak the sponge for five minutes, then rinse.'

Soak in vinegar
'Soak your sponge in full-strength vinegar for five minutes, then rinse.'

• Put them in the dishwasher
'Add your sponge to a regular dishwasher load, using the 'heated dry' setting.'

How often should I clean cloths?

'Like sponges, cleaning rags are a breeding ground for bacteria – especially if they’re being used daily for tasks. You only need to replace cleaning rags every two months if you keep them clean.'

In between replacing them the experts advise washing them  weekly and air dry to prevent “damp” odour.

How often should I clean rubber gloves?

kitchen with gloves and headphone

(Image credit: Future PLC/Trevor Richards)

We should we washing our washing up gloves, who knew? 'The gloves you wear for washing up or scrubbing the toilet should last a long time if cared for. Clean gloves with warm water and soap after every use – and only replace after signs of degradation!' . Of course use a different pair for the kitchen and bathroom.

How often should I clean microfiber cloths?

'A longer-lasting alternative to cloth dusters, microfiber cloths are hardier and can be washed and reused many times before falling apart.'

'However, like any cloth, they still need to be cleaned regularly. Once a week, throw your microfiber cloths into the laundry and allow to air dry,' say the cleaning pros.

How often should I clean plastic scrub brushes

'Plastic brushes last a long time and tend to be more durable than cloths and sponges. You will need to replace brushes after signs of degradation, such as bristles thinning, and give them a good rinse and tap after every use.'

How often should I clean feather or cloth dusters?

kitchen with Feather duster and cleaning brushes

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

'A feather duster will not need replacing until signs of degradation, such as feathers falling out. But you will need to give your feather duster a weekly shake out and wash with warm water and soap monthly.'

'Like cleaning rags, if they are used regularly, cloth dusters should be washed more often and allowed to air dry.

How often should I clean mop heads?

'Dunking mops in dirty water can cause a buildup of bacteria over time. It’s advised you replace mop heads every 2 months. In the meantime, make sure to rinse and wring dry after every use.'

More: Why you should never clean the floor with a mop and bucket

Are you guilty of neglecting your cleaning essentials cleanliness?!


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.